Friday, 27 February 2009
But as the small fellow once said, "There's only so much one can blame on the dog" I should say, I myself am too scattered. Naturally when I do not give them specific directions and instructions, it is difficult for them to 'satisfy' me. So now I'm battling it out with flash!
Doing things onself can be really very enriching, satisfactory but of course, time-consuming!
Then there was Jeyaraj's son, Andrew with his only antiphon: 'When will the Mass get over?' It changed only when the Mass got over: "Mass is over now?" Then there was my friend Sushma - the terror! Her very presence spells confusion, destruction and chaos! Margo's son, Kenny is no better. Of late, there is another tsunami in the making. I'm yet to learn her name just as I am yet to see her walking - she's always running!
And what was I doing all this while - watching this whole drama unfold. Truly I did not pray much today but my resolve to spend time with the youngsters and kids was strengthened. I'm glad I spent some time talking to Edwin this evening. I could see many a people raising eyebrows watching me talk to him so freely on the drive, outside the house. But one thing I can say, whatever these youngsters are upto or into, they are youngsters. With me, he is at his best. So why not help him see the best he can be?
Thursday, 26 February 2009
Now I'm beginning to wonder, if I've registered in my head that "I've lots of work to do!" Perhaps I need to break that myth! After all, if I can spend time sitting, watching TV then surely I can do better things than that.
Anyway, there's always tomorrow...!
Perhaps the significance of the appeal lies in its implications. That one would naturally choose life over death and gloom is understood but whether in doing so, we also choose to live by what entails by the word 'life' is also important! So here is Moses telling the people to choose life and thereby Yahweh and his commandments. Now that's the catch. I am sure not very many would go for that. But I suppose there is no other go.
That reminds me of the marketing technique of movie distributors. When producing DVDs containing three or more movies, they make sure that the compilation is not the best of all! The compiled DVD may at the most, contain just one good/hit/blockbuster. The rest are unknown or less popular ones. But people are forced to purchase all the three movies because they want that 'one'.
Looks like Moses is their marketing guru. No wonder, some say, in the Bible you'll get the answers for everything!!
Wednesday, 25 February 2009
Most of us may also be in the same boat! Desirous, yes but not passionate!
So this season, I said to myself, I'll fast from sweets! I really am addicted to them. That would be a real penance for me. Even now as I type these few lines, my hands are itching to grab one sweet from my table drawer! As for prayer and almsgiving, I decide to get back to my regular personal prayer (something I've almost given up!) and 'give' time to people, especially on Sundays.
Now here's what strengthened my resolve to hold back from grabbing the sweet:
So resolve to fast more. Try giving up a meal once a week to start with. Fast on bread and water if you must eat. Then start to keep Fridays as a fast day. Not just the ‘fish on Friday’ thing, but really fasting for a whole day.
You’ll be amazed how it transforms your life. You’ll be back in control. If you can control your food intake you’ll soon have better control of the other appetites in your life that are running away with your soul.
And when you’ve done that, you're on the way to cooperating with God for the salvation of souls and victory over evil in ways you could never have imagined.
Wednesday, 18 February 2009
- Spot the signs: Feel alone even as you communicate with people all day? Technology is dominating your life.
- Take baby steps: Try being inaccessible for short spurts. The world will not implode!
- Repeat four words: "I have a choice"
- Set limits: Rein in office e-mail and message traffic.
- Give clear indications
- Make a task list
- Stick to a schedule: Handle recreational web surfing and email at set times.
- Do a reality check: After 5 min. of unplanned surfing, ask yourself 'Should I be really doing this now?'.
Monday, 16 February 2009
Now that was 'a' remark! I know very well that the last few days have been a bit taxing given all the meetings and correction of papers and correspondence and administration. But I guess people are more observant about me and changes are quickly noticed. Even this morning Mallesh, our dhobi asked me something which left me wondering if all is OK with me! My worst fear, even when confident that I'm doing great, is that I'm losing touch with people. Time to review...
I found myself agreeing to that for the simple reason that if Jesus were to be born poor, he'd achieve nothing reach out to no one great. Given the influence of media and the place/portion of poor being represented in media, Jesus' message and ministry would be limited to some slum or village at the most.
Another stronger reason I found myself agreeing to this idea was that in today's era, it is perhaps the richer who need the Messiah much more than the poor. The poor already know to live life and make the most of it. It is the unfortunate rich who are at a loss, in spite of having all the comforts of life and living.
Thursday, 12 February 2009
Anyway, God bless him ... and his dear ones too with strength to stand by him in his suffering, courageously.
Fr Clive adds, "Discipline is a means, and not an end in itself. He would reach the heart first and make of boys his allies. Leading children to do good with joy was his constant effort. ... leading them on to self-discipline for truly understood motives."
This, especially the latter, struck me very much especially after my recent discussion and sharing with Mariadas. I realised during my practical training, I did do my best but failed in letting the brothers know that this mode of formation was meant for educators not children. Hearing about the way my students fare in the various houses, I fear, they have certainly imbibed my method and are in a way (unconsciously) trying to make every school boy or boarder a seminarian! Somewhere down the line I failed to make this slight shift in their thinking.
I hope I get time and opportunity to correct myself.
Pictorally, I'm reminded of the e-mail that I received a couple of days ago... about a mother squirrel daring to fight a dog for the safety of her little one.
Wednesday, 11 February 2009
That this whole drama is unfolding in Karnataka is another good angle to watch out for. What happened in Gujarat in 2002 was overlooked by many because it was not a 'forward' state. But here's one of the most literate and 'in-the-news' state for all its intellectual and academic achievements. What the government does or says will be closely watched by one and all. All involved have to take sides.
Let the real colour of everyone be revealed to the bare eyes - and ears - of the nation.
Tuesday, 10 February 2009
Besides the teaching and kind assistance, the superiors always kept the boys happy with wonderful games and lively recreation and were keenly interested in their well being. At the end of the year they could not leave such grant Salesians or separate themselves from the life and work which was so enticing. Surely this must have been the greatest of all motivations, over and above, direct divine intervention.
Before my mind took off on a investigating mode/mood to see why does this not take place today, I heard this sentence: On the contrary it would be difficult to get vocations from a mere sports club or a military barracks.
Now that speaks volumes. I wonder if some of our institutions are at least sports clubs or military barracks. No wonder the Rector Major keeps repeating ... 'return to Don Bosco'.
"Mister God ain't got no bum" wasn't a joke, she wasn't being naughty or just a silly child. It was just an eruption of her spirit. With these remarks she hurled herself at Mister God and he caught her. Anna knew that he could, knew that there was no risk involved. There was really no other way; it just had to be done. This was her way of being saved. (p. 130)
What a beautiful way of expressing devotion. It looks so silly and simple, yet it is perhaps the most profound way of living up to God's call... hurling oneself at God ... knowing well that there was no risk involved in dealing with him... it just had to be done!
We hunt for ways and means of expressing devotion, try new means and moan that God is not hearing. But here is Anna telling us 'just hurl oneself at God' ... he will do the rest.
Here are some samples of what I received today:
Well, that's my friend. God bless him!
Monday, 9 February 2009
What I Am Preaching Today
The story is told of the cold winter Sunday morning when the parking lot to the church was filling up quickly. Church members were whispering among themselves as they walked into the church, skirting around the man leaning up against the wall outside the church. He was almost lying down as if he was asleep. His long trench coat was almost in shreds and a hat concealed his face. He wore shoes that looked 30 years old, too small, and so holey that his toes stuck out. He was homeless, asleep, and ignored.
The congregation gathered in the parlor and fellowshipped for a few minutes including some gossip about the man lying outside. But, no one went out to ask him to come in from the cold let alone take him a cup of coffee.
As the prelude began the congregation herded to the sanctuary and waited for the processional. When the church doors opened, in shuffled the homeless man. A stunned gasp was loosed and faces made as he shambled up the aisle head down, making a bee-line for the pulpit. When he turned and took off his coat and hat, the hearts of the people sank as they recognized their pastor. No one said a word. The preacher took his Bible and opened it saying, "Folks, I don't have to tell you what I am preaching about today." "If you choose you can make me clean."
Later in life the school girls always wanted to be near her, attracted by her spirituality. She began to work in the Oratory. Seminarians, adults and priests asked her advice, encouraged by her spirit of prayer and convinced and convincing faith. To reach that stage of sanctity was a really God-given gift. How else than can one explain a little 5 year old girl enjoy the begging trips with her father. It was not that she was not aware of the family situation and therefore she could 'enjoy' the 'outings' but she 'saw' greater things than the misery and poverty that surrounded her and her family. Now that 'seeing' is what I envy in her.
Lost in the drudgery of life and living, we fail to see the bright and joyful side of things. Living then becomes such a bore. But here is one person who made her living so joyful and spiritual that she was like a fragrant flower enriching the lives of those around her.
May her tribe increase!
So much for calling a spade, a spade. Most often we enter into such strange and at times, bizarre conversations and arguments that end up breaking our relationship. The root of the conversation or argument may be as silly as the question and answer above.
Being the Secretary, one without powers to speak or vote, I get to see such discussions quite often. Maintaining a distance keeps you sane. Perhaps if I too were as involved as those involved, then I would not have been able to 'see' the point - or the futility of it.
Such a style as of Fr TV Thomas is something worth trying. Rather than prove the right thing always to everyone, it is also good to let wisdom dawn at the right time... rather than doing it here and now!
Caught in this dilemma I feel rather embarrassed when I have to encounter the person about whom, I am struggling with my prejudices. It is very agonising. At times I just wish to blurt out what is in my mind but hold back myself for I know that it is totally wrong and very harmful, for both and all of us. There is also no point in talking to him, for he does not see the point. Talking to others is nothing short of gossip and slander - no way constructive to help the other. That leaves me to do the thinking, talking and fighting with myself.
Luckily there is enough and more work to do and that keeps me occupied. But every time I come across the person, these feelings keep gnawing at me from within.
Contrasting this with our formation for so many years, with such an amount of input and sweat and blood, the result is hardly anything worthwhile!! On the one side, there are such motivated - even though wrongly and for destructive purpose, but motivated they are - youngsters who are willing to do anything and for no personal gain and on the other hand, we have with us youngsters who would not feel anything if they have to sit and do nothing for days together!
Something wrong everywhere!
Friday, 6 February 2009
Another effect was there to see this morning when I began to pen a letter - yeah, pen and not type! My hand would not move. So used to typing that I had to do some finger and palm exercise to complete just a page of letter! I wonder how on earth will I write my MA exams - whenever I write them!
I remember enjoying sitting at my desk and pouring over books and reading material for hours. And now here I am, dreading to open the stack of dissertation papers of the Karunapuram Brothers.
But no easy way, I'm hell-bent on doing it the hard way. Luckily I have some time this month. I ought to force myself to 'sitting' AND 'studying'. Happy learning!
The former groups of people are at a mode of life not of their own making. It so happened that life is unfair to them and hence they are left to fend for themselves and make a survival. But people don't end up in the prison because of others doings - certainly not the majority! After all, they people are put in prison for some wrong doing. It is as a direct consequence of what they have done.... not what somebody has done for which they are the innocent sufferers.
Of course there are those unjustly accused and languishing in the prison. Their case I understand. But what of those who deserve to be in prison? Surely they cannot be equated to the poor, widowed, orphaned and sick?
Thursday, 5 February 2009
The background to this book is well known. Reading the book ,then, I found it quite engaging. What kept me reading the book was that it was not offering some pious suggestions but presenting possible rational explanations and also a theological outlook. That was gripping. Or else I would have read it may be only for spiritual reading - I don't read books for spiritual reading, so I'd have never read the book itself!
Here's one of the foremost arguments by Kushner, in defence of God and as a possible rationale for suffering and evil - once again, a little pious but certainly not irrational!
At any given moment, life may seem unfair and innocent people may appear to be suffering. But if we wait long enough, we believe, we will see the righteousness of God’s plan emerge. If you plant grass seed and a palm tree seed on the same day, the grass will start to sprout sooner. At that point, a person who knew nothing about nature might predict that the grass would ultimately grow to be higher and stronger than the palm tree, since it was growing faster. But the experienced observer would know that eventually the grass would wither and the palm tree grow tall and straight and last for more than a generation. … in the long run they will see the wicked wither...
Wednesday, 4 February 2009
Said a world famous violinist about his success in playing Beethoven's Violin Concerto: "I have splendid music, a splendid violin and a splendid bow. All I need to do is bring them together and get out of the way."
I realised most of our problems and misunderstandings in dealing with people at work is basically this: we would like to be the centre of all that goes on. The whole enterprise is to be somebody! And for that we end up doing whatever it takes, even if it is making someone else into a nobody! That's the danger in the ambitious pathway of becoming somebody.
Tuesday, 3 February 2009
I stuck to my 'no' stand - I do have valid and genuine reasons to say so. Anyhow, I directed as to how best to do it himself or mentioned other people who could help him but resisted taking it upon myself. Somehow at the end, I could see the other person understanding my reasons - I didn't really explain them at all - for this 'no' of mine.
I remember Fr Lens saying to me long time ago when still an aspirant in Gunadala. There are two ways of helping people: you do it for them or you help them do it themselves. He concluded, the latter is better. Yesterday and today have been great lessons in the same. Let's see what awaits me tomorrow!
I bought some soft brooms today for the house. And after making the payment to the fellow who had come home to sell the brooms, I wrote out a voucher for him to sign. First he told me he does not know to sign, by the time I wrote out the voucher, he was ready to sign! In the meantime I watched him fiddle with his cell phone from the corner of my eye. I said to myself, what days, even a broom seller who is totally illiterate has a cell phone. Soon he was beside me ready to 'sign'. I handed him the pen and he diligently set out to 'draw' his name, looking at his cell phone.
I was amazed at his ability to 'write'! He certainly was no literate - our conversation after this revealed it. Yet he knew to make the most of what he had in his hands - brooms and the cell phone! Later in the day I received a mail in Italian. This time I was illiterate! But I was prepared. I merely copied the text, pasted it in 'google translate' and clicked 'translate'. Bingo!! I had the English version - not perfect, but very much understandable!
Now that's what I call, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush! Not necessary to have all the luxuries of the world to enjoy life. Just have the will to make the most of life and you'll have the necessary things!!
Anyway, hats off to this simple but strong woman.
Monday, 2 February 2009
Speaking about this with Fr TD John, he said something interesting. We prefer to carry the child Jesus - cute, small, chubby, cuddly! Not many are willing to carry the grown up Jesus, for with him comes the cross - and that's heavy!!
I could have solved today's issue by one simply decision of mine. But I chose to help the other, make the decision. It was easier said than done. But now, at the end of the day, I feel happy at that decision of mine to let the person concerned arrive at a conclusion and stand by it.
Growth comes not because I take decisions and make resolutions; growth happens when we stand by those decisions and resolutions. That is the real challenge: to live and grow through the decisions and conclusions we arrive at. If need be bear the insults, soak the glory, wade through misunderstandings and if wrong, be willing to make amends too. It's all part of the game called 'living'.
Sunday, 1 February 2009
Looking back in my life I see the hand of so many people, besides my Papa and Mummy, who have in a way added, supported, modified, challenged and corrected my views, opinions, convictions and attitudes. After all, I am a sum of all these!
Watching them and saying to myself, 'No change!', I questioned myself, as to how much of a real difference does the Eucharist make for me? I realise I am no better than them. At least in their innocence they are true...
Anyway, God bless them... and me too, to understand this great treasure we receive everyday!