Tuesday, 31 March 2009
However, what I keenly observe is the passion, the obsession, the zeal, tactics, plans, ideas, fickle fidelities of not just the politicians but of common people themselves. To silently hear others debate with such vigour the whole battle game is a thrill in itself. It does not take long in realising on whose side is the one doing the talking. Those silent, I guess, are those not interested or ignorant or above such party-politics.
I'm learning a thing or two about what goes on in the minds of people who get so passionately involved in this whole affair. I wonder if they are ever so passionate about their own family or studies or work. The best part is how the top layer of politicians are able to make the majority of population real puppets without having ever to dirty their hands and remain publicly "immaculate". That is called brains!
Monday, 30 March 2009
One hardly gets to see life in such close quarters. The blend of human emotions with acting, the varied themes and sub-themes running simultaneously and culminating in the climax... Unfortunately like most of my movie watching sessions, the power cut left me without reaching the end. Now I'll have to watch it sometime later - God knows when! There have been times when I have completed watching a movie, in bits and pieces, only after a couple of years.
Anyway, whatever they want to say, let them. After all they have the right to speak and express themselves. However, for me, if that what you say causes your brethren - and 'sisteren' - to lose faith and jeopardise their simple beliefs, it is better not to say it. But if one feels so compelled to say so, let him or her do so with such charity as to build faith and confidence. If it is only for self-emptying and "truth-revealing" without concern for the general population, I doubt how much of pastoral zeal and love for the mission is in that person. Truth ought to be revealed but it also matters much, how that truth is revealed. The role of media too needs to be critically analysed. It often has the tendency to pick up the 'juicy' parts, and flash them out of the whole context the text is written.
May all we do, be for the betterment of the standard of living of our neighbours and for our own own spiritual upliftment.
- a woman in involved, yet she is not the central figure of the narration.
- it is one person versus the crowd
- the accused is helpless... the system works against them completely.
- help comes from one person, who dares to stand up for the accused against the crowd
- the innocent is spared.... truth prevails.
Sunday, 29 March 2009
Saturday, 28 March 2009
My religious life and commitment is a daily struggle and a conscious one too.
Thursday, 26 March 2009
Very true, not just of happiness but also of many other things.... But something that is presently occupying my time these days, surely stradles both, finding and creating. And that is news!! Being the web coordinator of the Province and all the more after revamping the site, I get one recurring message (of course, after all the congratulatory words): please keep the site updated!! Well, I do not miss the opportunity to remind them that it is not my baby to feed!! I'm not the only one to feed it all alone. Each one in the Province ought to use it - after all, I understand it as the 'Digital Noticeboard' of the Province. Well, I can post news and views, provided I am given some basic data atleast. Surely I cannot create news all the while. I can help find news and even create it but not all of it by myself, always.
Anyway, news or views, that initial statement regarding happiness, I'm fully convinced of!
Wednesday, 25 March 2009
Hope someone will be able to clearly state how mystery of evil is not the same as sin!! For me at least, evil is a much wider concept than sin. One thing for sure, evil is something that I may not directly be involved in whereas sin is something I ought to have a hand in!
Perhaps if we stretch the meaning of sin and evil, they would meet somewhere, but not in their present concepts.
Trying to relive her state of mind, I can imagine what it would be if today an angel appears to me and tells me to adopt a baby boy as it is Jesus, in his second coming! Like any Catholic, I too am aware of the parousia, but am I really ready for such a task? Would I really believe? Right now, I hardly have any reasons to tell myself, to convince myself that this is true!
In the movie, Evans Almighty, when asked what makes him so sure that God chose him to build an ark, in this age in the city of New York, he replies, "God chose all of us!"
Now that requires faith. It is not just some basic belief or trust, it demands much more than that. I myself feel incompetent to write more as I do not have any inkling what that would entail. Just his morning's meditation of this imaginary message for me itself was too handful!!
On the other hand, there are our faithful Salesians who have not made a big impact on the world at large. They have in their own way touched the lives of a few inmates - and touched them deeply too. They haven't been involved in any great movement or networking.
Now where and how does on strike balance. I understand that individual charisms too play a great role in this whole enterprise. But how can I really merge these two dimensions without compromising one for the other?
Saturday, 21 March 2009
I take back opinion on my previous posting about the wastage of time in meetings. The afternoon sharing, though totally out of the prepared agenda - perhaps that was the reason for its richness! - was a very enriching one. For one we realised, we are not omnipotent. Therefore we need to collaborate with others, most of all with non-Salesians. In this process, even if we stand the danger to loose our name 'Don Bosco', be ready for that! True, what is more important, our name 'Don Bosco' or the goal which we are striving after? I remember Miester Eckhart's words (more or less): God, help me realise that the best way to come close to you is to get rid of you! So, kill Don Bosco!!! It is not that we are compromising on our Salesian identity, rather we are only taking it on a higher plane and truly living up to the charism and dream of Don Bosco.
- We need to know what the exact goal of the meeting is. To have clear objectives and targets we intend to achieve in and through this meeting.
- We also need to strategize how to achieve this and involve all concerned. This is often our pitfall. We take for granted things will happen and they will emerge. No, things don't emerge just like that. They need to be guided. At times there are very insightful ideas emerging, but without proper moderation it is likely to get lost.
- Summarise the meeting before calling it a day. This way we can tangibly - and immediately - evaluate the outcome of the meeting.
- Meticulously record the minutes and pass them on to all involved at the earliest.
- Follow up of the deliberations and decisions arrived at during the meeting. Most often we discuss and then leave loose ends.
Friday, 20 March 2009
Thus I watched two movies on TV in my free time! One is the October Sky and the other Rabbit-proof fence. The October Sky is a true story about Homer, a young boy with a passion and skill for rockets and flight engineering. However his father detests all of this and wishes that he take up his job as a coal miner. Despite all odds, Homer rejects to be a mere coal miner and goes on to become a NASA engineer along with his school mates - thanks to the constant inspiration of his physics teacher who nurtures the little hope he has to see beyond the coal mine, the small native town and dream of his potency becoming reality. Yet what I liked of the movie is when Homer returns home after his successful science exhibition and tells his sarcastic father, that he may have had several scientists as his inspiration, but none of them were his hero! His father was!
Rabbit-proof fence is the story of three girls, the eldest of whom leads them through rough Australian terrain just to be back home, with their mother. Captured by the white 'educated' to 'protect them from themselves' the girls are determined to get back home. It is a very beautiful story. But what caught my attention is the attitude of Mr Neville, the rehabilitation officer, who was doing his job: saving the aborigines from themselves. He was sincere and determined in carrying out what he considered the most important thing to do.
Both these movies have a lot to teach about formation:
- Not all that formators think is good, needs to be truly good.
- Inspiration is most often from close quarters, others may provide sparks of motivation, those close to the person, always keep the fire burning.
- Reaching the goal is never easy. In case of formation, whole life is never easy. But preparation to face those challenges and willingness to be brave enough are the tests for determining how passionate are we about that what we aspire to.
- It didn't make sense to talk about different God; that kind of talk inevitably leads to madness. No, for Anna it was all or nothing; there could be only one Mister God. This being so, then the different places of worship, the kinds of names give to those worshippers could be due to one thing, and to one thing only: the different arrangements of the evidence for Mister God. (p.141-142)
- I call myself a Christian. What do you call yourself? I reckon Mister God must be pretty good at music, he knows all the names of the chords. Perhaps he doesn't mind what you call it, as long as you play it. (p. 143) Now that's something similar to Fr TV Thomas' mulberry tree and the Sister calling it a cherry tree!
Now this is quite interesting... all in praise of the night and darkness, because, it lets you see deep!
- The sun is nice, but it lights things up so much that you can't see very far.
- Your soul don't go very far in the daylight 'cos it stops where you can see.
- The nighttime is better. It stretches your soul right out to the stars. And that is a very long way. In the nighttime you don't have to stop going out. It's like you rears. In the daytime it's so noisy you can't hear. In the nighttime you can. The nighttime stretches you.
- My reason for preferring the darkness is that in the dark you have to describe yourself. In the daylight other people describe you.
- Never let anyone rob you of your right to be complete. The daylight is for the brain and the senses, the darkness is for the heart and the wits. Never, never be afraid. Your brain may fail you one day, but your heart won't. (Old Woody to Anna p. 151-152)
Wednesday, 18 March 2009
I've always regarded that fear and formation never go hand in hand. Earlier days, it was the formees who feared the formators. These days it is the formators who are frightened of the formees!! Sounds strange but that seems to be the fact. But again as I said, basics remain intact: fear and formation do not go hand in hand!
I know very well that living all what you believe in can be dangerous - not for the you but for the ones you live with. But equally worse or damaging is to live a sub-standard life, a sort of life dictated by loose talk, fear or losing one's name, one filled with anxiety if I am pleasing all...
During the Brothers' Congress, after my talk, Br Rocha asked me in the general assembly if I have inspired anyone to become a Brother! I remembered what Fr Ivo once said about conversion and evangelisation: 'My work is proclamation. Conversion is the work of the Holy Spirit!' So too, in the field of formation, I believe my work is to show the right path - not even to lead the young. You follow a path and if you are so truthful and inspiring, the youngsters will follow you - not all, but the genuine ones. After all, you are not leading them to yourself, but to Christ.
During my days at Karunapuram, I was cautioned by one of my students in class for being too strict. He said, "Brother, you can take the horse to the water front but cannot make it drink the water!" I replied, "Very true! But I want the horse to know where to look for water when it is thirsty. I do not want the horse to go around telling other horses and donkeys that no one ever showed it where the water is!"
Monday, 16 March 2009
But this morning on my way to the vegetable market I saw him walking around! So I presume all that I saw yesterday was only a fluke incident and not even the hospital guys took him in! Anyway, he's alive and around.
Friday, 13 March 2009
This morning's readings too triggered this thought in me. Take for example Joseph's brothers Reuben and Joshua. Both liked their brother, Joseph well enough to save him from being killed by their own siblings but not courageous enough to stand up to the group and say that what they were doing was wrong. Even the workers in the parable of the vineyard, those who plotted and killed the only heir. Had just one of them stood up to them and said that it was not the right thing to do, their conscience would not have let them do it so easily.
It is the silence of the noble that kills more than the sword of the maniac!
Thursday, 12 March 2009
The idea is to carry out a need-assessment of all our formees at the beginning of the scholastic year. Basing on this finding, we need to provide the input session and animation along the year for this group - perhaps individually if need be. At the end of the academic year we need to have a skill-assessment done to see what progress the students have made over the year. There are few very crucial points here to be kept in mind and which we need to sort out. First among them, get the students involved. This is not a group or mass programme that fits in the same for all. Each one has to make the best of this and this programme has to be so tailored. How and where and who is yet to be finalised. Next important thing - perhaps the most important thing, once the student has done his part well, namely identifying those area(s) in which he needs help - is to to help the person over the year, along with his normal routine work. This calls for someone to be 'at it'.
Finally there is the skill-assessment at the end of the year. This is something that will tell us what the person has grown with, what has helped him in the process and now what he intends to do with what he has in hand. Somewhere down the line we will have to inculcate in the student that the skill acquired is not for personal gain alone. This skill needs to be transferred to other areas of life and passed on to others/youngsters too.
The best part of this envisaged programme is that it is totally by the student himself. There is no external agency or anyone else telling him what he has to do, why he has to do and what has happened to him. It is a process of self-learning and growth. Again, as I said in the beginning, not anything brand new... just old wine in new wine skins! Let's see how long it holds out!
Wednesday, 11 March 2009
We dream of so many things but when we sit and chat it out with others we realise that there are other ways of doing it too. I realised this when at times I'd sit all night to get one small box in its place and the next morning, Sheeba would do it no time. There are also times when they struggle with something and I, through my 'trial and error' am able to help them out. True... knowledge grows when shared.
I don't understand what thrill people get in bashing up drivers and further damaging vehicles at an accident scene. Helping the ones injured is a noble task which few venture to carry out. But this bashing drama, there are some specialised at every place!!
God give them some brains!!
Sunday, 8 March 2009
Then there is Leena Aunty - someone whom I admire for her courage and grit. Life has surely been very cruel to her, yet she fights. Then there is Baby Aunty who is ever so cheerful and homely. Again she too has her share of woes but that does mean she carries it around for all to see. There is of course, my grandma, who is no more. I guess all three of them (my Mummy and my aunties) only inherited this graceful life from my grandma. Hats off to her for simplicity in living one's life, the courage to face difficulties, the depth of love to keep the family united and the zeal to work anytime, anywhere, whatever!
Thank you God for these women in my life. They mean a world to me!
Earlier when as a student of Philosophy helping out in the vocation camps, there used to be large number from Guntur - from our own technical school. Now I doubt if there are any from there. I'm told that among the present batch of novices there is none who was ever in touch with any Salesian or Salesian institute before reaching the aspirantate in Gunadala. Whew!!!
I do not say we Salesians do not work. But I guess we do not work properly - in ways that we are seen as men of God and committed to the responsibilities entrusted. Worse still we fear to invite young people to join us - fear because we may be asked "Why? What for?" and we do not have answers to it.
My frank opinion, if my life is worth its calling, no one will dare ask me, for the answer is there for anyone to see - just like an open book. May God help us in outlasting ourselves.
However, I thought more than climbing up the mountain, it is climbing down the mountain that is most painful. Climbing up is always with a great fervour, we have our goal set, our energies are at an all time high and nothing seems so difficult. But the climbing down... well there is nothing more to be achieved besides getting back to the plain rhythm of life and though easier by way of physical exertion, dangerous because it takes more strain on the knees and joints.
Ask that of anyone who has his knees injured!
Friday, 6 March 2009
Somehow, I feel very comfortable amidst all of this. If I decide to join a celebartion, I join whole-heartedly. I'd be there for that person and share in his joy. Rather than feel guilty about restraining myself and indulging myself, I go by what is most conducive. I'd prefer to eat meat and get up next morning and go to Church with a clear mind and conscience than deny eating what is laid before me and think about it the whole meditation time next morning!!
I know it is not the best of all practices but that is how I feel and go about. Of course, the best and first thing is to firmly decide what celebration is worth, especially in this season of prayer, fasting and reflection.
Thursday, 5 March 2009
Tuesday, 3 March 2009
Our strength lies not in the amount of ammunition we have or we use but in the will power we exercise in retaining the ammunition in our stores - long enough for it to decay!
Perhaps all of this is much more understandable when I say to myself, "She is Fr Lens' neice - it runs in their blood!"
Monday, 2 March 2009
In the evening to celebrate my b'day the Community went out for a meal. The bill at the end of our 'simple' meal dampened all our appetite and brought a lump to our throats! Well, two extreme situations of life.
However, sitting back in my office, I realise I felt more comfortable in the vegetable market amidst all the dirt and disorder than in the posh cool hotel this evening. The only consolation of the latter was the company of my community members.
Sunday, 1 March 2009
Now that's some insight! God has his own ways of reaching out to us but we always would prefer to have a direct and immediate two-way network... shorter the better!
Now this is surprising! The very young turks who boast and give talks and conduct rallies and create hysteria among people - all to win their votes - merely warm the benches in the Parliament - the place where they should be actually doing the talking? That the elderly ministers are most vociferous is quite heartening. (Of course, what and with what intention they talk is another question - but at least they talk!)
The concluding line of the article is befitting: Most young MPs will be hoping to contest elections again, making speeches and holding debates. Their constituencies hope their representatives will take their talk to Parliament too.