Tuesday, 28 December 2010
Just like Joseph was 'informed' about the impending danger, God would certainly have tried His unique ways of getting Herod to try something less heinous. Or at the most, distracted Herod from carrying out his evil plans of the massacre. Then, what happened? The difference lay in the fact that Joseph 'listened' to God's message; Herod did not! Joseph could have very well brushed aside God's message as some fancy thinking or dream; but he chose otherwise. Herod could have 'listened' to God's message but he didn't... and that made all the difference in the lives (or death) of the little ones.
Moral of the story (not a logical one or a sensitive one, but all the same a reasonable one): Each one's got to do what one ought to do; lest someone pays the price, at times a heavy one at that!
Sunday, 26 December 2010
However, the funny part of the nativity enactment was that Mary was already pregnant during the annunciation itself (there wasn't much time after the annunciation for her to do the make up, so ... she was 'ready' right from the beginning... that's what one of the lady staff who helped Siva with his costume told me). And St Joseph, (enacted by Sai) was with a pair of spectacles, that too borrowed at the last minute!
However, once the celebrations began after Mass, I slowly sneaked out. I felt much better outside than in the humdrum of all that jing-bang. I know not if I'm growing more and more introvert for fear of facing the 'others' or is it just that I find silence and solitude more meaningful than noisy celebrations. For now, I prefer to go by the latter!
Of course, the calamity has been Jesus... He has been totally forgotten!!
Here it is with Lakshmi, our kitchen staff just waiting for her to drop her arms so that it can snatch the ball which she is holding it from her!
Friday, 24 December 2010
Thursday, 23 December 2010
I was wondering this morning, what makes it so faithful to Rinoy? What difference is there between its fidelity and our fidelity to God? After much thought, I feel it is the difference of a conscious choice we get to make and live by it. Ginger makes the choice without any conditions and will live by it. Ginger perhaps did not have a big choice to make than to accept Rinoy as its master, irrespective of Rinoy's character, personality or any other moral character. Even if Rinoy were to be the worst criminal of the world, its fidelity would have been total. However, our fidelity to Christ is only verbal, we have a choice to be faithful to Christ, and we claim we have made that choice (through baptism, profession, ordination...) but in fact we really haven't! In spite of having made a 'deliberate choice' our fidelity or commitment to Christ is found wanting.
All the same, I ask myself, what exactly does Christmas mean? I 'know' that it is the bd'ay of Jesus and all that stuff. But what does it mean for me? As I reflect about this, I feel that Christmas is perhaps the greatest feast of justice and dignity (I still 'know' that it is a feast of love, but that I only 'know' still). Why is it about justice and dignity? Because God in his greatness could not think of any other greater means of reaching out to His beloved than by being one among them. That too not just anyone among them, but being the lowliest, the least, the weakest and the most vulnerable among them... a baby, a carpenter, an ordinary person.
In this sense, the Christmas banner of the ANS website, makes sense... it has an infant in the womb of the mother... the most vulnerable and dependent creature on the face of the earth, a baby!
Wednesday, 22 December 2010
Saturday, 18 December 2010
This morning, Fr Devadas' comment that the Brothers are complaining of losing their peace of mind, due to the numerable assignments that I am giving and the constant antiphons of Fr Wilson that study is prayer, were indeed very encouraging. Truly... the Brothers are feeling the heat of study. Having tried all possible means of wriggling out of this 'study-net' they are now trying the 'spiritual-net'. But they know very well, perhaps more than us Staff, that there are no shortcuts to sincere and dedicated study, at least for this year!
What more can I, as the Dean of studies in a Philosophate, ask for!! Perhaps this is the Lord's Christmas gift to me... THANK YOU, LORD! I'm yet to think and prepare one for Him, though!
I have my doubts if children of the present day have that eagerness, that 'itch', that passion for something? Or is it just to laze around and do nothing challenging? If that sense and thrill of adventure of something 'new' isn't tasted right in the beginning, the apparent drudgery of life unconsciously leads one to settle down for a very mediocre life, all along!
Friday, 17 December 2010
Looking back to the time we began the academic year, we on the staff, were all up in arms that the students are not studying. Now everyone is studying... of course it does not automatically imply that they are really learning, but atleast the effort is being made. One of the chief reasons for this transformation from a very lax attitude to study and academic work to a 'surprising' seriousness about intellectual work, has been a collective stand that the staff took: consistent focus on study! Practically all the four of us on the staff have not been compromising on that at all. We really demand and pull them up for what is expected of them. The fruits are evident for everyone to see. Another very impact-filled reason has been the failing of nearly 6 of the students in various semester exams - not just the preliminary exam but in the repetitions too ... two supplementary exams! They had somehow thought that their failing would not bring about any serious consequences. Now that their very continuation in the seminary is at stake due to this, they (all the students, not just the 6 failed candidates) are on high alert!! A healthy sign of this whole endeavour has been the sincere appreciation of most of the students of the study ambiance in the Seminary. That ensures our (staff) motivation and prevents our efforts from becoming tyrannical.
and the fear of not making it to the next year is the beginning of learning!
Amidst all that he shared and we discussed, I was surprised how he clearly remembers all my words which I stated in the first community meeting. And when at the end of our long chat he was the one who reminded me that all that I told him now was already told by me on that day, way back in June 2010. Then he heard them, today he feels the weight of them! Good for him, good for me too, to ensure that I'm after them consistently and for the right reasons.
No wonder Don Bosco used to insist so much on accompaniment... Salesian Assistance!
Wednesday, 15 December 2010
On the other hand, this reaction of mine could be due to my 'fear and anxiety' about 'mega-projects'. I really feel best with some minor but incisive efforts which touch lives rather than effect a mere 'wow'!
Tuesday, 14 December 2010
However, a couple of lessons I learnt from today's experience:
- The theme of the debate has to be a very precise and straight statement. Not a complex idea or comparative topic.
- The talks need to be according to specific fields. This is important when the successive speakers are not very talented or capable of commenting or lashing out at the previous opponent prior to their own presentation. Moreover, this would help focus the area under consideration rather than let each one wander about wild.
- The meaning and definition of terms being used need to be specified and clarified at the earliest.
- The talks need to be sub-divided into the following pattern: Statement of the argument (in line with your stand), a brief explanation of the same and finally, if necessary make the point clear with an example. Bereft of this there will be many things said - many good things - but not very specific or arousing discussion.
- The statement/argument of the opponent is to be attacked... not the person, or least of all the example!! (Our Brothers are masters of catching the wing-tip of the fly, sitting on the tip of the hair, of the tail of the bull... and certainly not the horns!).
- The questions during the floor discussion should be very tricky and sharp. The opponent should be put in a fix: an 'yes' or a 'no' would either way land them in trouble. That's the sort of questions one has to equip oneself with.
Sunday, 12 December 2010
Br PM was truly a self-made man. He had his convictions clear and sure. I liked best his enthusiasm for his Salesian vocation. He simply loved Don Bosco and really 'enjoyed' being a Salesian. Though experienced and smart, he never let it get to his head and always was ready to get into any debate, fun or discussion. He surely was a great inspiration, certainly for me!
Thanks to God and Br PM for being part of my life.
At one point, I was wondering as to who was entertaining whom? The boys, having seen and being entertained by many a group along the time of their stay there, we not new to our 'animation'. So the Brothers were at a bit of loss as to what 'new' and entertaining to offer them. However, Christu did a commendable job, at least trying. But there seems to be some sort of a disease among the Brothers. When they see a group of people, they just stand in a huddle by themselves, watching the confusion... all the while knowing the fact that they are there as 'animators'. I guess it is basically due to a lack of knowledge of what is to be done and more so, how is it to be done.
Another surprising revelation was the knowledge that of the 95 boys therein, there are only a handful of those who are supposed to be there. The rest are absolutely out of place, in as much as they have either of their parents, a home, or have run away from home and were found loitering on the railway station platforms. I always thought that the Juvenile home was meant for those in need of care and protection and those at risk. This place is more like a boarding, where the child lands up because his parents feel that this is the best place for him!! How can they just shirk their responsibility?
It was good!
Thursday, 9 December 2010
However, I desisted from any bidding except twice. Somehow I did not have the heart to throw away money for something as cheap as a t-shirt or a Bible cover! I felt I had better means of reaching out and helping the missions. But I did bid twice more to encourage participation and raise the spirit of competition. Of course, the Brothers too were keen on dumping something on to me - they did it at the first opportunity! But on the whole, it was good.
Wednesday, 8 December 2010
Every sphere of life, revolves around money and is ruled by its power. Religious life too is not spared by it. How often all our decisions and decision making processes are guided by finances. I know money is needed for survival and basic needs, but why more than that? Why should charity or service for that matter, be always associated with monetary links? Don't our families at home earn and live on what they have? Why then have we in the religious life be so perturbed by availability or lack of availability of finances? Why can't we just serve... reach out with what we have... even if it is little or nothing at all.
Monday, 6 December 2010
Nice to celebrate Christmas by including all those who are normally not invited, those forgotten. As for me, I'd like to send a note to all whom I've not been in touch with since I left Hyderabad - and that's a really long list!! One of them was Fr Tom and surprisingly he called me this morning!
As we were concluding the meeting someone quoted the one who fumbled with words at a meeting and said: I thank you all from the heart of my bottom! Thathi added an experience of his while in Rome. For a special Mass, the Salesians from Africa led the entrance procession with a dance. Thathi and a friend of his (who happened to be missionary in Africa) could not but notice the heavy hip and butt movement. As the procession reached the altar, Thathi's friend leaned into Thathi and whispered: "That's where they find God!"
I know that Don Bosco found no other means of helping the boys than through opening up institutions which would cater to their every need. But how then did he not sacrifice or atleast begin the process of compromising the strategies and ideals of the initial festive oratory? The 'curse of institutionalisation' was initiated by Don Bosco himself... or did he? Can one continue the spirit of Don Bosco without subscribing to his final 'boarding school' method?
From my little experience in the Salesian congregation I wonder if this sort of 'liberty' is still present and encouraged. Down the centuries we have built up this 'institutional' model of Don Bosco's apostolate with great fervour, commitment and zeal... but what if someone wants to adopt the festive oratory model? Does our formation process envisage and promote this possibility at all or is it nipped in the bud itself?
One such apostolate at a tangent was/is the Street children work. (It too has been very much institutionalised... but that's another issue). But anything more or different than that? For the rest, we are all stuck to Parishes, schools, colleges (barely), technical institutes and of course, boardings. To say that the spirit of the festive oratory (as it was) is vibrant and very much alive in all these would be a slight exaggeration.
Will someone with the initial mind of Don Bosco find a place in the Salesian congregation anymore? Will a Salesian atleast with such a mind, find space and support?
I would certainly prefer the latter 'breed'. But I am still not sure how can a uniform, singular formation process help individual charisms to mushroom and bloom in varied contexts while remaining faithful to the 'Salesian charism'. How exactly to make it flexible enough to encourage and enthuse creativity while retain the identity so as to be still called SDBs? As Fr Maliekal asked, "How do we distinguish the picnicker from the seeker?" Where and how does one draw the line between a freak and a saint?
theology (image of God): Immovable mover to Emoting being
psychology: instinctual theory to relational and inter-subjective theories
ethics: good and bad to situational ethics
economics: competition to collaboration
medicine: corporeal medicine to body-mind-spirit healing
sociology: hierarchy to networking
spirituality: mechanistic-dualistic to holistic-ecological
I was wondering what if there was a religious congregation founded today... in the so-called 'postmodern' times. Would it really have a 'footing' in the Church? I fear it might be scorned as some new heresy or some new age thinking. I also feel that such congregations will not spring up any more.
What next then? Those existing ought to change according to the times or perish with the times!
One of the interesting directions which the meeting took was after Fr Sebastian's intervention about our modality and rigid mentality in sticking to 'rubrics' at the cost of life and reality. Thathi too posed the question of Fr Fabio Attard concerning our youth apostolate: Are we trying to get our new generation of young Salesians to fit in the youth module that we have or have worked out? Are not they more atune to the stirrings of young people than the previous generation? Why then do we not let them have a say or let them formulate a new youth apostolate model, while being faithful to the basics?
The difficulty here was where to draw the line between what is and what should be. Furthermore, who decides what and how. Fr Maliekal pointed out a good signpost: a shift, when made, should be geared towards an integrated growth... not just in one or two aspects of our apostolate. If it is only partial then the whole system breaks down.
Who are my friends? Whom do I associate most with? Will they, when I am unable to approach Jesus by myself or am moving away from Him, lead me to Him?
Friday, 3 December 2010
The feast of St Francis Xavier is a good occasion to review the life and passion of this man who managed to evangelise the East in an age when there were neither transport nor communication facilities... all that he had was his indomitable zeal to reach out to the people and share with them the Treasure he had found. The existence or non-existence of the rest did not matter.
Thursday, 2 December 2010
After the funeral there is always the talk (can also read it as gossip): How many people were there? Frankly speaking a very idiotic and nonsensical question. The reason is cited above! Also because it is used as a measuring tool to chart the popularity rating of the one no more. But maybe true. Not all may feel like me. Hence they may choose to express their affection and love for the departed by joining him/her in the last lap of the moral race.
Anyway, I thought of this for I remembered a statement about the cemetery compound wall, something I used when in Yercaud:
The wall around a cemetery is useless as those inside cannot come out and those outside do not want to get in.
Wednesday, 1 December 2010
As for me, after long today was a rather relaxed day. I managed to correct a whole large chunk of papers that have been occupying my desk since long. Now with only the Christmas celebrations (anticipated) to prepare for, I can focus on some things that I've been postponing.
One among this is to prepare a 'Bucket list'... just started watching the movie, The Bucket List. Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson... the latter being simply great!! More about that later. For now, just want to finish up some of the left overs of the Seminary day reports, videos and photos. Then plan to move on to some new project for myself ... shall be more out of the office, or shall keep off the computer during the day, to be precise... to begin with!!
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Anyway, it went on well. I was happy for most of the Brothers did their role well. I was following up the second years in the hall and they did a swift job of putting things back in their respective places in just one hour... neatly!
That's the third course address to the Bishop...!
That's the archbishop of Visakhapatnam, Kagithapu Mariadas, whom we felicitated for his golden jubilee of Ordination.
After the Mass, the felicitation programme, we had the lunch
This was the special counter for the fruits salad and ice cream... the most sought after item in the menu.
Monday, 29 November 2010
Friday, 26 November 2010
I very well know that I've been delaying this whole hullabaloo with the sole intention of getting the Brothers to focus on the most important aspect of this present state of formation: philosophical studies. Rather than have a month long preparation, I just started exactly a week-long preparation. The results are practically the same. And as Thathi said, this strategy of an intense preparation rather than a prolonged one is best for any activity with young people... except study and assimilation. Perfectly true!
Even those not gifted with a good voice or a sense of music sing, if not for love of music at least for revenge at God for not having blessed them with that grace!
Sunday, 21 November 2010
Then there was another small fellow strolling up and down the aisle as though inspecting the guard of honour. He was least bothered about anyone trying to get him to stay still in one place. Nor was he concerned with the strange looks and glares of the elders. He was all by himself and enjoying every bit of it.
Looking at all these kids, I'm reminded of Chris and I'm sure he is doing similarly crazy and funny things.
Friday, 19 November 2010
Given all the discussion and opinions we shared, what I liked most was that we had the good of the Brothers in mind, always. At every juncture we kept reminding ourselves that they were the centre of our efforts and endeavours. Another strong fact that kept emerging often is that the Brothers are more frightened of their own companions than of the staff. There are very few who, first of all have a stand, and fewer still who are willing to stand by their own opinion rather than fall for the view of others, knowing very well that what others want them to accept and voice out is not true or beneficial. I kept asking myself: if today they cannot stand for what is right and just amidst their own companions what and when will they fight or stand on behalf of the poor and downtrodden?
Wednesday, 17 November 2010
The Indian philosophical method of neti-neti rings a bell here!
Perhaps this process of negating what a thing is not, is a very intuitive process. Of course, we can just say that a fan is not a tree, but to be able to say that it is not a helicopter is something more formative than the former. Or to say that it is not a living thing... by saying so we have negated all living beings. The search is now narrowed down and further intensified...
Tuesday, 16 November 2010
Listening to their arguments and Biblical quotations (literal meanings drawn from some quotes their know by rote!) I had pity on God... I had to really defend Him from His own 'staunch' believers. Some of the recollection talks and sermons they hear too add to their 'madness' that it is enough to have faith, blind faith and no act or effort or struggle on our part, for God to work in and through us. I do not deny that God is capable of that too, but that should not be an excuse for our lethargy and lacklustre life.
Monday, 15 November 2010
As for me, I think that's a major difference: On a ship, a warship at that, one cannot survive without being passionate about sea and voyage. Anyone without that passion will be soon back at home looking for 'greener' pastures and certainly not be watching the vast 'blue pasture'! However, in the Seminary most carry on without the least of passion, neither for God nor His people!!!
Then I just mentioned about the movie Bruce Almighty and asked them to come up with a list if each of them were 'God almighty'... with all the powers of God to run the world. Let's see what they come up with.
However, since the time I did my B.Ph. paper on the 'goodness' of evil, I have really been blessed with seeing things differently. What exactly makes the world great: perfection or lack of it? I believe it is imperfection. It is difficult and hard, but better than having everything perfect.
Sunday, 14 November 2010
After the programme, I took up animating the children for some party games, as they were not really prepared to handle the whole group together. It was good occasion for me to interact with the children after long. I'm glad I was there and had that time. The whole afternoon (from 3 pm onwards) was once again spent in the office, resolving issues and settling matters!
However, as I spent the morning looking at myself, I was feeling a sense of insecurity! I am wondering what exactly am I doing? I very well know that I'm doing quite a few things, may be too may at the same time or setting into motion quite a few initiatives, both here in Kondadaba and in NJ, Vizag too. But what ultimately am I doing? I really am not sure. I need to get myself straightened about who and what for am I doing all of this, before I find myself lost, lonely and mad.
Friday, 12 November 2010
Today he called upon all of us to be 'websites for God'... 'places' where people can find information, knowledge and a first hand experience of God and His Divinity. Well that's a novel idea! Technologically speaking, a religious or a consecrated person is one who ought to be a man of God. So he or she should be a treasure trove of godliness and virtue. Well all this makes sense especially in the light of the numerous scandals and scams that go on in religious houses and within the Church.
Sunday, 7 November 2010
What I liked of this whole episode was the joy of being part of the enthusiasm of the boys. They very well knew that they were not going to move into the new building, yet they were all eager to do whatever it was necessary to make the occasion grand. Some of the smaller fellows may have had absolutely no idea of what was going on, apart from the fact that there was 'something' happening. Perhaps if we had taken the whole lot of them to some other unknown place and area to work and prepare, they would have, but only if they had instructions from us Salesians and the staff. Their attachment is to people not to things or buildings or structures.
Unbendable steel, bends. If the fury of the winds is unstoppable.
I've learnt to never underestimate, the impossible.
Thursday, 4 November 2010
The worst agony of the day was having to waste six thousand rupees just because one of those who turned down our invitation for the inauguration of the building on Nov. 7 suddenly decided to make an appearance. So had to recast the inauguration slab within hours of getting the first one... six thousand rupees rotting in the garage without redemption (that's two months salary for most of our staff). That's the whole problem with these dignitaries. Their decisions change the world and the most affected are those who slog it out for a daily bread.
The conclusion of the day was good. I took some time to chat with the boys waiting for their turn to take bath at Sabbavaram. Boys, at last... if not the first!
Wednesday, 3 November 2010
Last evening was a happy one, not for all the complaints and squabbles I had to listen to, but for the reunion of two children with their parents. Yesterday afternoon when I reached Navajeevan, I found two new boys, Akbar and Ahmed. They had run away from their Madarasa and were keen on going back to their parents in Kharagpur, West Bengal. In the afternoon I sent two staff members to the Madarasa where they boys said they ran away from. The staff couldn't locate any such hostel at the place mentioned by the boys. Then in the evening, I asked them to call up the home mobile number the boys gave, just to assure the parents that their children are safe with us. The moment they heard news about their children there were shouts of joy and tears at the other end of the phone. It also turned out that they were just living here in Visakhapatnam itself. Within half an hour the parents and the children's uncle were at Navajeevan. After speaking to the staff they came to meet me. They were so grateful and happy to have their children back. The father could not move from the auto as he had a broken leg and a crippled hand. He broke down when I went to meet him on the road and assured him that his children were fine and that they could take them home without any formality or payment!!
One joy to negate all the negativities of the whole day's work and disappointments!
I spent the whole day in bed today!! Call it luxury or misery or both, I just couldn't help it. My whole head was like a big crude piece of lead weighing a ton!! Added to that my nose and throat were sore like hell. So for once I did not hesitate to swallow a tablet this afternoon. I just cannot afford to be down again tomorrow. So I guess God has His own ways of making me take medicine and not take pride in avoiding it.
And in the mail that I received from Fr Koshy this evening, this is what I found at the end of it...
The darkest stars have the brightest stars.
Tuesday, 2 November 2010
However what amuses me is the grit of people. Left to me, I'd just sit back in my room and 'enjoy' the rain (if I didn't have the inauguration of Sabbavaram coming up this weekend) - 'all the days of my life'! People outside too did the same... till Sunday. On Monday morning when the rain did not show any signs of leaving, people were out of their house, back to work!! How fast we get around (and over) situations and do not let them hamper our life, when it is a matter of survival and sustenance!
I remember hearing a couple of years ago that the JMJ Sisters have (had?) a Sister who was incharge of all the constructions in the Province. She had her own team of masons, carpenters, welders, suppliers and all that jing-bang and she would be there to make sure that the building being put up (a JMJ institution, of course) is near perfect. Can we too follow suit? But on the other hand, did we become religious for this? If not one among us, who then will feel the work as 'our' work and get things done right?
However there is another dimension of this whole process that is nagging me. Why at all spend so much on cement and bricks and paint? Why not invest it in people? Make use of existing structures or adapt our expertise and services in such a way that most of our energies is not spent on putting up buildings, in the first place, and the rest, in maintaining those... but on empowering people.
Friday, 29 October 2010
For a moment I felt guilty of having totally and absolutely forgotten about it all. Though talks and mails and animation materials and pictures of Don Rua were surfacing everywhere, that his feast day was today, completely skipped my mind. But I know Don Rua will not feel the least bad that I did not remember and wish him (not because he is dead and gone) but because, true to his spirit I spent the day wearing my **** off!! In the morning cleared up quite a few things in the office (including the whole mystery and solution about cooking gas and all related stuff), then rushed to meet the Archbishop. Thank God Fr KT was with me, or else I'd have been throw out of the first floor the moment I had uttered "Don Bosco Navajeevan". I guess the Bishop has not forgotten some of his bitter experiences of the past. Anyhow, that went on well and then came the drama in the bank. I had to withdraw a huge amount and neither was I the account holder nor the signatory nor the beneficiary. So the bank personnel had to do some cross checking till they were convinced that I was no conman!!
Had lunch at 2.30 pm and reached back to Kondadaba just in time when the Brothers began their mission sunday game. Evening prayer, supper, movie, paper correction... and to top it all the report on the Mission congress and the whole discussion with Fr Sojan for the Sabbavaram inauguration.
Now I don't have the least of guilt of having forgotten Don Rua on this special day! Anyway, just like you, dear Don Rua, am proud to be a Salesian!! Hope to be at least half of what you were - which led Don Bosco to trust you so much! That would be a great achievement ... "If I had just a few more of him, I'd win the world!"
Thursday, 28 October 2010
This evening I had called for the staff meeting of the Home staff. It was good that I did. Of course, there were more fireworks than real discussion or sharing of resources. But at least the difference were out in the open and I now know of some more things. However, there was some insightful sharing as well: regarding study, discipline, games, collaboration and efficiency of our work. I was happy that somethings which I intended to share were already proposed by them directly. That way, I didn't have to 'create' the ambience or the theme for discussion.
However, one thing that I wanted to bring out strongly was the need to make sure that we get boys to the home - either to their own home or our Home. Children do not belong to the street but the home, amidst the love and care of their loved ones. It is surprising that out of the 26 children here only 3 are really of the street. The rest are from families and here with us for education or upbringing. Hope with this pep talk and drawing up of a couple of plans for the weeks ahead, something concrete and meaningful emerges.
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
I think, perhaps we can say that of every religion.
Sunday, 24 October 2010
The greatest good we can do for others is not just to share our riches with them, but to reveal theirs.Click here for a couple of more quotes from Zig Ziglar. I am happy I also got a chance to personally meet the youth of several places. I still do not know why Sudhakar and Anthaiah got their youth group to me after the whole thing was over, but I'm glad they did. It gave me an opportunity to share with them something that has been gnawing me from within, especially about their village: helping them make a shift from dependence to independence through empowerment rather than mere charity.
The youngsters too were fantastic.... lively, involved and ready to join in for all the learning. Another great difficulty I faced was the choice of animation themes. I really could not zero in on what exactly I wanted to share about. However, things fell in place more or less by last night... that too at 1 am in the morning (after I returned from the launch of the Evangelisation programme).
Rather than speak all the while, I made use of some powerpoint presentations, a couple of video clippings and plenty of games... all as part of the theme and as tools for drawing out a message. It did work out very well.
One of my greatest joys was to see the Youth Alive group members fully active and 'alive'. They indeed did their best in making the day a very memorable one for the youngsters - and in turn for themselves. They planned well, interested in doing many things with great finesse ... and did not resent being pushed to do their best! Satish, was the most interested of all.
A surprise for me was that he quoted one of my goodnight thoughts for the young people... that of being men who can move others to a better life. Thanks to him and his acknowledgment of my impact on his life! All in all, a great day! A detailed report can me read here.
Thank you, Lord!
Friday, 22 October 2010
Anyway, I was able to pull myself up today (tonight, rather) and have some rhyme and rhythm in my animation. I now feel I've something worth and precise to communicate, rather than 'something'. I wish to basically get the young people to think and act with a passionate zeal to bring about a change, atleast/beginning in themselves. That young people are the light of the world.
I have the money in hand, but am not in touch with economics. I have it and I spend it. When that what I have in hand is over, I'll ask for more and it's be given. The monthly wage earner does not have money in hand, but would calculate each and every pie that he or she has to part with. He or she knows that if all that is in hand is spent, there has to be another couple of months of hard labour to replace that amount... and in the meantime what about daily bread and the regular stack of bills?!!!
Thursday, 21 October 2010
It doesn't really matter about the size of the dog in the fight;
what really matters is the amount of fight in the dog.
Motivation gets you through the day, but inspiration lasts a lifetime.
I thought to myself, most probably very many of our Brothers too would have been so in their early years of school and study. Hence now, even if they are to sit hours in the study hall or the library, lost in books, they are not really studying. Everything else is attractive, except the book in hand. Cannot call it a distraction too because, it can be so called only when one begins to study (in earnest) and then the attention is diverted. Herein, the attention was never on the study material before oneself!
Monday, 18 October 2010
Fr KT in his goodnight made a nice point when he rephrased the fourth commandment (Honour your father and mother): Love those who take care of you.
Sunday, 17 October 2010
Just because someone joins the seminary or the novitiate, that does not mean that he/she is called to that form of life. Vocation (in contrast to the use a number of priests and religious make of the word) is something everyone has. My father and mother have a vocation - and a holy one at that - just as I have. Vocation promotion, if genuine, consists in helping a person to choose before God that path in life where he/she will do God's will best. Or, in simple words, that path is my vocation, where I will be more loving and happier, more true to the spirit and example of Jesus. For most people the right setting is marriage; it can help me to become a true disciple of Christ. What matters is to do God's will and live a holy life, not which group I belong to.
If I forget this, or if I am more interested in the size or the survival of my group (religious order or diocese) than in what a young person is called to, then I will try to keep people in the seminary or religious life, without bothering about whether he/she seems to be really suited to this walk of life. ... A higher number of candidates need not mean more vocations. People may be getting in (and staying in) for the wrong reasons - side by side with those who are joining and staying for very genuine reasons. We must not forget that there are many 'vocations' in the Church - not just priesthood or celibate religious life.
- For most of the young men coming into the seminary, the change of life style is towards affluence. Add to this fact, the undeniable truth that the seminaries are becoming refuge of the mediocre, of persons who cannot succeed in the tough, competitive world outside.
- Just because someone joins the seminary does not mean he is called to be Priest. Vocation is something everyone has. Vocation is basically a path where I will be more loving and happier, more true to the spirit and example of Jesus. We must not forget that there are many 'vocations' in the Church - not just Priesthood or celibate religious life.
- Perseverance in doing God's will is essential; this is not the same as staying in the seminary. There can be good and holy reasons for leaving, just as there are for staying.
- People basically expect a Priest to be a 'man of God' (this does not mean he is only a liturgist). It is dimension which permeates all areas of one's life.
- Formation depends 70 percent on the candidate, 20 percent on the staff and 10 percent on the programme. There is no way we can 'produce' good Priests or make sure that a candidate grows into a sincere, dedicated, God-centred, compassionate and effective apostle.
- Most of the Priests, Bishops and Seminarians have a feudal mentality, where privilege and distance mark their style more than pastoral ministry.
- To have studied abroad or specialisation in a particular field should not be the sole or even the main criterion of appointing persons as formators.
- Spirituality and social commitment are not 'dangers' to each other. They support each other. No Priest can ever be totally detached from a social involvement, nor can he avoid being a person of prayer.
- The family is first formation house. Most of our formation is over by the time we join the seminary!
So what's the purpose of a prayer? Not that God or the other changes, but that I have a better capacity to understand what is going on and have the courage to do it or fight it. Prayer then, is not for something merely I want, but for grace enough to do what is rightful and just. It is an occasion to acknowledge that I can always ask for help (irrespective of whether the help arrives or not, or in the way or time, I want it or not)... a reminder that there is someone other than me who is there and also willing to help.
Saturday, 16 October 2010
Life is a journey - more towards a transformation than a destination.
And once again, thanks to the many who went out of their way to help and be of great assistance in every way possible, especially Fr KT and Fr Rinoy! They did have a pleasant time!
Thursday, 14 October 2010
I also have to appreciate Frs KT and Rinoy for their hospitality, even though today is Rinoy's b'day and KT has a hell of works to see to. They always had time to spare to take them around, talk to them, make them feel at home. Thanks to such loving and supportive confreres. The Brothers too did their best in making them feel at home.
I was only wondering if I was fully present in the 'now'. I know there are quite a few things which I have to see to. But by being anxious or tensed about them while being with my parents, helps nothing or no one. So, I guess I better concentrate on my people tomorrow and take on the rest of the matters later.
Wednesday, 13 October 2010
I like this passage because I very well understand the position of Jesus and that of the Pharisees and lawyers too, who are at the receiving end of Jesus' wrath. How and why? Just come to Kondadaba and you'll see it practically being enacted every other day!!
As I thought about this, I was wondering if I need to point it out to the Brothers... just as a help to grow in the art of gratitude and acknowledging the good being done (even if it comes from someone not appreciated!). But somehow I could not find sufficient rationale to point out this to them.
And today, here's a note from Fr Ivo's blog ... all about expecting gratitude. And I quote something that struck me from therein...
George Kollashany in a Goodnight long ago on the street boys ministry: Those for whom we have done least by way of material benefits are the most grateful. It seems that what they appreciate most is the fact that we have treated them as equals. Often we forget this when we bring these boys into our institutions.The key to this dilemma then is not whether to expect gratitude or not, but to ask oneself with what attitude was that kind act done. If done for gratitude, then it loses its merit of being a 'kind act' and if done without expecting gratitude, then whether someone thanks or not makes no difference. I hope I'm right with that.
Tuesday, 12 October 2010
One very amusing distraction just about when the recollection talk began this evening...
Was Jesus the best carpenter in Nazareth in his days??
I wonder....! Because I remember a while ago, someone sent me an email of a 'mysterious' person making a splendid stairway in a convent chapel (read more of it here). Though it said to have been done by St Joseph, but I guess, being 'his son' Jesus too would have learnt the trade.
The worst was when he was parading his ignorance and thanking the Lord for delivering him in the last minute in the exams! What an inspiration, that too when we on the staff here are driving the Brothers to sweat it out in the class and study hours. The Brothers, simple and gullible that they are, will be the first to fall for such dreamy ideas about prayer and spirituality!
Monday, 11 October 2010
As someone rightly said, had the superiors sent me to Karunapuram as coordinator of the Brothers, I would be thrown out of the place within a month and that too because of orders straight from Rome!! According to me, the whole idea of 'creating an identity' for Brothers in contrast to that of the clerics, is a 'Roman' idea, which is really very detrimental to the whole Salesian congregation ... now that's my personal opinion and conviction. Doing things separately, living separately and acting separately (as though always on the look out never to let anything match with that of the clerics) in no way gives anyone any identity. It is formed in the concrete living out of the vocation in a context... aided by convictions and principles.
Sunday, 10 October 2010
It's been almost a week since I've been handling both Kondadaba's chair as Dean and that of Navajeevan in Vizag. I realise it is getting harder and harder by the day. Things here at Navajeevan do not seem as simple as they appear. I am yet to know the names of the boys here at home!! Caught up with the administration and the other 'idiotic' things, the real purpose of the whole work - the boys - are perhaps the last one's to be reached to. Anyway, I really do not know how best to do justice to this task... and of course, the other at Kondadaba too! I really feel like I'm trying to paddle two boats at the same time.