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.
Thursday, 7 October 2010
Due to unprecedented delay in receiving data from certain Arch/Diocesan offices, we regret to inform you that the publication of The Catholic Directory of India 2010 is slated to be released in December, 2010. You shall receive your copy/ies as soon as it is ready .
Since it is a hilarious task, we seek your continued support and kind patience.
But after the house assembly yesterday and the discussion I had with them today, I realise that very many of them are willing and keen to strive for better things and are in fact really good in all aspects. It is only the few disinterested who pull down the whole spirit and dampen all efforts at excellence. So when those who are good within but lack the courage to stand for something, hear some encouraging words and reasons for change, they are willing to join in. That is a great consolation for those of us in formation.
Wednesday, 6 October 2010
A few good points of the proceedings of this evening:
- The Staff put up a united front.
- There was no meek receptivity of everything said and done - both of the part of the students and on the part of the staff, especially with regard to matters expressed.
- Some sincere guys feel good that what they 'feel' is explicitly stated by someone at least.
- I got a chance to explicitate some of my deepest concerns regarding putting forward the best.
Anyway, felt glad that I could make an impression on a child, that too a lost one for something good. Hope to be able to trace back his home in Maharashtra. Furthermore, used my broken and miserable Marathi to ask a few questions but when he answered them, I was at a loss!!
God help me!!
And the best definition of prayer (as said by Fr Stan): Not telling lies to God!
Sunday, 3 October 2010
Anyway, I am sure God has something in store for me to learn. Let's see what best I can do.
Anyway, I thanked God for it was not a desperate case that needed to reach the hospital immediately. We could afford to get delayed. But if it were someone who needed immediate hospital care, the ambulance would very well have been his coffin as well!!
And the other thing - almost a miracle - the ambulance driver and attender strongly refused to take a single pie, in spite of driving us all the way to Vizag, to a hospital which we wanted to go - and not to the nearest Government hospital.
Gives me ideas... perhaps the next time there is a programme of this sort, it would be good to invite someone from outside. Those keen on some foolery and mockery - even of oneself - can have their way during recreation or family circles.
Furthermore, the organising group, Speed n' speed too did a simple but decent job. I was quite surprised to see that they pulled off this event without much confusion and tension.
Friday, 1 October 2010
Anyway, may his operation go on well and he be well on the road to recovery.
I was happy to be with them this whole morning in the playground. I realise spending time with them, talking to them, about things dear to them and getting to know their 'inner circle' of discussions and thoughts bridges the gap between the formators and formees much. I know all this is said by Don Bosco and the Preventive System. It is only that when one experiences it first-hand, does it become so vivid and real. However, I find it increasingly difficult to be all over the place for long. My knee is troubling me much but the desire to be close to them too is too tempting to resist.
True indeed! In today's world where everything seems corrupted, from the milk sold in the market to the nuclear warheads being engineered, the one thing that really matters most is integrity. In the past few days too, there have been several incidents in the Seminary here where some of the students have questioned several aspects of the community life. However, most of them hesitate when it comes to this aspect of integrity. It has also offered me rich opportunities to show the chinks in their arguments. Brothers come to me to settle their disputes. I resist and desist. The reason (which I make clear to them): when I get involved in giving a solution, that becomes 'my solution'. But on their own when they have to sort out matters, it becomes 'one's own' discussion.