Thursday, 28 April 2011
Wednesday, 27 April 2011
The truck driver who took a diversion because the road was being repaired and came to a bridge too low for his rig and got stuck. An onlooker came over and asked: "Are you stuck?" The frustrated driver replied: "No, I'm trying to deliver this bridge, but I can't find the address."
Truly a silly question begets a silly answer! Hence the need for asking not just any questions but the right questions!
The anecdote is as follows:
A famous entertainer was once asked to recite the 23rd Psalm in a performance. A large audience filled the large auditorium. After he finished everyone gave him a generous round of applause. After this an old man was asked to present the same Psalm. When he finished there wasn't a dry eye in the place. Everyone was touched by his devotion to the Shepherd. The entertainer came back to continue the program. Before starting the program he said, I know the Psalm, but he knows the Shepherd!
I wish all the Priests, Preachers and especially my Seminarians realise this: that every word counts when uttered from the heart. If something has not touched us, how on earth will it change or affect those who listen to us preaching about it?
Tuesday, 26 April 2011
I've always tried to follow this advice given to me before I began my practical training - I forget who is the one who offered me this invaluable piece of advice - never to call a boy by any other name than his own. No calling him names or using nicknames and all... just plain direct name. Several of the Brothers have always thanked me for this. Even when their own companions or some staff members have always used funny names to refer or call him out, I always used their proper name. It does make a difference.
Thursday, 21 April 2011
I was, however, not very comfortable with this attitude and remarks. For me what matters most, given the context of the people amidst whom I live here, is that they have faith and are assisted to grow spiritually. 'We', Catholics forget that people leave the 'Church' for these 'other Churches' because they seek fulfillment in the latter. We forget that they leave us for better things! I do not say that their motivations (on either side) are always clear and pure. However, before pointing fingers at others we need to get our act together and clear our own house!
I pray that more and more of us rediscover this original indepth meaning of this Sacrament. Over the years, man-made frills like power, authority, administration, superiority and the like have superseded the basic meaning and content of Consecrated/Priestly life. Moreover, it is interesting to note that the institution of this Sacrament has nothing to do with the Temple... so my nagging feeling during the Mass today, Can Priesthood survive without the Church (structure, formal building...)?
The Centre's insistence on innovative means of communication in ongoing formation makes a lot of sense given the context that confreres feel that TV and internet are all that is there of communication. How about seeing to the content of that what we consume? When does one begin to generate content rather than be mere passive recipient of messages? Our formation should help us with this aspect of being able to articulate the message. Not just preach, preach, and preach.
Wednesday, 20 April 2011
Sunday, 17 April 2011
For me the procession today was almost like the Way of the Cross. I found myself asking if I've ever felt Jesus as my Messiah? Did I ever accept Jesus to be my Saviour? Worse still, I realise I've never felt the need for a Saviour at all! I live content with who and what I am, without Jesus! Is it that my 'righteous' living automatically places Jesus at the centre of my life? I have my doubts.
Anyway Lord, help me!
The preacher reminded the new Priests about this: All those consecrated are merely donkeys carrying Jesus. Owe to us if we take the whole merit for ourselves only, forgetting that our strength and power is from the one whom we bear!
Saturday, 16 April 2011
"We are a democratic country. If Gandhian literature is found on some one, it doesn't make him a Gandhian. He may be a Naxal sympathiser but that doesn't make him guilty of sedition," said the court. The court also observed that possession of Naxal literature is not a proof of sedition.
"He is a sympathiser. Nothing beyond that," the bench further said.
"The worst can be said that he was found in possession of general documents (relating to Naxal activities) but how can it be said that such possession would attract the charge of sedition. How can you lay the charge of sedition?" the bench asked.It is surprising though, that a man with practically no proven record of any direct violence is put to shame and dragged to court, while those against whom there is enough and more evidence to be hanged this very instance are roaming around the country (and abroad) with garlands and red-carpet welcomes! This is a real shame on our justice system and hints at our collective mentality.
Sunday, 10 April 2011
So then, back to my dilemma: Is faith and religion the same?
Everytime we throw out Philosophy as a 'secular' undertaking or 'unholy', we go against the very grain of our 'Catholic' belief. Religion has done great good to humanity, but not always! Fundamentalism, an offshoot of religion, is perhaps the greatest terrorist in modern times. Why is it that we always end up having to choose between religion and philosophy (or for that matter anything). Why is it that we cannot see both as God's - or even human - creation for the betterment of humanity? Why then do we have to 'pick-and-choose'? Can we not gracefully blend these two?
I have my suspicion about the recent euphoria about the movie Cristiada. I do not say that it is bad (I haven't seen it at all), but when 'faith' is sacrificed at the round table of politics and religion, for upholding the latter, I have serious objections to it. One needs to see the movie Agora to only understand what havoc blind faith, puritanic belief and crazy religion can do!
All this makes me wonder if faith and religion are inseparable? For if not, then ...
May Christ show us the way!
Friday, 8 April 2011
- Instead of "Lord Jesus, crucified..." at the end of each station of the cross, a couple of them concluded: "Lord Jesus, has crucified..."
- 'Lamb of God' was read out as 'Lump of God'!
While at Eranjalakuda the boys were expected to speak only in English, that too in complete sentences, a boy desperate to go for his needs approached Fr KT (then Br KT) and stood wriggling before him, hoping the Brother would understand and give him permission to go. Br KT did not even take notice. Then his hissed, "Brother." Someone helped him, "Say 'Excuse me Brother'" The boy addressed Br KT and said, "Excuse me Brother, ... toilet!" No response from Brother. "Excuse me, Brother. Please, go to toilet!" Br KT replied, "I'm fine. I do not want to go to toilet." Understanding that he needed to state HIS need, the boy tried again. "Excuse me Brother. Please, go to toilet... for me!"
Wednesday, 6 April 2011
I was only trying to define corruption. The Oxford dictionary states thus:
the process by which a word or expression is changed from its original state to one regarded as erroneous or debasedIt was only then it struck me that there is something more that is linked to justice than love. If justice is denied it is injustice. But what if justice has not been denied but the facts leading to the principles on which justice is claimed are manipulated. Hence according to me corruption is nothing but creating a wedge between truth and justice.
Monday, 4 April 2011
I'm sure had I taken an attacking stance with them, they'd have never been quite. Worse still, if I had moved on without stopping. But since I accepted my mistake, they did not have anything to attack me with. Anyway, a lesson in humility!
Sunday, 3 April 2011
I'll come straight to the point that is rigning loud in my head: my role as the disciplinarian in the house. In the movie there is the convent where the little girl Evelyn is being brought up. The community of Sisters, each with their own temperament enable the growth of the children under their care. While Sr Bridget was indeed strict the other Sisters were gentle and caring. Was Sr Bridget wrong? I'd say, yes. She was truly cruel, to the extent of meeting out physical punishment.
That brings me to the next level of thought: Was her behaviour not in keeping with the growth and discipline of the child? I'm still not clear. But I guess there is a fairly thin line dividing strict discipline and dictatorship. And I surely need to know that line well!
Saturday, 2 April 2011
The movie is about the boxer James J. Braddock (Jim), the once down and out boxer who re-enters the ring purely for keeping his family alive and together. It is his love for his wife and three kids that sees him go on to become the world champion. What appealed to me was not the gory boxing bouts, shot realistically, but the tender sentiments of a man who promises to his eldest son never to let go of him, even in the worst of situations. The father keeps that promise!
Some of the most touching scenes: the moment Jim takes his son to the butcher shop to return the salami he stole and there outside promises never to let go of him; getting ready for the fight, on an empty stomach, he eats from the bowl straight with his mouth; when he tells his daughter a dream about him eating full and then drops his share of meat into her plate for her (thereby going hungry himself); when Mae enters the Church to pray for Jim and is told that so are all those who are there; the silence when Jim enters the ring for the championship bout...
All said and done why this movie appealed to me so much was not the movie itself (though superb acting by Crowe, Zewellger and Paul Giamatti) but because the movie in every way showed me what Papa was to us in our younger days. The same grit, same passion, the only dream to see us all happy and contented, the same LOVE MY PARENTS had for the family, especially when the going was tough! I still remember the days when money was hard in coming. Yet we, my brother and I, always had good things (not the best) but the way Papa and Mummy slogged for us, that what they gave us was the best of all! They fasted or ate stale food so that we could have the fresh meal. Rain or sun, cough or fever, nothing prevented Papa from going to work (each day counted).
While Mummy managed the home front, Papa was the bread-winner. Together they gave us what no one else could ever give. Not that they fought our battles, nor did they fight it alone; but they took the brunt of it while making us see and learn. If only every child had parents like you, Papa and Mummy, 'heaven on earth' would be a phrase like a, b, c...
Thank you Papa and Mummy... for what you were, are and what you made of us!
Friday, 1 April 2011
Would that 'noble lady' have any better ideas about assisting Japan or Libya in the ongoing turmoil? I guess, there are plenty of people like most of our Brothers here in the Seminary: willing to go to any extent to get the approval and acceptance of the other, especially to be in the limelight but will not move an inch if it costs us or challenges us! Anything silly thing will appeal us but not lasting values and search for meaning for our existence and actions. Anything hysterical and exciting but not something that demands a daily commitment, a perseverance lasting beyond our grave!
With regard to our religious vocation these compromises commence soon after our joining the Seminary or after the first profession. If not adequately addressed and tackled then, they continue growing - and gnawing - within. However another danger that now lurks very large with regard to consecrated life is that young people join the religious house or seminary as a compromise for hard work and challenge! In that sense, God save Himself!