Sunday, 26 February 2012

Poorest preacher

Fr Thathy celebrated Mass this morning for the Community and began his sermon with a witty incident:
A small boy approached the Parish Priest after Mass and assured him that he would sponsor something for his maintenance after he starts earning money. The Parish Priest was very touched and thanked him. He also asked him how did he get inspired to financially help him. The boy replied, "My father tells that you're the poorest preacher he's ever heard."

Saturday, 25 February 2012

A frank sharing

Just a while ago, those who did their dissertation with me came to thank me for the guidance and support. I took the opportunity to share with them my pain at going against my conscience in the approach that I adopted in guiding them. In the beginning of the year, I had promised them that to the level they were committed to this thesis work, to that extent I would be with them. But I needed them to make that commitment. Of the 8, only two choose to do it the tough way, the others wanted to do it on their terms.

Surprisingly, of the 8, all except one were among the best in the class (given their intellectual ability). So to hear from them that they wanted to do it on their own without much interference from me was a bit saddening. But I let them be, as per their preference. I knew too well that committing themselves to the tough work meant really going through the grind for I'd not spare them at any cost. They preferred to hide behind the myth that they circulated among the whole course, that the new mode of doing the dissertation was tough and not really helpful. I told this in the most friendly manner and at the end of my sharing, each of them apologised for taking it light. They acknowledged that they never put their best, either for fear of my demands or as an act of sheer laziness.

I also told them that I consciously choose never to say a word of appreciation to any of them, for the simple fact that they did not deserve it. And flattery is something I do not indulge in. They agreed to it and were only grateful that I took time to correct their papers in spite of their half-hearted involvement.

I plan to meet the second years and have an open discussion about this soon. They need to wake up before it is too late. In the meantime I hope the third years, at least those whom I addressed this evening, will air constructive views.

Gandhiji martyred... again!

This whole day was a long run of the comprehensive oral defense exam of the Brothers. More than the students it was a struggle for the Professors to sit through it all. However, as ever, there was something to cheer too:
To the one who did his paper on the Gandhian notion of non-violence, I asked the full name of Gandhiji? Mohanlal Karamchand Gandhi, came the reply!

To another, in whose paper I found a quote and the author of that quote too - Moraji Bhai. I asked the Brother who this was and without a moment of hesitation he replied, "Gandhiji's wife."

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Martin Luther King and nuclear technology?

This evening the third years began their oral defence of the thesis they have been toiling with the whole year (or the last two months, to be precise). Following their style, I too began correcting their papers just two days ago, with an equally indifferent attitude and lethargy. However, this evening, I could not stop laughing when I read the following passage from one of the papers. The main topic dealt with was the idea of Satyagraha and Gandhiji.
Gandhi was ever ready to fight in order to bring peace in the society. He never gave up the struggle and boldly invited his companions either to do or to die.
That was quite something but, I was totally unprepared for what followed a pages later... nothing can beat this:
After Gandhi, a film on Gandhi by Richard Attenborough has come out an opportune movement with the message of Satyagraha. The American Negro leader Dr. Martin Luther king had seen this movie. Then he used Gandhi's power of non-violence in the nuclear technology. More and more people are looking for this change. Today people do recognise that violent is ultimately meaningless in the nuclear age, because international terrorism and guerrilla action have increased in recent years.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Perseverance and excellence

One of the virtues that every person keen on doing something worthwhile with his or her life ought to acquire is perseverance. Good intentions are needed at the starting point and they surely trigger great initiatives. However, to keep on and see to the end of what we aspire, especially in times of difficulty and doubt, is a challenge.

This is one area of growth my Brothers here shirk. The following quote aptly describes something very much associated with it - excellence.
Persistence is the twin sister of excellence. One is a matter of quality; the other, a matter of time.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Quote on hypocrisy and politics

A hypocrite is the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump and make a speech for conservation.

The devil delivered from the boy!

Here's the opening statement of one of the Metaphysical reflections based on the Gospel that I asked my second year students to write daily (just six sentences in all, not more). The Gospel is that of Jesus casting the demon out of the boy.
Here we see Jesus delivers the devil from the boy. Whereas his apostles tried but not happened in delivering the devil out, ...
(emphasis added) Imagine the delight of the devil at being delivered from the boy! Wow!

Mass prayers

The new edition of the prayers during the Holy Mass have some modifications, mostly on the part of the Priest, than of the faithful. However there are two responses that have not gone well with me. One is the answer to the Priests statement, 'The Lord is with you'. The new response is 'And with your spirit'. The earlier one, I feel, was much more holistic: 'And also with you'.

The other is the final prayer before Holy Communion. It is the Centurion's words when Jesus volunteers to come to his house to heal his servant. The prayer ends thus, "... and my spirit shall be healed." The earlier version: "... and I shall be healed."

The basic reason for my preference for the former version in these aspects is that the newer version smacks of Platonic/Augustinian dualism: body-spirit dichotomy. Rather than look at the whole person, the focus is primarily on the spirit/soul. One may say that the word is inclusive... then why not use an inclusive word, rather than camouflage it?

Monday, 20 February 2012

To believe...

Here's a very touching prayer song on ... To Believe.

Before I lay me down to rest
I ask the Lord one small request
I know I have all I could need
But this prayer is not for me
Too many people on this day
Don't have a peaceful place to stay
Let all fighting cease that your children may see peace
Wipe their tears of sorrow away

(Chorus)
To believe in a day
When hunger and war will pass away
To have the hope amidst despair
That every sparrow's counted
That you hear each cry and listen to each prayer

Quotes

Here are a couple of quotes which have kept me pondering and reflecting upon myself. The last one is something I think I need to seriously give a thought to...
Never sacrifice who you are just because someone has a problem with it.

In twenty years you will be more disappointed with what you didn't do than by what you did (Mark Twain).

Go atleast once a year to a place you've never been before.

Preparation and perseverance

For the goodnight today I began with the example of the preparation needed for making dosa or aapam in contrast to the little preparation needed for making upma. The former needs a longer preparation while the latter takes very little time to be cooked and served. Applying this to life, I told the Brothers that most things in life need long term preparation. For only then the results would 'taste' and 'be' the way they are supposed to be. Only such as these will have a lasting effect for we have been 'involved' in their 'making'. I also added that study and growth in spirituality (the former is very much a part of the latter, as far as I am concerned) is something that needs such long term preparation. No one just gets up one fine morning and is a bright scholar or a saint. These require daily and sustained effort. Only then will the resulting fruit be worthy and precious. Or else it would be like a dosa prepared with rice flour mixed just a while ago... it would be anything but a dosa.

At the temple

While I was at the temple the other day, watching the various ceremonies (waiting for the sanctuary to be opened after lunch), I was wondering what would be the reaction of several of my friends, if they were to be with me watching what I was observing. For some it would have been a great source of entertainment. Quite a few would have made some fun of it. There would be a sizeable number who'd watch the whole procedure for it certainly is a rare occasion. I also was observing Sai Ram, a Brahmin himself. He was all reverence and respect for everything. I guess, if Sai Ram were to get his friends to the Church one day, he would also find some similar reactions like those I had in mind.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Praise and worship...

Yesterday morning the readings were quite interesting and so was Fr Tom's homily. He focussed on the use - or abuse - of the tongue. Citing the Psalms and Proverbs, he spoke of the three vices accumulated due to the improper use of the tongue: lies, flattery and boasting. He was quite frank in sharing his experiences here at the seminary, where Brothers would boost him up, or flatter him for some petty permission or favour. He stated that all these three vices lead one to sin, the sin of selfishness.

Later during the breakfast Fr K.T. was laughing away saying, "Praise and worship" and I really didn't catch him till I understood the context in which he was using the phrase. He was using that phrase as a euphemism for the readings and the content of the homily of the day. Brothers are really good at this 'buttering'. However, they don't try it or even dare try it with some whom they perceive as 'hot' - their 'butter' melts, not the person!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Kids in the temple

An interesting observation Satyam (our driver) made while we were waiting for some of our group members to arrive and watching the inflow and outflow of people from the temple was the following.
Someone vows and someone else is tonsured! This was in the context of the numerous people who shaved their heads in the temple vicinity. More specifically, Satyam said this in the light of small children being completely tonsured. Certainly they have the least bit of knowledge as to for what they are loosing their hair lock. All that they know is that they went to the temple.
I tried my best to capture the scene but was unable to since we were caught up with the line and I could not go back. The scene here in the photo is that of a couple of families performing the pooja. Right at the end of the line, beside the parents who were busy and engrossed with the ritual, were two children who were the least interested in what was going on beside them. They were busy with their comics book!

Talupulamma Talli Temple

The other temple that we visited today was the Talupulamma Talli temple near Tuni. The temple is popularly associated with the blessings of newly purchased vehicles. On asking one of the Priests there we were told that Talupalamma was a local goddess who shot to limelight when people began to believe that she appeared in the present location where the temple is built and blessed all those who sought her protection for a safe journey.

No wonder all over the place, on every stone, tree, wall, door or pole one finds the registration numbers of the vehicles painted. They are all over the place.

The Priest also added that initially there was no water available on the hill and the
neighbourhood. Once the goddess appreared there emerged a spring which is since then perennial. The amount of water remains the same in any given season or time of the year. Furthermore, couples longing for a child too are a regular visitors category to this temple.

The temple itself has a good look from far and is picturesque - set against the backdrop of the hills and built at a height and in between two mountains. Another thing that I noticed and felt good about was the availability of waste bins in very many places. Even if people did not use them as they should, at least the temple authorities did make the provision for proper waste disposal. Huge trees too have been preserved and used as places under which the pilgrims can sit and prepare their meals.

At Annavaram

Today was quite a day... I escorted our staff (seven of them) for a picnic to Annavaram. For half of them it was a pilgrimage and for the rest it was a picnic. However, what's important is that they felt happy and nice about the day out. I did what I could, constantly reminding myself that what I think is 'picnic-stuff' is not on their menu of 'picnic-ingredients'. So I let them decide the place, mode, strategy and all things possible. I merely accompanied and financed the trip. At the end of the day, I gather that they were happy about the day out.

A few interesting things that I could not but notice of the place. (Of course, know that I belonged to the latter half of the group). There was more than just the sanctum sanctorum to view. Luckily there wasn't much of a crowd. And added to that the best part of the queue was that it stopped progressing half way through right where we were: it was lunch time. And so we waited for half an hour. That gave me time to view the pooja (ceremonial rite
) being performed by the Hindu Priests in the temple for couples. Sai Ram, tells me that nearly a 1000 Priests earn their livelihood in the temple campus.

The other amusing thing was that there was a longer queue to purchase the prasadam than to visit the inner sanctuary. Later having tasted the prasadam I realised the secret. Perhaps it will take a little longer for people to 'taste' the divine. thing was that there was a bigger queue to purchase the prasadam, than to pay homage to the God, Satyanarayana! Later having tasted the prasadam, I

That Satyanarayana is a god formed out of the merger of the Trimurti - the top is Vishnu, the middle part Shiva and the lower part of the body is that of Brahma. That's the first time I heard that.

(That's our staff: Appa Rao, Sai Ram, Satyam, Annapurnamma, Edulamma, Kasi and Paidamma)

Friday, 17 February 2012

The Kondadaba sky

A photo of our Community chapel and in the backdrop is the clear blue sky cut with a line of smoke emitted by a sonic plane which has been doing some rounds of the area of late. I wonder which is the nearest airbase for such areal maneuvours.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

The countdown begins...

The countdown for the conclusion of the academic year commenced in one form yesterday when we began to dedicate a day for each of the third and final year students. Officially we close for the year on March 21, 2012. However, two batches (first and second years) will continue to stay and complete their exams and get back to their dioceses - or homes - for their summer vacations on April 12, 2012.

The idea of remembering and specially praying for the individual has some good thing about it. Furthermore, as a reminder and an added means of information, a photo and some biographical details of the concerned Brother are displayed on the notice board specially dedicated for this end. The second and first years have decided to get the necessary information and do the needful for this.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Of dogs and ...

The latest issue of the National Geographic magazine has the main article dedicated to dogs. It was interesting reading (as always) with the addition of the photos of the variety of dogs. However, what I really found very sensible and apt was that the last page of the article was dedicated to the 'common street dog' found in practically all developing countries, in abundance. The article aptly labels it 'no breed dog'. It made sense because this is the most widely known creature associated with the word 'dog'. The rest are mostly special cases! Last evening and this morning I 'escorted' our German Shepherd, Ginger to a house in Kothavalasa for crossing with their dog and everytime someone saw the dog in the jeep, they were all 'wow'. Children who frequent the Seminary and know Ginger, upon seeing it in the vehicle, would immediately jump with joy and shout, "Ginger." And all along the way there are hundreds of 'ordinary' dogs and nobody ever looks at them.

Yet that species is one of faithfulness and loyalty.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

5 crores in five days?

At Pendurthi (a place nearly 8 kms from here) the whole main road and the highway junction is beautifully lit up with intricately prepared light arrangements. I'm told that it is the wedding celebrations of the son of a political leader. I was also told that he is spending 5 crores for a five day celebration of the marriage. What a colossal waste of money! Certainly only politician can do such a crazy stunt.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Most forgettable experience

This afternoon during and after lunch Fr K.T. just couldn't stop laughing. The reason? While in class with the third years, he asked about their experience of their course picnic which they went for last week. One of them very joyfully and proudly expressed,
It was one of the most FORGETTABLE experience of my life!
This surely is not going to be forgotten by Fr K.T. for long!

The sick cot?

While on my way to Vizag this afternoon, just outside Rajapatrunipalem I saw nearly three wooden cots (the typical Indian charpoy, as shown in the picture) thrown near the dumping area. When I enquired with Satyam why those sturdy and rather good cots are lying in the dumping heap, he replied that they would have been thrown there by some family whose member is either dead or ailing since long. The belief is that the cot has much to do with his illness, therefore, simple logic: get rid of the cot itself! Poor cot!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Which art in heaven...?

During our recent trip to Ongole, I came across this wall poster in the dining hall of the Salesian Sisters. The first line of the 'Our Father' was odd: '...which art in heaven...'? When did the 'Lord' become a thing to be addressed as 'which'? I was told that it is the King James version of the 'Our Father'. I checked it out here and found it to be true. Well strange!

Youth Ministry

Last night I was in one of the neighbouring villages watching a couple of our Brothers animate the children of the place for a cultural programme. It was confusion abounding! The Brothers had no clue what was to happen and how and why. Sharing my experience with Fr K.T. this morning, I realise that the Brothers only admire (and hardly appreciate) our organisational skills. They barely make any strenuous effort at emulating it. The long hours they spend with Fr K.T. in planning and preparing are totally forgotten when it comes to their programme in a village. They are very happy with some noise and claps ... so are people ... but so much more can be done if only they would organise themselves before they organise a programme.

However, I did witness a couple of good things too. There clearly was a silent tug of war amidst the village elders who, on one hand, could not but appreciate the Brothers for their valuable presence and assistance and on the other hand, discredit them (in the light of their strong Hindu background). While a couple of the elders openly thanked and praised the Seminary and the Brothers for their role in value formation and education of their children, others were fuming and fretting and making all possible efforts to get those praising the Seminary, off the stage. Furthermore, youngsters, especially those working, and on the first encounter appear very rough and indifferent, very well (and gratefully) remember the names of the Brothers who frequented their village for ministry when they were younger.

Effecting changes

The readings of the day have leprosy as one of its common elements. I focus here on the Gospel dimension of it. Jesus, having cured the leper, sends him off with the clear instructions of presenting himself before the high priest and making an offering for his cure... thus proving his cure and redeeming himself from being accursed. It may seem odd that Jesus is endorsing what was written in the Mosaic law. Most of the time we see Jesus, either breaking it or re-interpreting it. Now here he is seen endorsing it as it is. Reflecting on this I find, that Jesus' acts of re-interpretation or rejection or even endorsing were based purely on the good of all involved. He wanted all concerned to grow holistically. His passion and action for change was based on this principle, not just a personal whim or a discomfort for tradition.

That's a good lesson for people like me who have the authority or rather, are priviledged with authority, to bring about changes. What is my criterion when I introduce changes, big or small in my community life? Am I driven by zeal for common good and welfare or is it personalistic?

Saturday, 11 February 2012

A Priest forever?

We had our Salesian recollection this morning... after long (and as per Fr K.T. 'after 7 years')! Anyway, during the Gospel sharing Fr T.V. Thomas mentioned something nice. He stated that the phrase, "A Priest forever" is better when stated thus: A Priest for everyday or each moment. Now that's something very meaningful and apt for the present context. I'd love my Seminarians to get this idea into their head, that Priesthood is more about living it than possessing it like a degree or certificate (attained, God knows how!).

Friday, 10 February 2012

Provincial Community Day

Yesterday was the Provincial Community day at Ongole and Fr Wilson and I represented the community for the same. It was a nice break and we enjoyed the trip and the stay there. There was the prayer and sharing in the morning, a good lunch, then the fun trip to the beach and later in the evening there was the Holy Mass. We did not stay for the Mass as we had booked our return journey by the only available train that would get us back to Vizag in time for the classes of today.
Very many confreres, beginning with Thathi were surprised to see me there. They were sure that I would never attend such gatherings! Anyway, it went on well. Got to meet confreres and have some fun too. The journey that way too was very adventurous.

Besides the many things that caught my attention, the most glaring one was the way some of our confreres had 'bloated' - literally. There was hardly anyone who had grown lean. On the contrary very many had put on several kilos, especially their bellies!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

I will sing...

Here's my latest addition to the youtube collection of video songs. It is song of praise by Don Moen, goes by the title "I will sing..."

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Knowing and Doing God's will

When Solomon was asked to name that what he wanted from Yahweh, he asked for wisdom. I was asking myself, what would I ask the Lord, if He were to appear and grant me this added grace. It did not take me long to answer that: A discerning heart and mind to know the will of God for me and the courage to live it.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Mad angles

This whole ad that was created about Bingo a chips fast food was quite attractive. It did sell. I never ever bought one packet of it (or any of its kind). However, when at home for the new year, there were some packets. My Brother and his two-year old seem to love them. It was only then that I discovered that this whole 'mad angle' chip was nothing but a 'no angle' chip! There was absolutely no design. Just pieces. It is as good as any left over broken pieces that get dumped or rejected when preparing and packing food stuff.

I guess that's the power of advertising and media. Make nothing into something so sensational!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

With the most noisy...

Here's a photo I got clicked with the last group of the youngsters who left the Seminary this evening. Incidentaly this also the first group that woke up this morning ... at 2.30 am!! We ran into each other a couple of times during the day and they became very friendly by the end of the day.
They had several questions to ask, about Priesthood, formation, Bishopric, education, my vocation and I'm also glad that they spoke highly of several of their Parish Priests. What struck me most of these youngsters was that though they appeared crude and uncouth, they were very smart and sharp in observing things around. The observations they made about a couple of things in the seminary and the Church at large made me realise how sharp their minds were. The best was the speed and accuracy with which they caught my subtle hints about community life and my vocation.

One shot devotion

Many who come to such pilgrimage centres as Kondadaba, often doing lot of sacrifices or undergoing lots of inconveniences do so for a particular reason. Some walk to the Shrine, a distance of about 35 to 70 kms. Others make their way up the hill on their knees (even one of our Brothers did it last night - had I know it I'd have made him do it again!). Some travel long distances and endure the extreme cold that we're having these days. Their faith that Mother Mary does much for and on their behalf is really unshakeable.

However, for most of these simple believers this once a year 'sacrifice' or 'trip' to the Shrine, so to say, scrubs clean all their sins and mistakes. The rest of the year they are free to live any way contrary to this singular act of 'devotion' and 'repentance'.

Of course, it all boils down to simple, daily faith (bit-by-bit belief) vs a sustained integrity (communion of life/living and spirituality).

Mass and rice

Towards the end of the day I happened to interact with almost a dozen youngsters individually on various topics. Some of these youngsters were new found 'friends' of last night, while others were some encounters old. Of the latter, a Catholic young man, strongly under the influence of Protestantism, had several things to clarify, especially with regard to the devotion to Our Lady and the use/veneration of statues in our rites and rituals. I would say, I surprised myself the way I responded to his sincere queries for clarification with strong analogies. While replying to his point that there are too many Marian prayers in contrast to very little of direct address to God and Jesus, I explained the centrality of the Holy Mass with an analogy: Of all the prayers the Holy Mass is the best... just like the food that we eat. There may be five varieties of pickle, 2 varieties of curry, 4 varieties of the same vegetable, yet there is only one type of rice. Now no one (at least in Andhra) eats all the above without rice. The rice forms the main part of the meal. The rest only adds to that. It is rice that makes the other food articles relevant and meaningful. Bereft of rice, no one eats the other items alone; it is not called a meal at all!

Selimary?

One of the many things that we, at the Seminary and around in Kondadaba do during the Feast of the Parish is to explain to people who have absolutely no idea about religious life and community life, the whole concept of Priesthood and Priestly formation. So you are bombarded with questions like, 'How many years to you study?' 'What do you study?', 'Oh! you do not get married?', 'What is your source of income?', 'How can you live like this?'...

Yesterday evening to lady constables who were on their beat in the Seminary happened to meet our cooks and were 'interrogating' them. One of their questions was, "What is the meaning of Selimary?" A couple of Brothers too were around at this time and were unable to get the word of which they were asking the meaning. They asked them to repeat the question and it again ended with 'Selimary'. However, our illiterate cooks got them right in the first instance itself. They meant 'Seminary'.

Midnight Youth Ministry

The past two days have been so to say, swift and hectic, as if they were just one day. It was the solemn Parish Feast (dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows). The Brothers were all assigned to different responsibilities and duties chiefly to assist the Parish Priest and the Parish Council members in the organisation of the feast. So far so good, but the number of pilgrims that descend on this sleepy village for the feast makes all the difference. The total crosses 2 to 3 lakhs of people. It is a sea of people, everywhere.

Having assigned and instructed the Brothers of their responsibility I was closely and personally following up the Seminary security. Given the fact that three-fourths of those who visit the Shrine also make a trip of the Seminary and the accommodation that we provide for as many as possible for the night, I wanted to oversee it myself. Most of the pilgrims walk about 35 - 70 kms to reach the Shrine. So naturally when they reach the Seminary for the night, they are hardly able to take the last few steps that will see them flat in the hall (for the ladies) and the verandahs (for the gents). What makes this feast a real adventure (and a pain too) is the presence of unruly youngsters and hooligans inside the campus for the night. Last night was no exception to this adventure night.

We evicted nearly two dozen youngsters from the campus who were fully drunk and had no clue as to what they were saying or doing. That kept them (and us, with them) awake the whole night. But that's not what I wish to dwell here. The best part is that these very unruly, uncouth and foul-mouthed youngsters turn into meek lambs and innocent 'boys' in the morning. As one of the most notorious one put it this morning: "The puli (Telugu word for tiger) within spoke and did all that Brother... we're sorry!" I purposely made it a point to meet all these youngsters, know their names and have a word with them in the morning. And not one of them (nearly two dozen of them), was the same as last night. They were entirely, totally and spectacularly different. And the most interesting fact, they left the campus today happy to have made friends with 'Brothers'! (More on this wonderful experience in the coming posts)

Friday, 3 February 2012

Knowledge and Intention

During the Epistemology class, while speaking about the characteristics of knowledge/knowing, I was elaborating the point of how knowledge is intentional. Having explained it to the best of my ability, I then tried to explain the aspect of subject-object movement. That in the process of knowing (cognition) the subject moves towards the object. The reverse hardly happens. Having proved my point, I enquired if the object could move towards the subject and would knowledge then be possible? To this one of the first year students added: could the object to subject movement mean revelation? I was really surprised at this intervention. And I did acknowledge that it could be very well called revelation!

However in the course of the discussion, we arrived at the conclusion that even if it is a divine revelation, knowledge of it is possible only when the subject is open or receptive (speaking philosophically, moving towards the object). I concluded with this statement: God reveals Himself to us all round the clock, in every place. Yet it is we who fail to 'see' Him. So for knowledge to be a reality, the subject has to be open and willing. If this requirement is not met, any amount of every other ingredient will amount to nothing.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Humility of Mother Mary

During the homily this morning (with the Presentation of the Lord, as the Gospel theme), one aspect that caught my attention was the point about the humility of Mother Mary. She, along with Joseph, and the new born child Jesus goes to the temple to make the customary offering. She could have very well have stayed put in her home claiming that the Mother of God need not run to the synagogue anymore. Even if she did go, she could have demanded special treatment... all the more since Simeon and Anna did recognise and acknowledge the child to be the Messiah. Yet, we read of no such demands or airs thrown up by Mother Mary. All that is found is that 'she treasured it all in her heart'.

Epistemological revelations

I sat for correction of the Metaphysics, Epistemology and Modern Western Philosophy class test papers today and as usual there were the 'amusers'. However, this time round there were less in number. The best of them all was the following from the Epistemology paper concerning knowing:
Hypothalamus is a part of a right-angled triangle.
A couple of others who had no clue as to what that word was wrote, what I last took in class:
Hypothalamus is a part of hermeneutics.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

The real Don Bosco

For the feast of Don Bosco, Fr K.T. got a life-size photo of Don Bosco printed and framed. It was placed strategically opposite the main entrance of the Church. It was the famous, all time used photo Don Bosco.
However, at table we were discussing how his photo has been altered to create a sort of personality figure out of him. I added that this 'cosmetic changes' made on his original photo seem a bit unnecessary. My logical and rationale has always been this: for a person surrounded by boys all round the clock, and that too most of them noisy, unruly and with everyone one of them vying with one another to get close to Don Bosco and be with him, I can hardly imagine how on earth would Don Bosco be so 'plaster faced'!
I'm glad the original photos of him clearly show him as with curly hair, rather uncombed and best of all with a rugged face. Not that angelic, fair, and sweet figure. I know that like everyone else, we'd like to put the 'best face up' but it is good also to be aware that what is best is what is inside!

Don Bosco and his trust

On the 31st of January, the feast day of Don Bosco, I took up the animation of the morning prayers for the community. It was one way of calming my guilty conscience that I'd done practically nothing special for Don Bosco this month. I chose to dwell on the theme of trust of Don Bosco. He basically trusted that God was on his side and that He'd see him through in any and every sort of difficulty. He took up initiatives which were humanly speaking absolutely insane. Yet he boldly ventured when he knew that it would do much good and that it was in the name of God.

Secondly this trust in God made him generous. He was generous because God was generous with him. Finally that this trust led him to be serene and joyful. There would have been a ton of problems and worries, but they did not deter or weigh him down.
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