Thursday, 28 August 2014

The best I can offer...?

I'd observed this particular phenomena in Kondadaba, not only among the Brothers but in some of the collaborators in the Seminary.  I notice the same or similar tendency among some of the Brothers here too.  What I am referrring to is something about hospitality. It can be regarded as positive but it certainly is not a virtue.  To be specific it is this:  Brothers think that when we, as a community, conduct an animation programme, inviting hundreds of children or youth, we should serve them lavish food  (read it as non-veg and with the vegetarian option as well)!  Perhaps it has something to do with the wrong impression that they have, namely that we have plenty of money and therefore we 'should' spend it for 'such noble' deeds.

However, for me I am beginning to see another angle to this whole thing. Brothers, when they visit families or are invited for a meal to a house, the latter certainly offer them Chicken curry.  All that Brothers want to do is reciprocate this kind gesture. But here's the catch, which I doubt if any of the Brothers even attempt to get.  Whenever a family prepares and offers a meal to a group or couple of Priests and religious, it has to make a sacrifice sometime before or after.  In order to serve, 'good' meals they have to forgo meat for their own family at least once, if not more.  I was informed by the Administrator, that if we were to serve Chicken for the upcoming Youth fest, it alone would cost us Rs 8'000/- Instead if that is taken off the menu and a decent vegetarian meal is offered (even if an egg is added to that menu), we can serve the whole group a sumptuous meal and still have some amount left in hand.

I wonder if Brothers would be willing to sacrifice their share of meat for as long as it takes to make up for the one-time meat served for the 300 youth attending this fest? If there is even a slightest bit of hesitation in accepting to do this then my former theory is right.

Finally, I am hatefully allergic to this notion that the best we can offer to our youth is a good meal!! We gladly and unabashedly accept that we have nothing better to offer than what comes from our kitchen!  What about my own reflections, my experiences, my own inspirational or challenging lifestyle, ... my own meaningful self?  

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