Thursday, 30 January 2014

Small but big!

2 Sm 11: 1-4a. 5-10a. 13-17/ Ps 51: 3-4. 5-6a. 6bcd-7. 10-11/ Mk 4: 26-34

The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed... (Mk 4: 31)

There once stood a strong and mighty oak tree which withstood many a storm. It was confident that there was nothing that would bring it down. But down it fell when a small beetle made hollow the trunk. King David who brought down mighty empires fell in the eyes of Yahweh, when he coveted Uriah's wife and had Uriah murdered. The Kingdom of Heaven is compared to a mustard seed: smallest seed but gives rise to the biggest shrub. In our spiritual life, it is not the big things that matter most, but the petty and tiny things that make the difference.

Sanctity consists in doing ordinary things in an extraordinary way (St Theresa of Lisieux and Don Bosco)

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Do unto others...

2 Sm 7: 18-19. 24-29/ Ps 132: 1-2. 3-5. 11. 12. 13-14/ Mk 4: 21-25

The amount you measure out is the measure you will be given (Mk 4: 24)

A skilled carpenter was asked by his employer to do one last house before he moved on to another company. The former agreed, but his heart and soul was not in his work. He did some shabby work and handed the keys of the new house to his employer. The boss returned the keys to him and said that the new house was his parting gift! What goes around comes around.

Do unto others what you want done unto you. (Mt 7: 12 / Confucius)

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

God and me, partners

2 Sm 7: 4-17/ Ps 89: 4-5. 27-28. 29-30/ Mk 4: 1-20

And those who received the seed in rich soil; they heard the word and accept it and yield a harvest, thirty and sixty and a hundredfold (Mk 4: 20)

A certain farmer, by his hard work, transformed a section of barren and rocky ground into a beautiful garden. Where once wild bushes grew, there was now a variety of flowers, fragrance and fruits. The pastor of the farmer, while visiting his lovely garden remarked, “What a remarkable feat you and the Almighty God have accomplished!” “Yes,” replied the farmer, “but you should have seen it when God was doing it alone!” God does not work alone. He always works in partnership.

I have made a covenant with my chosen one (Ps 89: 28)

Monday, 27 January 2014

Obedience and free will

2 Sm 6: 12b-15. 17-19/ Ps 24: 7. 8. 9. 10/ Mk 3: 31-35

Anyone who does the will of God, that person is my brother and sister and mother (Mk 3: 35)

Jesus, by stating thus, is not in any way insulting His mother, Mary. In fact, if there is anyone who perfectly fits that statement it would be Mother Mary. We see here the silent communication between Jesus and Mary. They understand each other perfectly well in all circumstances, from Jesus getting lost in the temple to the journey up the Calvary hill. That's possible only when both are tuned in to the same frequency, God's will.

I delight to do your will, O God (Ps 40: 8)

Sunday, 26 January 2014

He enables...

2 Sm 5: 1-7. 10/ Ps 89: 20. 21-22. 25-26/ Mk 3: 22-30

You shall be shepherd of my people Israel (2 Sam 5: 2)

When the Lord calls he also enables those whom he calls. John Mary Vianney had almost decided to resign from his Parish and dedicate himself fully to prayer and penance. Then during his evening walk he came to a place where people had not yet heard of God. Their need was truly great. It is then that he realized that the best way to sanctify oneself was to help others become holy. He never resigned from his parish.


The Lord gives his people strength. 

Constables instead of army men?

While addressing the staff of the Seminary this evening, the Bishop of Warangal, Bp Udumala Bala, narrated an experience of his sometime ago.  He said that he had just finished speaking about Seminary life and formation to a mixed group of Priests, religious and laity using the analogy of a nation investing and preparing its military/army who take on any and every enemy with courage and determination on behalf of the general population.  Someone in the assembly got up and continued, "The Church invests its best men and most amount of money in the formation of its Priests. Why then instead of army men, do we have constables?"

The question therefore, why do we have constables instead of army men? In religious terms, why do we have mere men in cassocks and celebrants of Mass instead of Men of God and People? 

God's silence

An altar boy approached the Priest about the begin the Mass and asked him, "Why do you bend your head down in silence everytime you begin your sermon?" The Priest replied, "I pray." "Pray? Pray for what?" asked the boy. "That I may give a good sermon," answered the priest. The boy's next question was ready, "Then why isn't God answering your prayer?"

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Haven't done much!

If what you did yesterday appears big, then you haven't done much today. 
Going by that statement, I sure have created the world today! Got to make up for the last three days of rest. 

The paradox

A heated conversation between two Catholics:
A: You said a lie. Didn't you?
B: Yes, I lied.
A: That's why I say, you're a liar! 
But didn't he just confess to have said a lie? He just said the truth by acknowledging his lie... and still he's a liar?

Truth vs Fact

Not always is truth and fact the same. In fact, it is rarely the same!
Peter and Paul were guards at a heritage site. One night Peter was drunk and so Paul in his report, the next day, stated "Peter was drunk" - in spite of Peter's repeated requests, not to! The next day when it was Peter's turn to file the report, he wrote, "Today Paul was not drunk."

The neti-neti strategy

THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (Is 8: 23 – 9: 3/ Ps 27: 1. 4. 13-14 (1a)/ 1 Cor 1: 10-13. 17/ Mt 4: 12-23)

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand (Mt 4: 17)

Indian philosophy uses a unique language to describe God and his qualities. Rather than say who the Supreme Being is, the neti-neti method describes who God is not. Rather than state who God is and restrict him to that, the language tries to arrive at an understanding of God by removing all that he is not. To know and accept Christ and His Kingdom one ought to discern and reject all that does not go along with God and His kingdom.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Conversion

Conversion of Saul
Saul's real conversion takes place not on the road to Damascus, but during the long agonizing wait for Ananias. It is in those moments of agony, uncertainty, loneliness and desperation, that Saul turns his heart to Jesus. That 'on the road' experience was merely a trigger. Most of us are trigger-happy people. However we lack the patience and the courage to go through the 'dark nights' to deepen our resolutions and faith.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Discipleship

… they were to be his companions and … (Mk 3: 14)

Discipleship primarily begins by being with Him; being his companions. The mission part or the 'sending out' is what follows. Therefore unless one primarily yearns for and learns from the Lord's company, he or she will only be building one's own kingdom, not the Lord's.

Do I savour my moments with the Lord? Or am I too busy doing the work of the Lord that I do not have time for the Lord of the work?

Discipleship is more about being than doing.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Evil: Silence of the 'good'

1 Sm 18: 6-9; 19: 1-7/ Ps 56: 2-3. 9-10a. 10b-11. 12-13/ Mk 3: 7-12

… why then sin against David...? (1 Sam 19: 5)

The vast amount of evil in the world is not because of the deeds of bad people but due to the appalling silence and indifference of the good people. Few are the brave hearts like Jonathan who dare question the wrong and attempt to make a difference. After the wrong has been done, it is easy to preach or condemn a sinner, but it requires great courage and sincere affection to challenge someone before the act.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing (Edmund Burke)

Relating with God

We want God on our terms, but we don't get God that way. That's how we get false religion. It's pick and choose. It's cut and paste. The end result is a false god we've created in our image.
You only get a relationship with God on His terms. You can take it or leave it, but you cannot change the rules of engagement, and you don't want to!
Lovely summary of what I've been involved with, in the class of Philosophy of Religion, with my final year students. [Originally found here.]

If not God/holiness...?

My goodnight thought to the Brothers this evening was a very personal sharing.  Continuing my reflection from a particular point that struck me during the Brothers' Congress and upon which I did dwell most of the time during my retreat last week, I asked myself (or continue to ask myself):
Do I will to be holy?  Am I ashamed or hesitant about being a saint?  

After a sincere self-examination, I feel that I am not ready to be one. Much less, do I have the will to be one. Worse still, I try to stay away from being or becoming a holy person.  Well, I do like to pray a while, do some charity once in a way, fulfill my duties most of the time... and all the rest of the good things, but am not very sure if I really really want to be a Man of God, in entirety, in its truly and complete sense!

Perhaps the acid test of this endeavour is the point where I ask myself: Do I wish to see those with whom I live, especially my students, be Saints? Good priests, may be. Efficient organizers  may be. Obedient and faithful devotees, may be. But that one level higher than these?

I am beginning to ask if I'm striving after the 'reflectors of light' (all good and noble) but not the source of light itself? 

Life is more valuable...

Is it against the law on the sabbath to save life? (Mk 3: 4)

Jesus had a thing for breaking the conventional rules and regulations of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. He did this to bring home the point that the rule was meant for the well-being of man and not as a mere law to be kept. As long as the laws help us grow in our relationship with others and God, they are beneficial; otherwise they are an obstacle. Law binds whereas love liberates.

Life is more valuable than any doctrine about life.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Sabbath is for man...

1 Sm 16: 1-13/ Ps 89: 20. 21-22. 27-28/ Mk 2: 23-28

The Sabbath was made for man, not man for sabbath (Mk 2: 27)

Whenever we are moved by a desecrated statue of Jesus more than a road accident victim or a destitute along the road; whenever reciting prayers is more important than hearing the cries of the oppressed; whenever attending Sunday Mass becomes more important than visiting my sick neighbour or greeting my community member with a smile, the Lord reminds us: Sabbath is for man, not man for sabbath.

The glory of God is man fully alive (St Irenaeus)

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Real fasting

Fasting is often seen as a powerful weapon in our spiritual journey towards God. However, it is not something very pleasant or something habitual. It becomes all the more burdensome when we are doing it as a bargain chip with God for something we need from Him. The real fast would be the one wherein we are willing to give up anything, not just food or drink, because we hunger for God.

Saint vs Sinner

Thomas Merton's distinction between a saint and a sinner is interesting. It basically sums up the whole inner attitude and dilemma within an individual and provides one with a clear idea of where one stands with regard to one's sinful state or state of grace. 

He says a saint is like the son before the father and a sinner is like a slave before a master.  The saint who enjoys the presence of his father has no fear or anxiety.  He actually does not have to satisfy his father or 'bribe' him.  He just is himself. He is his son and therefore free from within.  Nothing to fear nothing to hide. He is 'at home'!

Saturday, 18 January 2014

You may be the only Bible...

Is 49: 3. 5-6/ Ps 40: 2. 4. 7-8. 8-9. 10 (8a. 9a)/ 1 Cor 1: 1-3/ Jn 1: 29-34

Look, there is the lamb of God... (Jn 1: 29)

Two men traveling by a long-distance train were discussing the evil and corruption in the world. After a while, one of them, a Catholic, gave the other a copy of the Gospels. After reading a while, the other said, “You Catholics are the cause of this confusion. You have the remedy but you don't share!” Isaiah, Paul and John the Baptist were all fearless witnesses of the Lord. Am I a joyful and convinced witness or a secret admirer of the Lord?


You may be the only Bible some will ever read.

Friday, 17 January 2014

I am the privileged partner

1 Sm 9: 1-4. 17-19; 10: 1/ Ps 21: 2-3. 4-5. 6-7/ Mk 2: 13-17

Follow me... (Mk 2: 14)

Neither Saul nor Mathew did anything exceptional to merit the call of the Lord. The only thing that makes them stand out is that they accepted to respond positively to that call. Mathew remained steadfast, while Saul forgot that it was not he who became the king but was made the king. The call is His, so is the mission – I am the privileged partner.

You did not choose me; I chose you... (Jn 15: 16)

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Faith-building Friendship

1 Sm 8: 4-7. 10-22a/ Ps 89: 16-17. 18-19/ Mk 2: 1-12

Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” (Mk 2: 5)

A woman who was loosing her ability to speak due to cancer enrolled herself for a sign language class. And so did her husband, four children, two sisters, brother, mother, father and twelve close friends! They loved her dearly and wanted to continue communicating with her when she could no longer speak.

The friendship of the four pall-bearers would not have been so strong and unanimous, hadn't the paralytic done and been a true friend to them. Seeing their friendship and loyalty, Jesus recognizes the goodwill of the bed-ridden man. Is our friendship faith-building or mere chit-chat?

No greater love a man can have than to lay down his life for his friends (Jn 15: 13)

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

He touched him

1 Sm 4: 1-11/ Ps 44: 10-11. 14-15. 24-25/ Mk 1: 40-45

Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him (Mk 1: 41).

An orphanage with several babies was facing a problem. Most of these babies, abandoned by their parents, never cried. The staff realized that they had reached this point because early in life, they were left to cry for hours long, without anyone ever coming to their aid. They then tried an experiment. They invited the aged from the neighbouring 'Home for the Aged' to daily hold and rock these babies. Very soon, these babies began to cry. And the elderly longed to hold these children. Physical touch made the difference.


Tuesday, 14 January 2014

From listening to witnessing...

1 Sm 3: 1-10. 19-20/ Ps 40: 2 and 5. 7-8a. 8b-9. 10/ Mk 1: 29-39

Your servant is listening (1 Sam 3: 10)

Listening requires more than the ears. So too, healing requires more than the body. For Samuel, his listening was his initiation to a deep fellowship with Yahweh. So too for the many who were healed by Jesus. However, we run the danger of being initiated by God but for lack of motivation remain content with listening or being healed. We need to move on, like Jesus, from listening to witnessing, from being healed to being healers, from receiving to sharing.

Monday, 13 January 2014

He taught them with authority

1 Sm 1: 9-20/ 1 Sm 2: 1. 4-5. 6-7. 8abcd/ Mk 1: 21-28

He taught them with authority (Mk 1: 22)

Jesus teaching made an impression on his listeners because unlike the others, His teaching was authoritative. And what was the source of this power? God gives to each of us the power. What made the difference, in Jesus' case, was the moral strength within. Jesus' authority lay in his inner power which was pure, selfless and deep-rooted. Only when our moral compass within is right can we decidedly move in a particular direction and also lead others.



Sunday, 12 January 2014

My mission? Really?

1 Sm 1: 1-8/ Ps 116: 12-13. 14-17. 18-19/ Mk 1: 14-20

… at once they left their nets and followed Him (Mk 1: 18)


It is certainly possible that before Jesus called Simon, Andrew, James and John, they had heard of him. They certainly would have given a thought to what Jesus had preached and so when His invitation reached them, they accepted it instantly. Each one of us called by the Lord. Have we heard of what He wants of us? Have we given that a thought? Or have I presumed something without ever listening, or verifying that what I believe as my mission is actually what the Lord wants of me?

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Born of the heart

BAPTISM OF THE LORD (Readings)

This is my Son, the Beloved … (Mt 3: 17)

Two small children, one of them an adopted one, were arguing with one another. The adopted one had the last say: “You were born of mother's womb. I was born in her heart.” Through Baptism we are made into the children of God, the adopted children of God, born of God's heart. Baptism is a gift and a task. Given freely but for a commission. And what would that mission be? The Acts specify that: '… doing good...'

Bound by love; sustained by charity.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Growth by default

1 Jn 5: 14-21/ Ps 149: 1-2. 3-4. 5 and 6a and 9b/ Jn 3: 22-30

… we belong to God... (1 Jn 5: 19) 

To belong means to be part of and if I am part of something or someone, willingly and joyfully, I gladly contribute to the growth of the whole. I do so because I know that when the whole grows or increases, I who am part of it, automatically grow, naturally increase. On the other hand, if I am on my own, totally and absolutely independent, then everyone else, even God, is a competitor, over whom I must prevail.

He must increase... (Jn 3: 30)

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Believe the Lord, not his miracle

… large crowds would gather to hear him and to have their sickness cured... (Lk 5: 15)

We are called to believe in Him and not wait from Him to arouse or awaken belief in Him. Happy are those who, of one's own accord sincerely seek the Lord. They see miracles unfold every moment, every instance. The others drag on, waiting for the Lord to work a miracle to believe. And when they witness a miracle, they believe... merely in the miracle! Believe the Lord, not merely His miracle.

Love for the young

With no real support from the 'qualified' analysts, I had to chip in with my rustic interpretation and analysis of the survey results that I had accumulated.  So with the tables at hand prepared by the ones responsible (at least that was done!), I fired off my prejudices, hypothesis, predictions, views and what not.  It was like this: I would state my idea or impression and then display a set of slides containing the results of the individual answers.  The ideal would have been a cross-tabulated analysis but in the absence of which, the single slides/question-answer result, presented in a logical fashion drove home the point. Here's one example:

I pointed out that to the question as to whether we love the youth of our place for their welfare, 84% responded positively.  I could see them all smiling and happy about it. I then pulled out the next slide: I read something daily besides the Bible and the Constitutions.  The answer was 63%.  The next slide was about me regularly updating myself in my field of apostolate. The highest percentage was 52%.  The next slide was about plan for myself (for my life and for this year), the answer was 51% affirmative.  Therefore my conclusive statement: Is the answer to the first statement, namely that I genuinely love the youth of my place for their welfare, authentic or valid?

At once, someone got up and asked, what is the connection between me loving the youth of my place and my updating myself?  Someone else too had a similar objection about another statement and the first one. Before I could show the connection there were several hands up, with eyes all lit up, having seen the connection, wanting to respond.  For me the connection was all too evident. If I genuinely love my people, I will offer them the best of myself and my services.  And how will I offer the best of myself, if I hardly have a plan for myself and my activities, or constantly seek creative and efficient means to pass on the knowledge and skill I have to those entrusted to my care, or am waiting for a formal official time and place set apart (preferably abroad) by my Provincial for updating myself? 

Headlights of a vehicle

Here are a few quotes from the input session of Fr V. M. Thomas, the Provincial of the Salesian Province of Guwahati, during the Salesian Brothers' Congress:
The headlights (of a vehicle) help us see, not the destination, but the path ahead.  
Life is a race on a treadmill.  You've to keep running to stay in the same place. 
Madness is doing the same thing for different results. 

Culture of Sanctity

Fr Jose Kuttianimattathil, in his concluding words, challenged us to develop a culture of sanctity in our communities.  He clearly cited the example of how a young Brother who spends a couple of minutes extra in the Church after Mass or adoration, is soon labeled as 'Dominic Savio' or a confrere who assists a young lady who comes to the house for some help is made the butt end of jokes at the table that evening.  He asked, if prayer and related matters are made light and mocked at, if not directly, but very subtly and repeatedly, we tend to grow in a culture which certainly is detrimental to growth in spiritual values.  Even those bravehearts who take their initial steps are soon cowed into 'toeing the line'.

This endeavour he quite rightly, placed it on the shoulders of the community

Saying prayers vs Praying

Another beautiful point that I purposely dwelt long enough during our discussions in the Brothers' Congress was the whole lacuna between practices of piety and prayer. I was in a way happy that before I could raise it up in the general assembly it featured in one of the group discussions and so I latched onto it.

The distinction is basically the whole crux of the problem.  The divide is so real and wide but one can easily miss it or deny it altogether. The fact that we say our prayers does not mean that we pray!  So how does one bridge this divide, I asked.  Some of the answers that came up on the floor were the following:

  • a sincere and personal experience of Jesus
  • reflective silence (something slowly evaporating from our Salesian houses and customs)
  • rechecking our success indicators by which we grade ourselves and others
  • re-evaluating our value system

Success Indicators

One of the challenges the Brothers' Congress posed to its participants was about the whole notion of success indicators in our Provinces, communities and individuals.  It was primarily Fr Jose Kuttianimattathil who raised this point during his presentation and challenged the group if we were ready to change our success indicators.  Most often we have achievement of good marks and ranks, profit-making technical schools and farms, or award-winning apostolates as the role models of all our activities.  He asked, how about grading each other or collectively as a Province, on the scale of sanctity or holiness? Granted that it is not something as easily measurable as other 'corporate structure indicators', nonetheless we still can ask ourselves if holiness is a criterion we look for and work towards at all? 

Where are the people going?

One of the self-declared presidents of an African nation, was interviewed by a foreign news channel about the upcoming national elections (the results of which did not matter, as he had declared himself the president for life!).  The interviewer wanted to know if there was any thought, at least in some corner of the mind of the President, if he would lose the election and be asked to resign.  He therefore shrewdly put in the question this way: Mr President, are you ready to say goodbye? The President replied, "But where are the people going?" 

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

God in search of Man

He has anointed me... He has sent me... (Lk 4: 18)

We often think that we're the ones chasing God. However salvation history clearly proves the opposite: God is constantly in search of man (this is the basic idea of the Jewish theologian and Philosopher, Abraham Joshua Heschel). He choose Israel before everything. He first loved us. He first called us children, even before we took note of Him. He always takes the initiative. All that we are to do is emulate Him, just like His dearest Son, Jesus did... go in search of our fellow creatures.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Incarnate: flesh like ours

Once a woman hurrying towards a tram-car, stumbled in front of it and was trapped underneath it. The tram-car halted and a crane was called for, in order to save the woman. Soon there was a crowd. A man pushed his way through the crowd, crawled underneath the car and said to the woman, “Here take my hand.” The assuring presence of the stranger prevented her from going into a shock. When released, she exclaimed, “I never thought an outstretched hand could mean so much.” Through his incarnation, God stretches out himself to us, so that we may feel his warmth and presence more intimately.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Love is a decision...

Love is a very deceptive but laden word. Very many claim to love others but only in thought. More than a cozy warm feeling, love is a decision, a choice, a commitment. St John rightly exhorts us to love, to choose, to make a commitment, just like God chose us, over and above his own son; just like He made a decision for our well-being, counting not His own.

God is love (1 Jn 4: 8)

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Holy Confusion!

A though about Mt 4: 12-17. 23-25 (He went round... proclaiming the Good News... curing all kinds of diseases and sickness among the people.)

In our fervour of devotion and faith, we often confuse doing good with good itself; practices of piety with spirituality; proclaiming the Good News with being the Good News. We are hence called to discern the Spirit which guides and motivates us. Are we moved by the commandments of the Church or by the person of Christ? Are we gladly stuck to the wonders of the Lord or do we move on to seek the Lord himself?

“What reward do you wish for your labours?” Jesus asked and St Thomas Aquinas replied, “Nothing less than you, O Lord!”

Saturday, 4 January 2014

To see, know and walk the path

Mt 2: 1-12 (We saw his star...)

A man was lost in the London fog and then bumped into a stranger. He asked the stranger if he knew such-and-such a place. The stranger asked the man to follow him and after several left and right turns, reached the exact place. The man thanked the stranger and asked him how he could manage in spite of the heavy fog. “Oh, the fog does not bother me,” replied the guide. “I'm blind.”

To see the path is different from knowing the path; and to know the path is different from walking the path!

Friday, 3 January 2014

The Living Person of Jesus

A reflection for Jn 1: 35-42 ... Come and see... (Jn 1: 39)

An elderly lady once sued the Disneyland organization because while in the parking lot, her three grandchildren were shocked to see three Disney characters get out of their costumes. These children were shell shocked to know that their favourite characters were not real but human beings dressed up in disguise!

What do we tell our next generation about our faith? Whom are we leading them to? Caricatures, models, statues, doctrines, structures... or the living person of Jesus Christ?

Annette Salomi Castilino

All along the time since the Seminary Day cum Jubilee Celebrations, my whole soul and focus was the Brothers' Congress.  In the meantime several things have happened and I've not really been able to be fully a part of them all.  Of them one significant event was the baptism of my niece which was on December 14, 2013.  She was born on the first of the previous month.  Roshni, my sister-in-law, was kind enough to send me a few snaps of the day.
That's Mummy holding the newly baptized, my brother Willy, Roshni with my nephew Chris and of course, my dear Papa, John.
 I look forward to seeing and holding her in my arms when I visit home in mid January. She is christened Annette Salomi Castilino

Revelations of the Congress

I really did not get time nor could raise all the themes that I would have loved to get us, Brothers to think about, not even the main or the most nagging ones in my mind... because the feelers that I tossed about themselves evoked much discussion and reflection.  I wonder what would have been the case if the Congress were to have been as per our initial plan or strategy!  As Fr Ajoy Fernandes, in one of his input sessions, mentioned, once the vision is clear, and one is passionate about the same, the path and the means to reach that will be discovered soon. And if there is not path, one will be made!

In that sense, though the path that I wanted the preliminary preparations or committee members to take did not really hit off, the vision that a couple of us had was clear enough to goad and inspire us on. Add to that the survey results, though very crudely interpreted, which came in handy.

One certain thing I observed is the fact that most Brothers are at least willing to look at different possibilities and if not explore them all, at least look at them!  Though there are some who resent change and even the invitation to try something which they are not used to, there is a sizeable population of risk-takers or even say, willing to see the other side of things.  Connected to this, is the realization that the elderly (say the real veterans) are the ones who are most open and willing to take the plunge while those seemingly 'modern' are most hesitant or even complacent about their present set of attitudes, values and convictions.  Worse was to see a set of young, really young, Brothers so lethargic and dispassionate about life!  Look forward to those still holding the light to be able to inspire us enough before they pass on the baton to us or before they pass away!  

Thanks!

We concluded the Brothers' Congress this noon and sometime after lunch took a nap.  Am still on 'high' having achieved successfully what I wanted the Congress to be: a deepening and reflective awareness that we, as Brothers, can do and be better than mere dullards! Not counting the fact that only at the end of the process did all, especially the core committee of organizers  realize what we exactly were trying to do for the past three years, the exercise all along was worth the effort. Truly an adventure beyond description... atleast for now.  There are too many things buzzing in my mind and so will take time to let it all sink in and then write about it all. 

Thursday, 2 January 2014

To know and to witness

A reflection based on Jn 1: 29-34

We are all called to be alter-Christos (the other Christ) but prior to that we need the grace to be able to recognize who Christ truly is. This is possible through the grace of the Holy Spirit. And just like John's baptism, we need to rise out of the water (our sins), to be open to the Spirit and have the courage to see for ourselves and then point to the others, the Christ.

I have seen and I am the witness... (Jn 1: 34)

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Dare to witness

A reflection for today's Gospel Jn 1: 19-28

Jesus Christ preached the Kingdom of God. Later the Church preached Jesus Christ. The preacher is preached. [Leonardo Boff] 

There may come a time when the Church is preached. John the Baptist knew definitively and clearly what and who he was witnessing to. His truthfulness dares us to be steadfast in paving the way for the Lord and not get lost in the bylanes. 
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