Sunday, 5 March 2017

Lenten joy

Every year when we come round to this time of the year when we have to plan for the community Lenten penance, and discussion is most often around giving up food, I invariably remember my second year at Kondadaba as Dean and administrator.  That was the year when we did not receive the annual subsidy from Rome.  We were in a tight fix.  We were scraping on the savings of the previous years.  Not that we were desperate, but we really had to tighten our belts.

Now for a group of 70 young men, who were used to having good food and quite a bit of luxury to suddenly feel the pinch of it was not easy.  However, during one house assembly I presented them the financial difficulty we were going through and asked the Brothers to bear up.  Honestly I did expect some repercussions.  However, I was surprised at the way the Brothers rose up to the occasion.  Not only did they not complain or grudge but came forward with suggestions and actually carried out most of them, even without telling me, as to how to cut expenses.  What really touched me was the joy with which they bore up with the inconveniences.  It was not tolerated. They were happy to be part of a community.

So towards the end of the year, when we had the community meeting to decide on the Lenten penance, there was again suggestions of what to give up and abstain and all.  After some time I got up and sincerely acknowledged the sacrifices made by the community all through the year, that too joyfully.  And hence, I said, you need not do more than what we have already been doing.  Let's just continue with greater joy!  There was a huge round of applause.

In all my years of handling money/administration, that was the happiest year - not just for me but for the whole community!
Most of those in that academic year...

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