Sunday, January 31, 2010

THE FEAR OF DEATH - Ashvin Pandav

The fear of Death
Death is natural
Death is something natural to each and every creature just as birth and growth. Death belongs to the norm of being and belongs to nature. As we normally perceive things through our senses, things emerge, grow and decay and then they give themselves up so that others may emerge without the death of one, there cannot be the birth of another; without birth there cannot be drastic improvement and without drastic change there cannot be growth. Life is always a process of growth towards fullness that we have not reached.
“Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It is the transition that’s troublesome”.
–Isaac Asimov
Death is inevitable
When I pause for a while and think, I realize that because of the life death of my forefathers and foremothers, I am living now. This generation will be overshadowed by the next and this life has to give way to another and so I have to give way to someone else. Life on this planet is wonderful, but my physical qualities are limited, my mental capacities are inadequate, and my spiritual potential is imperfect. All these limitations give rise to better, deeper or higher states and the elimination of the present points towards another future that is beyond me. Death is inevitable, even necessary. It is a consoling thought. But we humans have been very good in formulating a justification that we think is consoling to us. When the situation changes, we will formulate a similar justification to suit the changed situation and feel equally consoled by it.
“What greater pain could mortal have than this; to see their children deaf before their eyes?
Attitudes to death
We don’t really encounter our own deaths but only that of our beloved ones, like my granny, who was close to me. She has inspired me to write on such a topic as her death. We usually feel terrible sorrow when a loved one dies. I had to struggle with God because I wanted her to be present for my ordination. Death is not acceptable to any normal human being and it’s not so easy as well. We encounter our death everyday and most of the time we try to ignore them.

“On the day of burial there is no perspective, for space itself is annihilated. Your dead friend is still a fragmentary being. The day you bury him is the day of chores and crowds of hands false or true to be shaken in the immediate cares of mourning. The dead friend will not really die until tomorrow, when silence is around you again. Then he will see himself complete as he was to tear himself away, as he was, from the substantial you only, then only you will cry out because of him who is leaving and whom you cannot detain”.
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Death is a mystery and so is life

In fact death and life are part of the same reality. Death is a reflection of life. The homage we pay to the dead, the funeral we give to the deceased, the respect we pay to the departed, the prayers we offered for them do not change them but us. This phenomenon is reflection of self-understanding that we humans have of our own life in its totality. The thought and fear of death that each one of us carries within us is in fact a self-affirmation of our present life. It is a mirroring of the uniqueness of ourselves. And so death as a future phenomenon which could be turned back on our present and to be understood as we human, attempt to make better sense of our life here and now.

“It is hard to have patience with people who say ‘There is no death’ or ‘Death doesn’t matter’. There is death. And whatever matters. And whatever happens has consequences, and it is irrevocable and irreversible. You might as well say that birth doesn’t matter”.
-Leonardo da Vinci

The fear that confronts death makes life almost unbearable. Take the example of religions that are based on this fear of death. This angst that surrounds every part of ourselves makes us it unbearable for us to live. This obsessive anxiety makes us capable of realizing ourselves. This anguish scares us away from the topic death. We should realize this anguish and try to be friendly and go beyond it.
“We live by encouragement and die without it slowly, sadly, angrily”.
-Celeste Holm
Resurrection of the person
The Christian assertion is that the individual, however minute she/he may find her/his fulfillment in the divine in accordance with her/his personality, it means all the hard work I have put in the dreams I have cherished, the disappointments I got used to, the love I have cultivated, the struggles I have undergone, the victories I have relished will all be part of the realized person that I will be in the life after. I really don’t know whatever my minute desires met or not, whether any the concrete projects have failed or succeeded. I don’t know in the plan of the cosmos that a small little person does make a difference. And the point of eternity is that a small smile still counts.
The resurrection of a person holds everything, including the minutest and the mightiest. It also holds the concrete matters even in eternity which we so not understand now. So I shall be a part of the whole totality, one with it, but determinate and distinct and relating freely and lovingly.
“The action of a man is not completed unless he dies”.
-Robert Edward lee
“Beginning today, treats everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to all the care, kindness, and understanding you can master, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again”
-Og Mandino
“The only religious way to think of death is as a part and parcel of life; to regard its with the understanding and the emotions, as the involvement condition of life”
-Thomas Mann
By Ashvin Pandav SJ

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Get Digital Fast -Communicate Christ and His Goodnews.

Pope tells priests: Go forth and blog (and get digital fast!)

Vatican City: Pope Benedict XVI has a new commandment for priests struggling to get their message across: Go forth and blog.
The pope, whose own presence on the web has heavily grown in recent years, urged priests on Saturday to use all multimedia tools at their disposal to preach the Gospel and engage in dialogue with people of other religions and cultures.
And just using email or surfing the web is often not enough: Priests should use cutting-edge technologies to express themselves and lead their communities, Benedict said in a message released by the Vatican.
“The spread of multimedia communications and its rich ‘menu of options’ might make us think it sufficient simply to be present on the web,” but priests are “challenged to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources,” he said.
The message, prepared for the World Day of Communications, suggests such possibilities as images, videos, animated features, blogs, and websites. Benedict said young priests should become familiar with new media while still in seminary, though he stressed that the use of new technologies must reflect theological and spiritual principles.
The 82-year-old pope has often been wary of new media, warning about what its tendency to trivialize sex and promote violence. But Benedict has also praised new ways of communicating as a “gift to humanity” when used to foster friendship and understanding.
Monsignor Claudio Maria Celli, who heads the Vatican’s social communications office, said that Benedict’s words aimed to encourage reflection in the church on the positive uses of new media. “That doesn’t mean that (every priest) must open a blog or a website. It means that the church and the faithful must engage in this ministry in a digital world,” Celli said. AP

44th World Day of Communications – May 16, 2010

"The priest and pastoral ministry in a digital world: new media at the service of the Word."

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The theme of this year's World Communications Day - The Priest and Pastoral Ministry in a Digital World: New Media at the Service of the Word - is meant to coincide with the Church's celebration of the Year for Priests. It focuses attention on the important and sensitive pastoral area of digital communications, in which priests can discover new possibilities for carrying out their ministry to and for

the Word of God. Church communities have always used the modern media for fostering communication, engagement with society, and, increasingly, for encouraging dialogue at a wider level. Yet the recent, explosive growth and greater social impact of these media make them all the more important for a fruitful priestly ministry.

All priests have as their primary duty the proclamation of Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word of God, and the communication of his saving grace in the sacraments. Gathered and called by the Word, the Church is the sign and instrument of the communion that God creates with all people, and every priest is called to build up this communion, in Christ and with Christ. Such is the lofty dignity and beauty of the mission of the priest, which responds in a special way

to the challenge raised by the Apostle Paul: "The Scripture says, 'No one who believes in him will be put to shame ... everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.' But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can people preach unless they are sent? (Rom 10:11, 13-15).

Responding adequately to this challenge amid today's cultural shifts, to which young people are especially sensitive, necessarily involves using new communications technologies. The world of digital communication, with its almost limitless expressive capacity, makes us appreciate all the more Saint Paul's exclamation: "Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel" (1 Cor 9:16) The increased availability of the new technologies demands greater responsibility on the part of those called to proclaim the Word, but it also requires them to become more focused, efficient and compelling in their efforts. Priests stand at the threshold of a new era: as new technologies create deeper forms of relationship across greater distances, they are called to respond pastorally by putting the media ever more effectively at the service of the Word.

The spread of multimedia communications and its rich "menu of options" might make us think it sufficient simply to be present on the Web, or to see it only as a space to be filled. Yet priests can rightly be expected to be present in the world of digital communications as faithful witnesses to the Gospel, exercising their proper role as leaders of communities which increasingly express themselves with the different "voices" provided by the digital marketplace. Priests are thus challenged to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources (images, videos, animated features, blogs, websites) which, alongside traditional means, can open up broad new vistas for dialogue, evangelization and catechesis.

Using new communication technologies, priests can introduce people to the life of the Church and help our contemporaries to discover the face of Christ. They will best achieve this aim if they learn, from the time of their formation, how to use these technologies in a competent and appropriate way, shaped by sound theological insights and reflecting a strong priestly spirituality grounded in constant dialogue with the Lord. Yet priests present in the world of digital communications should be less notable for their media savvy than for their priestly heart, their closeness to Christ. This will not only enliven their pastoral outreach, but also will give a "soul" to the fabric of communications that makes up the "Web".

God's loving care for all people in Christ must be expressed in the digital world not simply as an artifact from the past, or a learned theory, but as something concrete, present and engaging. Our pastoral presence in that world must thus serve to show our contemporaries, especially the many people in our day who experience uncertainty and confusion, "that God is near; that in Christ we all belong to one another" (Benedict XVI, Address to the Roman Curia, 21 December 2009).

Who better than a priest, as a man of God, can develop and put into practice, by his competence in current digital technology, a pastoral outreach capable of making God concretely present in today's world and presenting the religious wisdom of the past as a treasure which can inspire our efforts to live in the present with dignity while building a better future? Consecrated men and women working in the media have a special responsibility for opening the door to new forms of encounter, maintaining the quality of human interaction, and showing concern for individuals and their genuine spiritual needs. They can thus help the men and women of our digital age to sense the Lord's presence, to grow in expectation and hope, and to draw near to the Word of God which offers salvation and fosters an integral human development. In this way the Word can traverse the many crossroads created by the intersection of all the different "highways" that form "cyberspace", and show that God has his rightful place in every age, including our own. Thanks to the newcommunications media, the Lord can walk the streets of our cities and, stopping before the threshold of our homes and our hearts, say once more: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me" (Rev 3:20).

In my Message last year, I encouraged leaders in the world of communications to promote a culture of respect for the dignity and value of the human person. This is one of the ways in which the Church is called to exercise a "diaconia of culture" on today's "digital continent". With the Gospels in our hands and in our hearts, we must reaffirm the need to continue preparing ways that lead to the Word of God, while being at the same time constantly attentive to those who continue to seek; indeed, we should encourage their seeking as a first step of evangelization. A pastoral presence in the world of digital communications, precisely because it brings us into contact with the followers of other religions, non-believers and people of every culture, requires sensitivity to those who do not believe, the disheartened and those who have a deep, unarticulated desire for enduring truth and the absolute. Just as the prophet Isaiah envisioned a house of prayer for all peoples (cf. Is 56:7), can we not see the web as also offering a space - like the "Court of the Gentiles" of the Temple of Jerusalem - for those who have not yet come to know God?

The development of the new technologies and the larger digital world represents a great resource for humanity as a whole and for every individual, and it can act as a stimulus to encounter and dialogue. But this development likewise represents a great opportunity for believers. No door can or should be closed to those who, in the name of the risen Christ, are committed to drawing near to others. To priests in particular the new media offer ever new and far-reaching pastoral possibilities, encouraging them to embody the universality of the Church's mission, to build a vast and real fellowship, and to testify in today's world to the new life which comes from hearing the Gospel of Jesus, the eternal Son who came among us for our salvation. At the same time, priests must always bear in mind that the ultimate fruitfulness of their ministry comes from Christ himself, encountered and listened to in prayer; proclaimed in preaching and lived witness; and known, loved and celebrated in the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation.

To my dear brother priests, then, I renew the invitation to make astute use of the unique possibilities offered by modern communications. May the Lord make all of you enthusiastic heralds of the Gospel in the new "agorà" which the current media are opening up.

With this confidence, I invoke upon you the protection of the Mother of God and of the Holy Curè of Ars and, with affection, I impart to each of you my Apostolic Blessing.

From the Vatican, 24 January 2010, Feast of Saint Francis de Sales.

Pope Benedict XVI

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Cultural Festival at SHAKTI-LAHRC-Songadh.

Press Release on Cultural Festival

on 16th-17th Jan. 2010 at SHAKTI-LAHRC, Songadh, Gujarat.

"We had never seen such a big crowd in our carrier" said Virsing mama, the leader of the Rodali Party (Adivasi traditional Entertainment). He is at it for more than 30 years. "We enjoyed taking part in many traditional competitions which we had forgotten" said Mansinghbhai, one of the Bow and Arrow competitors. "Drumming was fun in front of thousands of people" exclaimed Kavjibhai, one of the drummers. "The small children were very graceful and confident while dancing" said Ratuben, one of the women watching the performance. "How wonderful it was to watch the performance of different groups like Vasava, Gamit, Chaudhary, Kokna, Dangi etc. all on the same stage with their different uniqueness!" spontaneously exclaimed a lot of people. "This is a great way of conducting a cultural festival bringing all types of people with their own contribution" acclaimed Mavjibhai, the Tapi District Panchayat President.

The Registration started before 2.00 PM on 16th Jan. as people started pouring in. After registration and signing or putting their thump prints on the canvas in support of the 14 demands (campaign) carried out as part of the Cultural Festival and Competitions. Sipping the tea, the Catapult (96) and Bow and Arrow (20) competitions started at 3.00 PM. There were many to cheer them up and to learn from them. Then at 4.00 pavri (4) and pavi (11) (flute type musical instruments) competitions started. Then all went for a delicious Dinner. Dinner was prepared for 7,000 people and everything was over by 6.30PM. This year the Adivasi Traditional (Fancy) Dress competition (23w + 14m) witnessed many more men and women happily, confidently and with a sense of pride taking part in the event at 6.00PM. Then the dovdu (13) (big pipe musical instrument) competition took place. The competitors enchanted the audience with a nostalgic memory by their skilful performance. Since the drummers (39) were many, that competition was divided into semi finals and final. The drummers were lost in producing the great sound that thrilled the entire crowd and many were shaking their bodies in tune with the drum beats!

Then the cultural team of LAHRC put up a skit that touched the audience very emotionally. They depicted the plight of the sugar cane cutters and through it raised a few questions to the audience about adivasi identity, unity and dignity. It was very much appreciated by one and all.

Then the Chief Guest, Dr. Tusharbhai A Chaudhary, the State Minister for Tribal Affairs, Govt. of India arrived with his team of elected members. Mr. C M Balat, the Collector and District Magistrate of Tapi District and Mr. Chaudhry, the Mamlatdar and Executive Magistrate of Songadh Taluka were also present on this occasion. In their presence, a rite was performed in adivasi tradition by an elder to invoke the blessing of Nature on all. Then the Guests were warmly welcomed with flowers. After that Rameshbhai read out the different demands of the people in the context of the signature campaign and requested the elected members to do the needful by giving them the copies of the 14 demands. The Minister was given the canvas which the people had signed. Dr. Sudhir Jani who had done the analytical study of the survey on the need of changing the present standard followed for deciding the Below Poverty Line (BPL) card holders briefly explained his findings and urged the elected members to act upon it by presenting them the summary of the study. The study was a combined effort of CASA, Mumbai, SHAKTI-LAHRC and many other groups.

The Guests appreciated the efforts of Adivasi Mahamandal, Adivasi Sarvangi Vikas Sanghs and SHAKTI-LAHRC that had organized this festival. They urged the people to work unitedly towards preserving and protecting the culture, identity and unity of the adivasis. One of the speakers exploded, "If we do not care to protect our culture, identity and unity, no one will!"

Then the competition of dances (8 children + 24 adults) started first for the children and then the adults. It was a treat to watch. All the performers tried their best to give their best. Each group was given 7 minutes to perform. It was indeed a very difficult job for the judges to decide the best performance! Then came the best item rodali party which the people awaited eagerly. This team kept the audience spell bound till 6.30 AM with the different social messages they had chosen to communicate in their traditional styles.

Then the festival was brought to an end after the prize distribution and vote of thanks. This year, all the participants in the competitions were given certificates as a gesture of appreciation.

There were more competitions and more competitors for the festival from the Districts of Dangs, Narmada, Navsari, Surat and Tapi. A moderate estimate was that there were at least 11,000 women, men, youth and children watching the event from the Districts of Dangs, Narmada, Navsari, Panchmahal, Surat, Tapi, Valsad, Ahmedabad and from the neighbouring State of Maharashtra. Many people had contributed generously both in cash and kind to make the event a great success. The entire programme was conducted by a team of adivasi leaders and volunteers. Now we feel, "We can" and that is the message we would like to communicate to all! Mr. Dhansukbhai Vasava, a Govt. servant said, "This festival will surely have deep impact not only on our adivasis but also on others". Already one NGO is planning to conduct a similar festival in its area of operation.

For more information go to our website: shaktilahrc

Jai Adivasi, Jago Adivasi.

Report prepared by Rineshbhai Gamit, SHAKTI-LAHRC, Songadh

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A philosophical reflection-- S.Arul Rayan

A philosophical reflection
S.Arul Rayan, s.j.

It is the failure of the wave to cross the shore that keeps the human beings and other lives on the face of the earth alive and living. Oh! How strange the nature of the world. The survival of many species depends on the failure of the wave. Is that all? Or is it that the nature has designed itself so well that it limits itself to a point where the wellbeing of the other begins? Who knows? Who can have the final word? This is one of the many reflections that I have had as a student of Philosophy. If one wants to call it philosophical, I am glad; if not I am glad too, I respect One’s right to decide what is philosophical and what is not.
As a student of philosophy, I admit, that I had tried at the beginning of the philosophical studies, to be more realistic and pragmatic in my way of doing things. Until I realized that philosophy, often and in general, as far as my opinion is concerned, deals with the intellectual part of a human being, that is to say, at the head level. When it comes to feelings or at the heart level, every relationship becomes a mystery. No philosophical disputations seem to answer the ‘Whys’ and ‘Hows’ of any relationship. Not all seem to know why they love someone or hate someone else. As far as relationships are concerned the intellect refuses to question. As Pascal, the great philosopher said “The heart has its own reasons about which the head does not know”. All that I want to express in this essay may not be completely original and new, however, this is a result of the assimilation of ideas that I have acquired as a student of philosophy.
As far as philosophy is concerned I have come to conclude that no philosophy is absolute and that every philosophy has its own time and space. They all make sense only in a given context. It is in relation to this conviction that I want to reflect and appreciate the ‘Charism’ of the Society of Jesus ‘MAGIS’- A call to go beyond what we do now; an invitation to respond to the needs of the time. I feel that ‘MAGIS’, for us Jesuits and has been, and is the norm of life. I love and am proud of the Society of Jesus for being so concrete and pragmatic to uphold and commit itself to ‘MAGIS’.
At the start of my philosophical studies, I began to fear that philosophy would influence and affect my life. I feared that tainted theories and often nonrepresentational thoughts would take me away from the reasonableness, commonsensical and practicality of life. But as time went on I realized that my fear was uncorroborated and baseless. I became conscious that no human thought has ever been the definitive, perfect, spotless, impeccable and above reproach. Convictions have changed, cultures have evolved, beliefs have disappeared, innovative inventions are ever on the progressive mode, no thing or no human seem to have said the last word concerning either the origin of the world or the end of it.
Let me begin with the basic philosophical and scientific question that has been and still is in need of an answer. What is the ultimate stuff that the universe is made up of? Every student of philosophy is aware that Thales answered that it was water, the philosophical and scientific disputations went on for centuries and finally came the atomists, who said that the universe is made up of atoms, which are the smallest particles, these cannot be further divided and so on. This theory was readily bought by the scientific community, but only until the atom was bombarded. We know today that even the atom has in itself more than a hundred smaller particles, and the count is still on in the laboratories of the atomic Physists. Hence, the first question, raised long ago, needs an answer even today. All theses centuries have been calling us to go beyond the answer that we thought we knew. As far as philosophy is concerned every question is in need of an answer and every answer is eternally ready to be questioned.
A great amount of energy in the human endeavor is spent on understanding and obtaining some universal goal. However, change is the only permanent factor in human history. Change of climate, change of rulers in politics and change of ideas are common to us all. Change due to the scientific discoveries and the cosmological observations have altered our conception of the universe. A constant search for permanent things in life is a contradiction in itself. But that seems to be the way of life; a life of contradiction that we all live. Don’t we?
The concept of God too, changes from time to time and philosopher to philosopher. For some philosophers God makes sense only in a given context. What a paradoxical state of life! Given the entire life of man on the planet earth, nature is one of the things that no one seems to have understood. With all our advanced scientific, technological discoveries we are only able to predict some of the behavioral patterns of the cosmos; however, total prevention of any calamity that causes destruction is not in our hands as yet. One can go on ceaselessly exploring the limitations of us all. But unlike the absolute skeptics who never take a stand, there are scores of people, who take a stand in life; there is a separate, set apart group called ‘Jesuits’.
We, the Jesuits, from the beginning of the Society of Jesus, have always answered to the need of the hour. We have been called to go beyond social and economical, cultural and other patterns of the society. We have always been called to widen our horizons. In my experience as a Jesuit for just five years, I have often heard and have reflected on the concept called ‘MAGIS’. I now witness it being so real for a Jesuit. ‘MAGIS’ is our way of life.
As a person in formation, the spirit of MAGIS has not come my way easily and I do not claim to have acquired it now. I am getting instilled with this spirit day by day. The various experiments in the novitiate helped me to see the horizons of the other. The hospital experiment in particular showed me the horizon of the one who knew his death; the horizons of the other who had no wife, no children, no relative, no property and nothing to live for; and the horizon of an orphan child who had whole life to live. Their horizons confronted and broadened mine.
The crossing of the horizons is a common phenomenon in the life of the Society of Jesus. Our founding father Ignatius crossed the horizons of his time and studied in Paris at that age so that he could preach about his master our Lord. Many more horizons he crossed too, be it the naming of the society, the formula if the institute and above all he called the Jesuits to be contemplatives in action, a concept that was not heard of in the religious orders of his time. St. Francis Xavier, Peter Faber, and a congregation of blessed and saints crossed their horizons and reached out to all nations because they belonged to that band which believed in MAGIS- A call to go beyond the horizons.
In a recent letter of Fr. General to all the Major superiors he says “it is an encouraging sign of our continued commitment to mission that the image of ‘frontiers’ seem to have captured the imagination of many Jesuits and inspired reflection on the new frontiers we need to address”. It is once again a call to MAGIS - A call to go beyond our horizons and see the horizon of the other; and bring them in to the horizon of the Society of Jesus and the holy Mother church.
JRS was born, when Rev.Fr. Arrupe saw the plight of the refugees. The refugees belonged to no one then. Fr. Arrupe brought them in to our horizon- the Jesuit’s horizon. St. Ignatius opened a house for the prostitutes because he wanted to include them in the horizon of the Society of Jesus. I once again quote from the recent letter of the General to all the major superiors, “I trust that you will seek to listen to the voice of the spirit, present in our humble society and drawing us forward to a future of more joyful and generous service where we are needed by the church.” I see that the call to go beyond my horizons is evident here too.
In our world today, people are alienated and marginalized from the society on the basis of caste, sex, economy, education, Language, nationality and other simillar social factors. We, the Jesuits are called to go beyond the horizons of the world, from where they are excluded, by embracing the neglected ones and bringing them into our horizons of love, joy and hope. We can do it. We are called to be in the world and yet not of the world. I believe in the phrase that ‘our formation is ongoing formation till we die’. It is one step at a time. One more step from where I am. I believe that I am called to go beyond what I am now. I believe that my horizons will continue changing. I will keep widening my horizons. “Unexamined life is not worth living”, said Socrates. I believe that for us Jesuits the examination of consciousness will widen our horizons. All I need is to listen to the spirit of God and surrender my will. With god’s grace and love that is possible.
Widen my horizons O Lord and make it ever new.
Take and receive o Lord ,
all my liberty, my memory and my understanding.
You lord have given all that to me.
To you I return it.Give me your garce and your love and that is enough for me.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A CALL, TO SERVE --V.Antony Michael Raj

- V. Antony Michael Raj, SJ.
Under the guidance of Rev. Fr. Oscar Rozario, SJ
Everything depends upon our inclination, whether it is towards a life full of problems and distress or happiness and joy. To make our life a meaningful one, we need to mind our thoughts, for our thoughts are the foundation, the inspiration, the motivation power of our deed.
A call to be different:
The formula of the Institute of the Society of Jesus starts with these lines, “Whoever desires to serve as soldier of God beneath the banner of the Cross in our Society, … the solemn vow of perpetual chastity, poverty and obedience, keep what follows in mind (Con. [Fo.1])”
Jesus called his disciples for a definite purpose. Similar each Jesuit is called for a specific reason. That is why Jesus tells us, “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain… (Jn15:16).” Most of us focus on the part of vocation (Chosen Part), not on the part of mission. Jesus is very clear in his sayings that mission is to bear fruit which will remain for the greater use. To bear fruit abundantly one has to get grace from God. Only through the help of God, is it possible.
Our way of proceeding :
Each Jesuit should be different from others, because each one is unique. Jesuits should be men of God and for the people. A Jesuit is called to be a saint and scholar-according to me a saint in the sense; one has to be touch with God, each and every moment of his life, as Father Ignatius did. For thus father Ignatius introduced Discernment of spirits, as at the same time one has to be a scholar. One can clearly see the wisdom in discerning the matter, which Father Ignatius gave us. One should discern the matter and take the final step. Here one should not fellow one’s one will and say that it is God’s will. To be scholar does not mean that one has to finish Ph.D. in a university. It means that one has to be master in his field where one is, whether it is a school or a parish or else where, so that he can lead himself and the people effectively, in the way God wants. For that one has to be available for God always.
Fr. Arrupe in his letter to the Society on 3rd of September 1983, asks the Jesuits, “My call to you today is that you be available to the Lord. Let us put God at the centre, even attentive to His voice, ever asking what we can do for the more effective service, and doing it to the best of our availability, with love and perfect detachment. Let us cultivate a very personal awareness of the reality of God.”
Here vocation is a means (instrument) to do the will of God. In the past one may be a sinner, but God never keeps any record of the sins which he/she committed. This was emphasized by GC32: A Jesuit is a sinner yet called to be a companion of Jesus. He asks us to live in the present, not in the future or in the past.
Come and See :
John’s disciples asked Jesus, “Where are you Staying?” Jesus answered to them , “Come and you will See (Jn1:38- 39).” About somebody or something, people may have a different opinion or views, but when one experiences things or persons, one gets a crystal clear picture about the things or the persons. Each person is unique, and their experience too will be exclusive. In G.C. 35 Decree 2 says, “Many sparks, One Fire: many stories, one History.” Yes each one’s experience of Jesus may be different but the person Jesus is one and the same for all. This one can see clearly in the life of the saints. Each saints’ life-experience is different from the rest of them.
GC35 Decree 2.1 says, “The Society of Jesus has carried a flame for nearly five hundred years through in numerable social and cultural circumstances that have challenged it intensely to keep that flame alive and burning. Things are no different today.” So those who want to have an experience of Jesus in the Society, Come, See and experience Jesus according to one’s life experiences. One can take the horse to the river, whether it wants to drink water or not depends on the horse itself. So the Society will give the way and the guidance but it is for the person to experience.
Conclusion :
Swami Nimishanad says, “Doing good is not enough; being good is for more important. We need to share our talents, time with others expecting nothing is return.” Jesus too preached the same things all through His life and lived.
One touch can show your care
One word can start your prayer
One step can begin your journey
One heart can know what’s true
One lone voice can speak the wisdom
One life can make the difference.
So you see, it’s up to you.
· Anon

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Widened horizons ---- Jestin anthony

Widened horizons
To discover Jesus where we have not noticed him before andto reveal him where he has not been seen before.

GC. 35 Degree 3.2- 23
The visit of Fr. Matthias Chae the former provincial of Korea and the present assistency delegate for formation of east Asia and Oceana has brought a lot of awareness to what is the stand of the society in today’s world and how the whole society look at the South Asian assistancy with a lot of expectations. His talk on Missions in the society as whole was a very inspiring one. He also stressed on the point of the role that formation plays in the life of each scholastic and how important these period of formation are specially the study of Philosophy and Theology.
Ignatius during his period of studies attributed God to a school master who would lead him in every way. This eventually helped him to find God’s will and find him in everything he did and saw. I need to ask myself, who do I see God as in this Jesuit life and especially during my study of philosophy?
Towards a larger horizon
Study of Philosophy is a very large concept. I might have received only a drop from the ocean. But this drop has helped me discover a wider horizon of life. Suddenly I find life meaningful and filled with a lot of adventure. Just like a tree that dances with fresh new leaves during spring so do I feel the growth from all the dimensions. May it be academics, cultural activities, community life, etc. there has been a lot of opportunities to grow.
It was the mere act of questioning that brought all the difference in the human history. It was questioning that made a primitive human into a civilized being. Socrates was not at all wrong when he said that “an unexamined life is not worth living.” This processes of examining and reexamining has brought the world to a new reality. No doubt it also brings along with it a lot of challenges. Particularly when Philosophers like Nietzsche speaks about the non existence of God by saying that God is dead and provides sufficient reasons. One cannot just deny the fact. But as a Jesuit scholastic and with these few years of formation it simply compels me to question that yes it is a fact that for few God is dead but what have I done to brings this God back alive to them? And this is where the whole aspect of mission stands for me. As well depicted in GC.35 degree 3.2
“To discover jesus where we have not noticed him before and
To reveal him where he has not been seen before.”
Freedom with responsibility
It was in the novitiate that I learnt the skills of discernment. Very little did I knew that it would be so helpful during my studies. For each time I find myself standing between the two parting roads leading into confusion, it is the discernment process that helps me to find the best alternative. The amount of freedom that the society gives to each individual is tremendous. And this I realized very strongly once while having my meals with a Franciscan priest who had come to take one week of course on introduction to Śaivism. He was sharing with me about their formation and of all the strict rules and regulations. When I compared it with my life in the society I thanked God for such a wonderful society of mine. The next question that came to my mind was why society has to give so much of freedom? Why the society does believes in a particular Jesuit so much that it allows him to think for himself for what is right and what is wrong? Why the society does show so much of confidence on each and every individual Jesuit? It took me some time to come to a conclusion for these questions of mine. And the answers came to me in a rather funny way. It was once in the class of Epistemology where for doing some silly mistake the professor told us that “I see you all as matured fellows and not stupid’s.” yes the moment one enters the society the whole society sees him as a matured fellow, Who is capable of standing in his own legs, who is strong in all the ways physically, mentally, spiritually. And this is the reason why much distinction is not made between the younger and the older Jesuits. This does not mean that as a Jesuit we never make mistakes. There are number of times that we make mistakes and we do fall badly. But each time the society stands as a mother by our side saying “Don’t worry anymore I am with you.” The society gives any number of chances to grow. This is the most beautiful aspect in the society that I like. Just as said in the bible that even if your mother may forget you but I will never forget you. in the same way I am sure that the society will never abandon anybody.
In the letter of Fr. General to the whole society one part of it was regarding formation and the conscerns regarding it. One of the concerns was that the Jesuits are finding it tough to maintain a balance between work, apostolate and study on one hand with depth, comtemplation and familiarity with God on the other. Though the letter brings out a lot of concerns but at the same time it gives a lot of consolation, strength and courage to say that yes it is tough but not immposible. As Ignatius has put it only a desire to desire is enough to bring out changes. As I see the dawn of the New Year breaking over the darkness of the past years so do I see the beginning of the new horizons in the society of Jesus. This fills me with a renewed vigor and zeal. Let the fire once lit never cease and kindle many other fires as it goes along. May the prayer of Fr. Ignatius be my prayer too,
Take Lord and receive my liberty,
All my will, my mind, my memories…
…Just bestow your love and your grace
That is enough for me.