Jesus said to the deaf and the mute man ‘Ephatha’ meaning ‘Be Opened.’ And it opened. This year has been a year of opening, unfurling process of my intellect and spirit. Jesus opened them with my little help. The purpose, meaning and vision of my life have become clearer to me. The mind set got framed properly. There is one purpose and only one destiny in my life. ‘to serve, praise and revere God through the gift of life he has bestowed upon me. Jesus is the true purpose and destiny. I try to view the world, cosmos and myself with the eyes of Jesus. it gives me a new beginning, meaning and an end towards which I am working. I work with Him and for Him. I try to imbibe all of His qualities everyday. I ask the grace to imitate Him intimately and follow Him more closely.
The enriching experiences I have had during my long retreat are the strong foundations of my Jesuit vocation. Jesus continues to teach me through my morning meditations, the Eucharist and examinations of consciousness. He strengthens me everyday. The qualities I receive from him are the sources and secrets of what I am today. This uniqueness makes me a Jesuit. Hope, love, charity, even a pep talk or a smile to enthuse others are like the fragrance of beautiful flowers. Like a tiny park that causes an inferno of compassion it can reach any corner of the world. The unstoppable energy I receive from Jesus makes me go ahead whatever the hurdles may be.
“Share your love with all your companions. Love and be loved.” Initially it was difficult to understand each of my companions especially the fathers who take care of us in the juniorate. But now a lot of love and understanding between all my companions and me is becoming firmer. It helps me to grow both in my community and spiritual life. I am now a happy man. When my brothers are around me I feel a lot of support and it strengthens me whether it is during the prayer, studies, games or recreation. Outings, picnics, Wednesday community recreation every week and walks with an appointed companion on Fridays are some of the moments I have relished and cherished in this year.
The indelible memories of my novitiate life are still fresh and green. The first spiritual reading that I did, the first attempt that I made to inculturate myself by wearing a ‘kurta,’ the one month long Spiritual Exercises, my ministry to a near by church, constitution classes and various courses have helped me to be a Jesuit ‘contemplative in action.’ In fact at that time my mind was too narrow to grasp it’s vast and noble meaning. One of the workdays, having missed the prayer due to work I complained to my novice master that I missed my prayer and felt bad about it. He gently took me aside, explained and corrected the true nature of Jesuits being ‘contemplatives even in action.’
For me today as a junior learning humanities, study is my work and worship, ‘for I can do nothing more pleasing to God than to concentrate on studies seeking nothing in my studies but the divine glory and the good of others.’ const(361).
As Fr.Arrupe said ‘what is important must be common to all Jesuits especially in our days, in the permanent attitude of reflection, in the light of faith. It is essential component of a genuine commitment to Jesuit intellectual life which demands a closer integration of spirituality and the intellectual life.’ We should be able to draw enough strength from the well of God’s abundant graces and irrigate our spiritual and intellectual fields for the sole sake of the God’s kingdom. Whatever we do, act and study will by themselves have no direction. They carry no capacity to bring merit unless they are directed and dedicated to the Divine Majesty.
We must strike an impeccable balance between work and worship, contemplatives and action, the call to prayer and the call to apostolic work. Work and worship are the divine engagements with the supreme God. St, Ignatius said ‘seek and sense God in all things’ and labor with him and for him in the vineyard of Christ.’ he acquired a new meaning and relevance to his life. As the sons of Ignatius let us get drowned in the heart and love of Jesus and be soaked in devotion to him through our apostolate.
Today’s world is consumerist. People young and old have plenty of work to do in this globalized world. The internet, cables, television and shopping malls provide burgeoning material needs. We have plenty of choices to make. Among all this how can I be a Jesuit always available? Can the people turn to me for their spiritual needs? Can I be a mirror who reflects the qualities of Jesus? Can I give them the faith, hope and the inner peace of Jesus?
Pope Benedict XVI said to us Jesuits during the GC 35:
“The church needs you, counts on you and continue
To turn to you with confidence, particularly to reach the
Geographical and spiritual places where others do not
Reach or find it difficult to reach,” (allocution.no.2)
I feel the geographical and the spiritual places are those where others do not reach or find difficult to reach. I do not say that Gujarat is now my home where I will live, work and die spreading the ennobling message of God. There is no limit to my Jesuit vocation. My Jesuit call is universal one. I am ready and willing to go to any part of the world for Christ’s mission. As a Jesuit, I am open to the challenging missions where others do not reach. I do not have any definite goals but a soul longing dream to work anywhere under any circumstances.
A Jesuit should aspire to be a saint and a scholar, I am called to be both, a saint and a scholar today. I do my studies faithfully but I need to aim for the ‘magis’ and that is what I am called to do today. Excellence at both studies and spirituality will make my Jesuit vocation a universal one.