Monday, March 22, 2010

Man On a Mission -- Nilesh Macwan.

Man on a Mission…..
Sch. Nilesh Y. Macwan SJ
Human Beings are meaning searching animals. In each and every movement one tries to search for a meaning in life. If one loses this essence of finding meaning, then there would perhaps be no difference between a man and an animal. Man is always on a “mission”, in search of his destiny. Let's consider this idea of "mission" by using an archetypal metaphor, drawing from mythology. A mission is a warrior's quest. He carries out the mission of the sacred king (often his "inner king"). A warrior is a man with a focus/task/mission greater than himself. "MISSION" is the totality of his vision and action. Vision shows the possibilities, and action shows tangible expression of that possibility.
Let me introduce to you one such missionary, a boy called Justin (name changed).He is the one among those who stand closest to my understanding of mission. The story begins like this. It was in the month of July when I started my apostolate at Daund, in a small dry and dusty town about 75 km south east of Pune. It is a major railway junction handling trains between north, south and east India. Being a major railway station, you find here abandoned children on the platforms. Most of them have landed up here from other parts of the country. To respond to this peculiar situation the Jesuits started an organization, known as SADDAC (Social Action for the Development of Displaced and Abandoned Children). SADDAC started a shelter (Vishwadeep) for these street children in the year 1999. When I first visited this place, Justin came to me and said “Good evening brother” and disappeared. Justin, a tall and fair boy was in neat and tidy clothes. Shy and soft spoken, he caught my attention. After a few visits, I knew more about Justin. One evening he told me about his life. He was an orphan without any relatives or friends. He wandered aimlessly almost the whole of India. After a long pause he told me “Brother I would like to do some job as soon as I finish my study. I inquired about his eagerness for a job. I asked “What will you do with that job?” The answer was short and simple “I would like to help orphan boys in my own little way.” The most striking thing in what Justin said was his positive attitude towards life and an awareness of his mission. In spite of his dreadful experiences of the world, he was resolute enough to serve the world.
Rev. Fr. Kolvenbach writes “A stable monastery does not serve us, because we have received the entire world to tell about good news….. We do not close ourselves up in the cloister, but we remain in the world amid the multitude of men and women that the Lord loves, since they are in the world.”
These words resound the spirituality of our founding Father Ignatius. I would like to emphasize on the three aspects as our mission and vision.
1.Our Mission is Mission of God
Fundamental for the life and mission of every Jesuit is an experience that places him, quite simply with Christ at the heart of the world. St Ignatius writes down his personal experience with God in his Spiritual Exercise, (23 and 27) ‘human beings are created to praise, reverence, and serve god our lord… we ought to desire and choose only that which is more conducive to the end for which we are created.” I believe God gives us the mission throughout our life. It is left to us to receive it. As descendants of Abraham, we all are entitled to a rich inheritance. We must make the decision to believe first that God’s mission is here, and then have faith and patience to receive it. God wants us to be successful and prosper, but not for ourselves; He wants us to receive His blessing through faith and his work of, spreading the Gospel to all.
2. Sent to a Broken World
As Antony, Suresh, or Raju the platform children with whom I worked, I am essentially open to “other”: to other human person. This relation can be projected in two ways : (1) When I see others as an “object” for my own self gratification. Especially this happens in a “broken world” where I judge a person according to his job and use him or her only for my personal benefit. I treat a sweeper as dirt, instead of treating him as a person who is working in dirt!
(2) When I look at others through the eyes of St Ignatius who writes in spiritual exercise (97 & 98) “those who desire to show greater devotion and to distinguish themselves in total service to their eternal king and universal lord will not only offer their person for labor but go further still. They will work against their human sensitivity and against their carnal and worldly love and they will make offering of greater worth and moment and say: eternal Lord of all things I make my offering, with your favor and help.” This is the mission which our holy father Ignatius gives us to involve ourselves in the broken world. It is our responsibility to give identity to human as subject not as object. And also make people more human and more alive.
GC 35 D 2 writes “At La Storta Ignatius received the grace from the lord to be placed with his son, his son bearing the cross and so he and his companions were drawn into the son’s pattern of life, with its joy and with its sufferings. Similarly today the society, in carrying out its mission, experiences the companionship of the lord and the challenge of the cross.”
3. To the Frontier
Frontier is a dynamic word which shows us the site of change and of newness. The word “Frontier” was borrowed into English from French in the 15th century with the meaning "borderland," the region of a country that fronts on another country. The use of frontier meant "a region at the edge of a settled area" It is not always easy to be at the frontier. To be at the the frontier demands a lots of courage. You don’t know what you are going to encounter. A Jesuit, who is a restless human spirit, finds man always as a frontier. Being at frontier he always keeps yearning for what Ignatius described as “The Magis”. As Jesuits we are on a great dream to reconstruct and redefine. A Jesuit is the one keeps striving for more.
GC 35 states this spirit of Magis in a phrase- “The fire that kindle other fires.” We have to try and cross all confines and fearlessly accept our mission. We are the fires called to show a great light to the people who are in darkness.

Friday, March 12, 2010

3 Days retreat on the principle and Foundation--Kamlesh Raval

3 Days Retreat on the Principle and Foundation.
Day 1
Bhajan: Ishware Duniya Banavi Duniya Sundar Banavi
Topic: Human beings are created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by means of doing this to save their souls.
Grace: That I may begin to respect the creation.
Gen Ch: 1 God my creator
Is 49:15-16 “Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands…
Reflection: we know and are sure that God has created us and takes care of us in each moment of our life and hence the only task we have is to respect that love of god in serving our brothers and sisters in whatever little way we can. We can serve and praise god through our fellow human beings.
Prayer or Mantra: “You are precious in my eyes and I love you” we listen these words from God whispering in our ears.
Day 2
Bhajan: Gamtu Madyu to bhai bhedu na kariye
Theme: The other things on the face of the earth are created for the human beings, to help them in the pursuit of the end for which they are created. From this it follows that we ought to use these things to the extent that they help us toward our end, and free ourselves from them to the extent that they hinder us from it.
Grace: that I may receive the gift of discernment.
Gen 2:15-17
Matthew 25:14-30 The parable of the Talents
Reflection: God has made us in his image and likeness. He gave us everything which he could. He even gave away his only begotten son for us. But how have we responded to the generosity of God? Adam-Eve were tempted and they disobeyed God. The slave who was given one talent went and hid it in the ground.
When I do not use the gift given by my friend, I am insulting that friend in the same way I am insulting God when I do not use the created things for the end for which they are created.
Prayers: I may appreciate and use every creation IN SO it helps me to move towards God and to Grow more as a loving person.
Day 3
Bhajan: Maru Rakshan Karjo Prabhuji
Theme: we need to become indifferent to all created things. On our own part we ought not to seek health rather than sickness, wealth rather than poverty, honor rather than dishonor, a long life rather than a short one, and so on in all other matter. Rather we ought to desire and choose only that which is more conducive to the end for which we are created.
Grace: I may encounter all creations as having their origin in God, being poured out as gifts upon me, and returning to Him, to whom all ultimately belong.
Job 1:13-22 “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thee; the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”
Reflection: We are living in the world of materialism wherein everybody is busy collecting things and here we have a great servant of God who teaches us a lesson to keep trust in God the giver of all things.
Prayer: “In him we live and move and have our being”.
By kamlesh Raval

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Poverty, Common Life and Simplicity of life - Sanjay Aind

Poverty, Common life and Simplicity of Life
Sch. Sanjay D. Aind S.J.
Through official letters and reports of Fr. General Pedro Arrupe, it has come to light that, at present, there seems to be a serious problem with regard to the vow of poverty in the Society of Jesus. This is a matter of serious consideration.
There have been various things coming in the way of the practice of poverty – lack of faith, confidence and trust in the divine power, poor spiritual life, and scattered promises of poverty.
In spite of all that, though, in several places there are some Jesuits who have been living the vow of poverty with great generosity, thus giving us good example. On the other hand, there are those too, who have been giving various reasons or excuses as to why they cannot practice poverty in a fuller sense. Yet, that is not the real face of the simplicity and poverty of the Society of Jesus.
Relating the significance of simplicity of life in poverty, Ignatius of Loyola wrote to his men in Padua, “Whoever loves poverty should be glad to be poor; glad to go hungry, to be badly clothed, and to lie on a hard bed. For if someone loves poverty but avoids penury, following poverty only from afar, is that not to be comfortably poor? Surely that is to love the reputation rather than the reality of poverty; to love poverty in words but not in deed.”
It means to say that simplicity of life is the language of poverty in the Society of Jesus. For that matter, everyone in the community should come out as an inspiration and help for one another. Our vows are not just words to be kept, but a style of religious life. Consequently, simplicity of life is the measurement of poverty as well as a help to keep and strengthen the spirit within oneself and the communities.
There seems to occur a problem in the simplicity of our life due to personal inclinations, selfish motives, and to some extent, the present consumerism society. The trap is that we are working in such a society where there are lots of facilities that our mind desperately longs for. In this critical situation we must ask ourselves that “how many and which things are the ones that I need and the ones that I do not need or wish?”
Indeed, the root of the simplicity of our life is hidden in its spiritual dimension. In this way we can strengthen ourselves in our personal life as well as mission entitled to us. Desire for worldly pleasures, facilities, attachment to various things, respect, honour, a respectable position in the society and so on have to be curbed, or rather, to detach ourselves from all these things. This is a very important task for all of us to do constantly.
To make our simplicity of life more effective, besides sharing thoughts and experiences in the community, we need to share material things as well, defining fraternal charity. Since we desire to share our life with the poor, it is quite fitting to say that we must share our life with our own companions in our respective communities.
The secret of faith and experience of life in poverty is entitled in Jesus Christ. The best example of a complete faith experience is Jesus Christ himself. He not only sacrificed his whole self, but he lived a real life of a poor man.
Poverty, indeed, is a Gospel Mystery. To understand this we need to love our Lord Jesus Christ with our whole heart. Faith is the inspirational power to love Christ and follow him. Therefore, keep faith. The Holy Spirit himself teaches us everything that the heavenly delight is hidden in the imitation of Christ’s poverty. This is one of the essentials of the Ignatian Charism, that is, ‘to be placed with the Son’. In other words, if we desire to follow and imitate Christ we need to be poor like him, poor in spirit as well as in material sense.
The secret of the true experience of life in poverty is a matter of experiential knowledge. To understand this we need to have a deep personal experience of poverty. Fr. Pedro Arrupe writes, “I have never seen more union and happiness in any other community or experience a deeper liberty of Spirit and joy. In these periods of my life – Expulsion, Suspected spy, Hiroshima Bombing – I learnt for myself how little man needs to lead a joyful life.”
Witness of the first Fathers in the Formula of the Institute ‘Life moved to evangelical poverty’ is more gratifying, undefiled and suitable for edification. Every Jesuit is supposed to lead the life of poverty with whole mind and heart, in poverty but not in destitution. He needs to have and use only what is strictly necessary for life and work, renouncing superfluities.
The advantages of the Life of simplicity and poverty are in abundance. Interior liberty which is quite unique in itself, listening to the voice of the conscience at instant, inner readiness for anything, that is, availability and mobility Spirituality, which is joyful, vigorous, and virile, apostolic efficacy and Credibility give a push to the life of simplicity and poverty.
Therefore, have a preference for the poor, as Christ had. Be active among the poor, share your life with them, and help them to help themselves. For that matter, first learn from them what poverty really means. In the day-to-day life, experience at least some of the effects of poverty. Have the aim of bringing about a change in the unjust social structures. That is the Solidarity with the poor – the union with the divine and Supreme God – based on Christ’s love. Thus, our personal, inner faith experience, the experience of Christ’s love, is the answer to the rising questions and difficulties in our life of poverty. We need to feel and acquire that spiritual liberty which brings us closer to the Master.