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.

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