Friday, April 2, 2010

My Jesuit Vocation---Anoob Mattekadan

My Jesuit Vocation- A Call To Universality.

A Vocation is a unique gift from God to each and every person. One’s vocation is a two-way gift. It is priceless gift of God for each individual and the affirmative response is one’s gift to God. Jesuit vocation is a loving response to the invitation of the Eternal King, and a Jesuit offers himself to the King. The will of the King is to conquer the whole world and all his enemies, so the vocation of a Jesuit is a universal vocation. It is a call to be with Him and to be sent away on a mission.
My Jesuit vocation is an apostolic vocation. He sends his apostles to the world as the sheep among the wolves. Jesus tells his apostles to be as shrewd as serpents and as innocent as doves. A Jesuit should be a scholar and it is inevitable for him to have the knowledge of the world, where he lives. Life is a challenge for each Jesuits for his call is to be a person in the world but not of the world.
The modern world thirsts for justice and search for the real truth. The world is filled with injustice; racism, cast system, child labour and human trafficking are still remains as the realities in the third millennium. There are people and organizations fighting against these injustices. Each Jesuit has the responsibility to fight against these evil.
The Society was established with the prime purpose of defending and propagating faith. The Jesuits should lead men towards God and the Truth. Social injustice and inequalities still rule the world, there are inter and intra religious tensions, crimes against children and women are rising day by day. To bring Justice and truth to the people is a universal task and it’s a challenge for me and each and every Jesuits.
Globalisation creates many rich and poor in the world. The rich becomes richer and the poor, the poorer. Modern sophisticated instruments and machines and computers make more people jobless. The increasing prices of food and other necessities make the condition of the poor still miserable sometime even one meal at a day is out of question for many people. Poverty in the South Asian and African countries are global issue. To feed a hungry stomach is not and easy, by the Jesuit vocation I am called to face that challenge.
Modern political scenario of the world is alarming. Most of the modern politicians and political parties are least bothered about the welfare of the citizens. Their ultimate aim is to obtain power and profit. Politics is no more a service but it is a business. The world is divided by wars and conflicts. Terrorism has become a threat for the humanity. Communal violence continues to disturb the peace and tranquility of life all around. Jesuits are sent to this world to preach the Good News of Peace.In the world I am a carrier of peace.
From the origin, the society has always worked for the betterment of the whole world, and continues the same work zealously, by adapting the changes suitable to the modern times. The upliftment of the poor and marginalized has ever been a prime concern of the Society. Wherever I am, as a Jesuit I have the responsibility towards these unfortunate human beings.The so called ‘main-stream cultures’ have become a threat to the ancient and valuable indigenous cultures. The Society has become their voice in their state of being voiceless. Preservation of cultures is necessary to keep the marvelous cultural diversity of the world. The Society helps the endangered cultures to keep up their originality and richness. Inculturation has ever been a part of the society’s mission, since its beginning; Matteo Ricci in China, De Nobili in India, ‘Reductions’ in Latin America are few examples. For the effective mission and for better relation with the people the Jesuits adapts the lifestyle and cultures of the people whom they work with.
The Jesuits are known as the educators of Europe; not only in Europe but in other continents too the Jesuits had been the pioneers and establishers of good educational institutions. To live a dignified life education is necessary, education is a pathway to successful life and knowledge, and it is also the most important factor in building up a better human world. The Jesuit education has its own peculiarities. Jesuit educational institutions educate persons not only for attaining knowledge, Jesuit education educates the persons to live life for others and create responsible persons who contribute for the progress of the nation and humanity. I have to live my life fully for God and others and I have the responsibility to teach others to live for one another.
Jesuit vocation is also a pastoral vocation. Jesuit has the responsibility to lead the people to God. The ideal of each Jesuit is none other than Jesus the Good Shepherd. A Good Shepherd is ready to sacrifice his life for his sheep. The Society has many brave sons who sacrificed their life for Christ and His people, to defend faith and to propagate the Good News. I am called to sacrifice my life for others.
The Vows of poverty chastity and obedience makes me more free and gives me the real freedom to live my life fully for God and others. The vows help me to discern the will of God more clearly. Through the special vow of obedience to the Pope the Society submits herself to the Pope, to be sent anywhere for the mission. The Society remains ever loyal to the church.
The General congregation 35 was an inspirational moment for he whole Society of Jesus. Like the earlier Popes, the present Pope too said the following words “the church needs you, counts on you and continue to turn toward you with confidence”. From the beginning of one’s Jesuit life till the end of the last breath, his spirit of Magis leads him on. ‘For the Greater Glory of God’ is his motto. As the church admits our contribution it also challenges the Society and each Jesuit to reach the geographical and spiritual places where others so not reach of find it difficult to reach.
St. Ignatius has left us a great legacy of the Spiritual Exercises. The Spiritual Exercises continue to give strength, courage and zeal to the Jesuits and man others in the world. The strength from the Spiritual Exercises enables the Jesuits to be selfless in this selfish world. And it provides the energy to live in the world but not be of the world. As an Apostle of Christ and a son of Ignatius I have the duty to spread the word of God as well as the power of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola in the world.
Media are the best way to educate and enlighten the minds and hearts of the people. The word of God can be effectively spread through the modern communicative media. The audio- visuals, Internet services and mobile phones brought a dynamic change to the world. Communication has become simpler and more effective. The Jesuit institutions do tremendous work to spread the Good News and the Kingdom values through the modern media. The younger generations of Jesuits are invited to do more in these areas and I feel that it is a challenge for the Jesuits.
General Congregation 34 initiated the process of Collaboration. The Society has achieved better results through collaboration in various fields such as Social Work, Refugee Service, Social Action and Education. The inter provincial and intra provincial collaboration would help the Society to become more unified and to reap richer harvests in its missions. Collaboration with other organizations, other congregations, laity and the people of other faith would enable the Society to reach the areas we have not yet reached and to bring out the best in others and in ourselves.
The mission of the Society is always aimed at the Kingdom of God. Even though a particular mission is focused in a certain locality, that is only a part of the universal mission of the Society. Even as a scholastic when I study ‘for the Greater Glory of God’, I contribute to the universal mission of the Society as best as can. If I am a man of discernment I am never bound by any law, but only by the law inscribed by the Holy Spirit in my heart. The vows present me the true exterior and interior freedom and make me available to any one at any time for Christ’s Mission.
As a missionary, I may not be able to live long but I can live my life fully for God and for His people. There may be oppositions, sometimes even from my own fellow brethren but if I am convinced of God’s will nothing would be able to stop me. As a Jesuit I should be always obedient to my superiors, and I should be a man who sees God in my Superiors. My obedience is not a ‘blind obedience’. My obedience would be obedience to the will of God through proper discernment. The people of the world may cause harm to my life, while I do the will of God, but I would be ever loyal to my Mission and Christ. The reward may be losing of my life but it would be a gain for my soul. The Society gave the church numerous martyrs and saints. My Jesuit vocation is a call to sainthood too; if it is God’s will it’s a call to be a martyr. The saints and martyrs have ever yielded richer fruits for the universal Church. They are the precious possession of the Universal Church.
Each Jesuit has the responsibility to make the world a better place for others and then for him. I have to be a channel of love of God and I have to love the world as Jesus loved. Whatever I do in the world should be the result of my love for the world, and then they would bear much fruit.
The world projects individualism, secularism, hedonism, as great qualities to follow. But as a Jesuit I have to challenge the world and humbly prove to the world that these are wrong but humility, love and service are the qualities, which makes the world a better place to live.
As a young Jesuit, I may have the qualities to attract youth. There are tremendous strength and potentialities hidden in the youth, if they are channelised in a constructively, there can be marvelous results. My responsibility includes building up better youth, wherever I am. Teaching catechism to the children is one of the chief duties of the Jesuits. I am responsible for creating the future. I have the responsibility to impart the knowledge of faith and Gospel to my younger brothers and sisters.
I may not be able to do everything at a time. But what I can do for Christ is to take up the assigned task as Jesus would take up and fulfill the task as Jesus would, with the help of Jesus. During my formation and later, I may have to struggle, I may have to face challenges and I may feel helpless. But always I have to turn towards God, for He is the ultimate source of my life and my strength. Whatever I am doing at present or in future are not because of my own strength, but by the strength of God. He gives me the strength so that I may serve others those who are in need. And my Jesuit Vocation invites me to pray with St. Ignatius of Loyola, “Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous; teach me to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labour and not to seek reward, except that of knowing that I do your will. Amen.”
Anoob Mattekadan

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