Sunday, July 14, 2019

Happy Feast of St. Bonaventure: A true Franciscan Leader after St. Francis of Assisi . Patron of our Maharashtra Province

St. Francis, humble and simple man of God, contemplated and imitated the true and greatest Leader Jesus Christ gives us a model of leadership, a model that is deeply rooted in the gospel. The example that he gave to his followers as a leader was to live our profession as true minors who become servants of each other by following and walking in the footprints of the Master Lord Jesus. St. Bonaventure who was miraculously cured and healed through the intercession of St. Francis followed and imitated the leadership qualities of his mentor St. Francis. He learnt from Francis that one who would lead the friars minor, first and foremost, to be friars minor: to be lesser brothers, humble brothers, servant brother. Influenced and inspired by the Holy Life of Francis and out of love and devotion St. Bonaventure wrote the official biography of St. Francis’s life. The biography is powerful and moving description of the holy life of Francis. 

 We know from this biography that Francis never speaks of those who hold positions of authority in the brotherhood as “superiors,” “abbots” or “priors.”   We learn form the Earlier Rule of Francis that indeed he expressly forbids the use of the above terms among the friars Minor.In 1257, St. Bonaventure was chosen to serve as the superior of the Friars Minor. In this position, which he filled for 17 years, he brought peace and order. His impact was so great that today he is sometimes referred to as the second founder of the Franciscans. Bonaventure as a leader of the friars Minor he simply became “minister and servant of the brothers, keeping strongly in his mind that that the Lord came not to be served, but to serve, and to humbly was the feet of his disciples. 

 As a true leader after St. Francis, Bonaventure worked to preserve a spirit of unity and brotherhood. To promote union and communion among brothers he personally visited the brothers. He as a concerned leader of the future of the Order promoted the true teaching of Francis’ spirituality, intention and charism. He wanted the brothers to interpret the life, message and teaching correctly without leading to divisions and dissensions. Bonaventure learnt from Francis to a parental dimension to his leadership. By his example and guidance he did show that he was a leader with compassionate heart for the brothers. Like Francis Bonaventure was able to adopt a maternal role in guiding the early Franciscan brotherhood. 

 Today the need in the world, Church and Order is to have the leadership qualities that promote the salvation and communion among the groups. We need to emphasize the fraternal and maternal aspects of Franciscan Leadership. Bonaventure teaches us that authority is not exercising power over the others but leading us to a gospel understanding of leadership as humble and hospitable service to one another. From the teaching and leadership of Bonaventure we learn that a leader should and must question himself about his style of leading, guiding and animating. We are leading human beings and not buildings and huge structures.  A true Franciscan leader does not focus on himself or herself but instead focuses on the brothers and sisters, their need, concerns are given priorities in order experience the Love of Jesus. A trueFranciscan leader should be aware and conscious of what he brings to his office by way of strengths and weaknesses, then he knows how to guide and animate the others..  

 The teaching of Francis is loud and clear about authority. He seems to drive home the message that a true leader is humble leader. St. Francis understood humility to be a sober and stable sense of oneself. Franciscan humility could be defined as:  honest self-awareness rooted in God's love.  In his 19th Admonition, Francis writes:  "Blessed is the servant who esteems himself no better when he is praised and exalted by people than when he is considered worthless, simple, and despicable; for what a man is before God, that he is and nothing more.   That last phrase is the key line:  “what a man is before God, that he is and nothing more.”  Francis forgot to add:  “and nothing less.” St. Bonaventure promoted the vision and desire of St. Francis who equated leadership not with power and perks but with humility and selfless service after the example of Christ who stripped himself of privilege.   

 The Franciscans believes firmly that Francis insisted that the friars scrupulously avoid even the appearance of pre-eminence. No one was to be called “prior,” and those who were the “ministers and servants of the other brothers” were to consider themselves no more exalted than domestic help.
The golden words of St. Bonaventure: Whoever wishes to ascend to God must first avoid sin, which deforms our nature; he must pray to receive restoring grace; he must lead a good life, to receive purifying justice; he must meditate, to receive illuminating knowledge; he must practice contemplation, to receive perfecting wisdom. 

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Hampi.....Historical place....Hospet......Karnataka...India

Hampi is one of finest historical sites of ancient age in the world. It was the initial capital city of famous historical Vijayanagara Empire located on the bank of Tungabhadra River about 11 km away from Hospet City.   
 Hampi is a small location covered an area of 25 sq. km. and it is totally bounded by mountains (Anjaneya, Malyavanta and Matanga Hills) by the three sites and rest one site is bordered by Tungabhadra River.

 It is believed by Hindus that Hampi was a kingdom of Monkeys (according to the Ramayana) before Vijayanagara Empire in pre-ancient age (around 1 CE) when the city was known as Kishkindha

 The traditional culture of Hampi will drag your mind to be a witness of this culture and architecture. Hampi was served as capital city of Vijayanagara Empire more over 200 years (around 1336 AD to 1565 AD). 

 Vijayanagara Rulers decorated and designed this city with lots of lovely temples, palaces, market streets and monuments which made this location one of the famous ancient metropolises in India. This super ancient landscape is selected as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.