Thursday, March 31, 2016

On Way to India........Chapters of Karnataka and Pavanatma.....Final profession preparatory course

It was not so easy to leave the Curia after one and half months stay in the Curia. It was wonderful to stay long in Curia and then get into the rhythm of the Curia life. These days were days of celebration and festivities. The councillors most of them have already left for their ministry in the provinces. The General Minister in Bulgaria, returning today. The life in curia is so nice with a lot of fraternal moments. We get practically everyday guests friars from all over the world.

I am on way to attend two chapters and one course of the final profession preparatory course at Kotagiri. Three hectic weeks and full of activities and work. I am sure that it is going to be a wonderful experience out in India. 

While watching cricket game yesterday between India and West India, i concluded that it is up to the hard work and confidence that one can overcome any hurdles. It looked like the West Indians were going to lose the match but one or two guys with confidence, attentions, concentration and self-belief that led them to a glorious victory over much talked about Indians. The Indian team did play well under the leadership of Dhoni. But somewhere the over self confidence can let you down. You got to go into the moment. Live the moment till you come to an end. The moments were right and everything seems to going in your favour and then one or two events breaks all your confidence. There have been many people who have experienced these moments and gone nowhere. It is always good to evaluate certain actions and words of ours which we take for granted. We feel that it is not going to harm me anyways as i have been doing it for ages. The right moment comes to teach us that God is great and He rules the world.....We are nothing but a morning flower that blooms.....Let us be always be bloomed so that the fragrance remains throughout the day....Let no way we should control the moments but let those moments teach us something for our lives......

Visitators to Curia

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Easter Wednesday in Curia

On this third day of Easter Octave, are you still languishing away in the tomb?  Why do we remain in the tomb when the Lord has removed the stone away?  Christ is risen but we are not!
That was the case of the downcast disciples at Emmaus.   Why were they sad?  They were disillusioned and had lost all hope.  With the death of Jesus, their only hope had been snuffed out.  They said, “Our own hope had been that he would be the one to set Israel free.”  Hence, we read that they were moving away from Jerusalem like downtrodden and crushed soldiers retreating to a village called Emmaus.  They could not integrate the death of Jesus in their lives, especially the death of a good man and the expected Messiah.  With His tragic death, all plans collapsed.  Not only could they not make sense of His unjust death but they also heard some strange happenings like the sighting of Jesus and the empty tomb
This is true for many of us. We cannot integrate pains and sorrows in our life, especially when we suffer tragedy, the loss of a loved one in death, accident, or a betrayal of friendship, particularly if it was our own spouse or our ungrateful children.  At times, we suffer an expected illness that has no cure or even terminal.  In such moments, we feel paralyzed, like the man who was crippled from birth.  It must have been a terrible feeling not being able to walk since birth.  He had to rely on some goodwill people daily to carry him to the Temple entrance “so that he could beg from the people going in.”   We can presume that he would have often blamed God for his woes, which were no fault of his own.  He could have cursed his parents for giving birth to him.  He could have continued the blame game and wallowed in self-pity.  Thus, when he saw Peter and John, it was with expectant eyes that he looked at them.  He was looking for hope.   We would probably have acted the same way had we been in the same situation.  That is why we are still in our tomb of self-pity, resentment, anger and frustration.
At times, it could be the joys that we experience as well.  We read that when the people saw the crippled man healed, they too could not understand.  The most regrettable moment of an atheist is when he experiences something incredibly beautiful in his life; it could be a miraculous healing, a beautiful sunset or an experience of unconditional love, but he has no one to direct his praise and thanks. At least for the psalmist, when he experienced the mercy and love of God, he could sing and say, “Give thanks to the Lord, tell his name, make known his deeds among the peoples. O sing to him, sing his praise; tell all his wonderful works!”
Indeed, when we are not able to integrate our joys, we cannot be grateful and we do know whom to thank.  If we are not grateful for what we have, we will not be happy in life.  Only grateful people are happy people because they see everything they have as a blessing, a bonus and a grace; not their entitlement.   Furthermore, we will also miss out on the mystery and the love of God as proclaimed in the responsorial psalm.  The Israelites recognized the wonders of God in all things.  They say, “Be proud of his holy name, let the hearts that seek the Lord rejoice. Consider the Lord and his strength; constantly seek his face.  O children of Abraham, his servant, O sons of the Jacob he chose. He, the Lord, is our God: his judgements prevail in all the earth.  He remembers his covenant forever, his promise for a thousand generations, the covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac.”   They knew that everything is by the mercy of God.
So it is important that we learn how to integrate both pains and joys in our lives and see it in the context of God’s plan for us if we are to live a meaningful and purposeful life.   
How then can we find meaning in life, whether in our pains or sorrows?  We need to seek the Lord! The psalmist says, “Let the hearts that seek the Lord rejoice.”  Like the crippled man, we need to look towards the Lord.  “Both Peter and John looked straight at him and said, ‘Look at us’. He turned to them expectantly, hoping to get something from them.”  Instead of looking to the world for solution like the disciples, with eyes looking down, we must turn to the Lord instead.
How is this done if not through the scriptures?  The meaning and direction of life is found in the Word of God.  “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”  (2 Tim 3:16)  In the final analysis, all scriptures refer to Christ who is the Word of God. All scriptures must be read in such a way that it points to Christ, whether we are reading the Old or the New Testament.  So if we want to find the Risen Lord and His direction for us in life, we only need to turn to the scriptures.  We need to contemplate on His passion and resurrection to find strength in life.
Indeed, in the scriptures, the Risen Lord continues to speak to us.   “Then they said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?’”   He enlightens us on the truth of life.  He helps us to see that the pain in our life is part of the process of God’s redemptive work.   God is triumphant and He is in control. Most of all, He will help us understand that everything works for our good to those who have faith in Him.   So in joy and sorrow, the Lord is with us.  Even in those moments when we feel His absence, He is in truth carrying the cross for us.  Otherwise, we will not have the strength to do so.  With Jesus, nothing is impossible for those who believe.  It was this faith that enabled St Peter to heal the crippled man.

What is the sign that we are integrated?  When we begin to tell our stories!  This is what we read about the disciples.  “They set out that instant and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven assembled together with their companions, who said to them, ‘Yes, it is true. The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.’ Then they told their story of what had happened on the road.” Truly, when we find meaning and are able to integrate our pains in our lives, then we will be filled with joy like the disciples at Emmaus and the apostles.  We would want to go out and announce the Good News too.  For them, it meant that they were no more ashamed or sorry that Jesus died but they came to realize that the death of Jesus was but God’s way to reveal His true glory for humanity to see.   Like the crippled man, we too can jump and shout for joy. When we are healed, we will no longer be ashamed of our failures, or our mistakes and past because we know that through all these trials, we have become wiser, stronger and better.   Rather, like St Paul we could boast of our past.
And what is the best place to tell our story if not at the Eucharist?  We read that the disciples came to recognize Christ at the breaking of bread. “Now while he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognised him; but he had vanished from their sight.”  For what is the Eucharist, if not the commemoration of His passion and resurrection, the paschal mystery of our Lord? So in the celebration of the Eucharist, we remember once again the love of Christ in His passion and the wonderful miracle of the resurrection.  This gives us courage and hope, especially in our trials and difficult moments of life.   In the Eucharist, we celebrate the dying and rising, the integration of death and life.
Yet, it is significant that both the Word of God and the Sacrament of the Eucharist are not to be disconnected.  Word and Sacrament must always go together. The liturgy of the Word and the Eucharist comprise a single celebration.  Without the Word, the events are meaningless.  But if there is no event, the Word is empty.  What we hear, we must also experience as well.  What is experienced must be understood.  Emmanuel Kant once said, “Thoughts without content are empty; intuitions without conceptions blind.”  Indeed, words without experience are empty and experience without words is blind.  Indeed, in celebrating the Eucharist, the Lord comes close to us both in word and deed.   “When they drew near to the village to which they were going, he made as if to go on; but they pressed him to stay with them. ‘It is nearly evening’ they said ‘and the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them.”

Written by The Most Rev William Goh Roman Catholic Archbishop of Singapore © All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Easter Tuesday.......

The friars from Curia who had gone for some Easter Ministry are returning now.....The General Minister along with the Vicar General left for Bulgaria this morning for a canonical visit. They left this morning.....most of the Councilors are already in their respective areas....I am getting ready to fly to India for the Chapters in Karnataka and Pavanatma........The climate here in Italy is very is primavera......beautiful....
Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she bent down to look inside; she saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head, and the other at the feet. They said, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She answered, “Because they have taken my Lord and I don’t know where they have put him.”

As she said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not recognize him. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?” She thought it was the gardener and answered him, “Lord, if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and remove him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him, “Rabboni” – which means, Master.  Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me; you see I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them: I am ascending to my Father, who is your Father, to my God, who is your God.”

So Mary of Magdala went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord, and this is what he said to me.” 

How many times have we failed to recognize the presence of the Lord in our lives?  More often than not, when things do not go our way, our immediate reaction is to think that God has abandoned us.  We let our emotions and anxiety take over.  We forget to pray.  We even blame God for what seems to be a setback.  We lose faith. Then, as our senses return and we are able to think better, we discover that it was actually a blessing in disguise.  We had to face the trial to enable us to become better people and to achieve a better ending.  Only then did we realize that "it was the Lord!"   

Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter in Padova.............

The brothers of Mons. Gino.....they all look alike.....

She is the mother of the Parish priest....she is 92 and still going strong....dancing like a queen....sings like an opera singer....

The Tridum celebration....well organised....the laity play a big conducting the liturgy 
The Tridum

Don Luigi and Don is a hospital chaplain and Luigi is a retired priests...devotes his time for the confessions...a good singer...

some of the senior retired priests....they sit for confessions....every day four hours.....

The dean conducted the Housie Housie games.......

The family get together began at 7pm and ended at midnight....can imagine what a gala time we had...this is typical Italian family celebrations.....they really celebrate the feasts.....eating and drinking....chatting....young and old....sharing their experiences...

Easter evening the parish priest invited me to his family for the dinner....we were about 32 of us...his entire family was together.....we played....sang and danced....his mother who is 92 years old....she was a dancer earlier and she danced to the tune of Bollywood songs which i sang for them...

All the priests of the deanery gathered together for the Holy Thursday celebration.....we had a very good lunch and at the end we played Tombola.....