Sunday, August 18, 2019

One More Capuchin Mission under Water!!!!!

~For last five years the diocese of Aurangabad has given us a mission place on the bank of Godavari river....every year when the river is full in monsoon then the water comes into our compound...but this year the release of the water from a close by dam saw that the whole area was under water and it took 5 days for the water to recede.....our friars were quick to shift their belongings to the first floor of the friary...the ground floor was completely under water....the water touched the ceiling...the kitchen and refectory furniture got spoiled....it is now beyond use....the doors have become soft due to five days being under water...
 The fraternity of Capuchin Ashram Nashik and me visited the friars....there are two friars....five hours drive.....

 Friary and church dedicated to Mother Teresa...

 This waster remained on the ground.....after water receding
 The Altar was totally under water.....above the blessed sacrament

Life is bouncing back
 Vegetable cultivation all destroyed....





Friday, August 16, 2019

Capuchin Friary under water in Sangli, Maharashtra

Maharashtra witness floods in some parts of the state and life was thrown out of gear…lives and live-stock was lost….many lost houses and crops…all their belongings were washed away….life was not normal and flood played havoc and ravaged everything…flood waters threw human Life on a slow track and normalcy was not seen at all. The army played a big lion’s role in helping and supporting people to accept the reality. Water was not receding for four days and then slowly began inching back to normalcy.

Since last 7 years we are working in Sangli district under the diocese of Pune....we have a farm house and Br. Dominic is in charge of the farm....the floods destroyed the standing crop of sugar cane and other vegetables....he lost all his personal and fraternity belongings ...washed away....we paid a visit to him....he was visibly disturbed and sad.....

Thursday, August 15, 2019

BE PROUD TO BE AN INDIAN AND PROUD TO BE SON OF MOTHER MARY

Today India celebrates 73rd Independence Day, a day of joy and celebration...a proud moment for Indians...last 73 years the nation has progressed..innumerable achievements in all the sectors...education and computer science....technology etc....it has happened due to the selfless leaders of the past...who have given their total life for the development of India as a nation....today everyone refers to India its because of its rich heritage and culture....I am proud to be an Indian....

I am also proud to be a son of Mother Mary.....she is a great model for all of us, model of humility and obedience....model of trusting the Lord....When Pius XII defined the dogma of the Assumption, it was a cause of great joy throughout the Catholic world. Believed for centuries, it entered the realm of official Catholic dogma. Our Lady is brought to heaven to share in the glory and joy of her Son and our Lord.

We have always looked to Mary as our mother, and so the feast of the Assumption continues to fill us with happiness. She is with Christ, and she is our mother more than ever. We entrust ourselves to her in the same way that Pope John Paul the Great did, “Totus Tuus.”

 Proud people are generally very focused on whatever serves their best interests. So “scattering” is a perfect verb to use to indicate what happens to the proud when God goes into action. Mary rejoices in that “scattering,” but who are the proud?

Saturday, August 10, 2019

ST. CLARE OF ASSISI: BECOME WHAT WE LOVE



Since February 2019 I have been preaching and giving Classes to the Franciscan Clarists, Perpetual Adoration Monasteries and there are 14 Monasteries in India. These days while speaking about Saints Clare and Francis and their charism and spirituality I have discovered many aspects, which are so very useful and valid to live our call in the Church. The first thing that we discover is the Conversion stories of both of them. Stories are dramatic but true and a lot of hagiographical work can be seen in presenting them to the readers. But in the conversion of Clare it is clear that she leaves the secular life and its values in order to dedicate and totally be available to the Lord. She consecrates herself to the living God whom she experienced as humble, poor and crucified Lord. 

One of her greatest teachings is to become what we love. If we love Jesus then become like Him and Imitate Him to perfection by living the Gospel way of Life. She teaches today to become listening because there is a great and urgent need of listening to one another. The second felt need is to Become Love because Love is not loved in the society and world at large. Prayer is the strongest weapon but we need to become Prayer and not just mutter and utter words. We have a lot of freedom but spiritual freedom is disappearing so she is inviting us to Become free children of God. Life is not respected, killing Life is become the order of the day, so Become Life and witness to it. Become Blessing to all irrespective caste, creed and religion. God blesses us to bless those unfortunate ones.

The consecration understood by Clare mean that she willingly and freely offered herself for a complete change of values, heart and mind. This turning to the Lord was the fruit of her devotion and commitment to the Lord from her childhood. This inner change of heart and mind led her without fear to leave her home and give up all the luxuries of life to accept the life of penance and poverty. She leaves her home and family through the backdoor of the house to symbolically convey her death to the family. In Assisi olden days a dead body was taken to the Church for funeral rites through the backdoor.

Clare was born in 1193-94, in a noble family, in Assisi. Her father was Favarone di Offreduccio di Bernardino, and her mother's name was Ortolana. Clare of Assisi (1193-1253) can be defined as the feminine expression of the ideals of Francis of Assisi. Her name means "the enlightened one"'. Her life was often seen against the background of the radical Gospel ideals of Francis. It is only since 1953, and during the 8th centenary of her birth in 1993-94 that Clare has emerged as a unique contribution to the ideals of Francis. Clare often called herself "the little plant of the most blessed Francis" (Rule I,3; Testament 37. 49). Her ideals matched those of Francis, but they are the expression of an authentically female approach to the Gospel, and radical evangelical living.

St. Francis and his brothers were a big source of inspiration and example of living a total commitment to the Lord and she experienced and became aware of the fresh and soul stirring ideals of them. The intense desire to be follower of this new movement led her to give up her nobility and embrace a way of poverty and Gospel way of living. Before taking a bold step of leaving her home she had series of meeting and spiritual encounters with Francis. Francis led her to reflect on the seriousness of her desire to follow Crucified Lord and the guidance and consent of the Bishop of Assisi Clare decided firmly and freely to choose a life of radical evangelical poverty. During the night of Palm Sunday, Clare escaped from her family's home in Assisi and hurried down to the Porziuncola, where Francis gave her the habit of penance at the feet of the altar of the Virgin Mary of the Angels. That same night Clare was escorted to the Benedictine monastery of San Paolo in Bastia Umbra, where she was protected by papal interdict against possible intrusion by her family to take her back home by force. Francis then sent Clare and Agnese to the small church of San Damiano and gave them a Form of Life, which is the basis of the Rule of St. Clare. San Damiano was to be the place where Clare lived a cloistered contemplative life, until the day of her death in 1253. Clare and her Sisters were the product of Francis' evangelical initiative. They were so close to the Friars Minor that they were also known by the name "Lesser Sisters". Their way of life was a cloistered one, but not in the style of the old monastic Orders. The cloister at San Damiano was more spiritual than material. 

The Poor Ladies were quite unlike other female religious movements, in the sense that they had no property. The Privilege of Poverty could be seen as the characteristic note of Clare and the Poor Ladies. The reason for this insistence upon voluntary radical poverty lay in the fact that the Church was continually insisting that Clare and the Sisters accept a more stable way of life according to the canons of monastic Orders. This would have included property in common. Clare resolutely refused this condition, she continued to insist, and went even as far as taking the initiative of writing a Rule modelled upon the Later Rule of the Friars Minor. Clare's ideals travelled far and wide, especially with the help of the first Franciscan missionaries to northern Europe. 

Clare was frail in physical health. Since 1224 she was always ill at San Damiano. As the day of her death approached, Clare twice received the visit of Pope Innocent IV himself and begged him to approve her Rule. This he did on 9 August 1253. Two days later, on 11 August, Clare died at San Damiano. St. Clare taught to her sisters that they should become what they contemplate, that is to become like Christ Crucified. She wrote to Sr. Agnes: Place your mind before the mirror of eternity! Place your soul in the brilliance of glory! Place your heart in the figure of divine substance! And transform your whole being into the image of the Godhead itself through contemplation.  
  
                                                            
    The spirituality of St. Clare appears to be monastic but not exactly like the classical monastic life where one gave importance to path of ascent or overcoming the inferior or evil to achieve spiritual superiority and holiness. There was no thought in Franciscan spirituality of escaping from the World to find God but be in the world and through service experience the Lord of the Universe. In her spiritual quest she journey with Francis. Clare like Francis emphasized on Incarnation of Jesus Christ as the foundation and starting point of her spirituality. She taught and wrote that every child of God must see goodness in creation and God can be found in the world if one is immersed and part of the Creation. 

St. Clare teaches us that Jesus reveals His totality of Love if we are willing to desire and aspire for that divine love. Once we experience that Love of Jesus then heaven is not experienced as a place out there, but being in a relationship of Love with the Trinity. This love leads to accept and experience everything that exists is dependent on and uniquely loved by the Father and called into relationship. She experienced that no human imperfection outweighs God’s love and embrace – we are uniquely loved just for being who we are, so the need is to surrender totally to the Lord. 
Happy Feast of St. Clare of Assisi

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Carry the Cross and Not Wear the Cross!!!


Today wearing the Cross around the neck, on wrist or tattoos on the Body is so very common....one may be trying to witness or show his identity of belonging to a Church....today many pop singers hang the cross around the neck and sing the songs which are purely secular in nature and yet times vulgar too.....for many wearing or erecting a cross is a fashion....many devout and faithful Catholics do adore the Cross with Christ....they celebrate annual feast with Novenas and Holy Eucharist...
 Many followers of Christ are willing to stay with Jesus without the Cross and are happy to be His disciples without the Cross in Life....Many run away from the Crosses that come in life...But Jesus has asked us to carry the cross and walk behind him....he has not asked to wear and go about...He wants us to witness to him by suffering like Him....
 There are many Christians that are willing to be friends with Jesus in good times. However, there are very few Christians that are real friends of Jesus, who embrace the cross at all times, even in the bad. Of course, it is never easy to be a friend of the cross, but who wants to be a fair-weather fan of Jesus and his Gospel? Our Christian lives are a constant battle. We should never forget that. We all are tempted to escape from the reality of our situation from time to time. Nevertheless, whoever perseveres until the end will be saved and have a fruitful life. We can’t expect to have a glorious eternity full of celebration and joy if we don’t shed some blood, sweat, and tears here on earth for the sake of Christ and the good of our brothers and sisters. (Taken from priest reflection)
 Our La Verna formation house garden in Pune....
 Its all green after good rains....
 It looks like a paradise .....but a lot of work to weed out the grass...that grows faster than the vegetables...

 St. Francis is happy and joyful to see the Creation dressed up and decked up.....

Monday, August 5, 2019

Let us be Vessels of God's Love and Compassion


The Apostles come with a request to Jesus about the people who have been with them for the whole day for healing and listening to the preaching of Jesus. Some of these people have travelled for many hours....Apostles are sensitive and very human...want to do something for the people but the number is too big....so asking the Lord and provider is not something negative....they have seen and experienced that Jesus is capable of doing something extraordinary.....but not with faith and trust they approach....but they want Jesus to send these people away.....

Jesus shocks them by saying that they themselves to provide...never expected the question and command....apostles are in their own world of narrow mindedness....world of weakness and focusing on the negative side of the life....so deep into their own concerns that they are not able go beyond....don't want to see the blessings and miracles that are around them....

The master is asking them to feed the multitude which is humanly speaking possible and at the same not possible. But when you too much focussed on yourself and the little that you have....you just get frightened and overcome with anxiety.....but the Lord is asking them to go beyond their weakness and littleness.

The apostles were asked to become the vessels of love, sharing and being a human...to look at the need of the others with an open and compassionate heart. The begin to distribute the fruits of love and sharing....vessels always filled with...never empty because when there is love in abundance...the fruits keep pouring in....the miracle takes places because Human person keeps his focus on the good of the other....he is not worried about himself but the other.....other- centredness and not self-centredness....

Friday, August 2, 2019

A wonderful Week - Praying with Francis and Clare in Silence of Kotagiri

A retreat preacher makes his or her retreat with the participants....He follows the program of the retreatants ....the days then move faster and quicker....you come at the end of 8 days with a WOW....last 6 month my feeling and experience has been the same....you get time to pray, rest and read....meditate and listen to the Lord through the participants....the biggest thing that I enjoy is the silence....which allows you to go deeper into yourself....discover the new YOU......

At the end of the retreat the sisters renew their vows .....and being the feast of Portiuncula we had a solemn Eucharist.....from today onwards they will begin the 9 days Novena to St. Clare...



 The Adoration Monastery sisters of Kotagiri taught me a lot of things for last one week....their style of living and praying is very inspiring....
 The Franciscan Brothers have their novitiate in Kotagiri with 50 acres of Tea Garden.....
 On top of the mountain is the Portiuncula replica built....every Wednesday is the Mass and Prayer is conducted....
 From her you can see the small town of Kotagiri

 The tea gardens are well maintained....the only thing that the people grow here....some few vegetables are grown....the weather throughout the year is cool....
The friends of Sisters took me around to visit some few places of Interest.....the was a feast for my eyes....