Friday, 3 December 2010


Second Sunday of Advent
Piazza di Spagna, 8 December 2002
1. "Hail Mary, full of grace!"
Immaculate Virgin, here I am at your feet once again,
full of devotion and gratitude.
I return to this historic Piazza di Spagna
on the solemn day of your feast
to pray for the beloved city of Rome,
for the Church, for the whole world.
In you, "humble and highest of creatures",
divine grace had the full victory over evil.
You are for us, pilgrims on the paths of the world,
the bright model of evangelical fidelity
and the ever-living pledge of sure hope.
2. Virgin Mother, "Salvation of the Roman People!"
Watch over, I pray you, the beloved Diocese of Rome: 
over pastors and faithful, parishes and religious communities.
Watch over families especially: 
may love sealed by the Sacrament ever reign between spouses,
may children walk on the paths of goodness and true freedom,
may the elderly feel surrounded by attention and affection.
Inspire, Mary, in so many young hearts,
generous replies to the "call for the mission",
a subject on which the diocese has
been reflecting over the years.
Thanks to an intense pastoral programme for vocations,
may Rome be enriched by new young forces,
dedicated with enthusiasm to proclaming the Gospel
in the city and in the world.
3. Blessed Virgin, Queen of Apostles!
Assist those who through study
and prayer are preparing to labour
on the many frontiers of the new evangelization.
Today I entrust to you, in a special way,
the community of the Pontifical Urban College,
whose historic headquarters are located in front of this pillar.
May this wonderful institution founded 375 years ago
by Pope Urban VIII for the formation of missionaries,
be able to continue effectively its ecclesial service.
May those it gathers, seminarians and priests,
men and women religious and laity,
be ready to put their energies at the disposition
of Christ in service of the Gospel to the far corners of the globe.
4. "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!"
Pray, O Mother, for all of us.
Pray for humanity who suffers poverty and injustice,
violence and hatred, terror and war.
Help us to contemplate with the rosary
the mysteries of Him who "is our peace",
so that we will all feel involved
in a persevering dedication of service to peace.
Look with special attention
upon the land in which you gave birth to Jesus,
a land that you loved together with Him,
and that is still so sorely tried today.
Pray for us, Mother of hope!
"Give us days of peace, watch over our way.
Let us see your Son as we rejoice in heaven". Amen!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

From Geethanjali of Tagore

L-50 page 31-32 0f the Macmillan edition 1988

I had gone a-begging from door to door in the village path, when thy golden chariot appeared in the distance like a gorgeous dream and I wondered who was this King of all kings.

My hopes rose high and methought my evil days were at end, and I stood waiting for alms to be given unasked and for the wealth  scattered on all sides in the dust.

Thy chariot stopped were I stood waiting for alms to be given unasked and for wealth  scattered on all sides in the dust.
Thy chariot stopped where I stood. Thy glance fell on me and thou  camest down and with a smile  I felt that luck of my lie had come at least. Then of a sudden thou didst hold out thy right hand and say What hast thou to give me?

Ah what a kingly jest was it to open thy palm to a beggar  to beg !  I was confused and stood undecided, and then from my wallet I slowly took out the least little grain of corn  and I gave it to thee.

But how great my surprise when at the day’s  end I emptied  my bag on the floor to find a least little grain of gold among the poor heap. I bitterly wept  and wished I have had a heart to give thee my all.

Lord give me courage to give everything into your hands

A thousand times you stand before me as a beggar, asking to give you all that, when I go around and around begging from others a thousand things, longing to be satiated in all that remains unsatiated. A beggar standing with a begging bowl, before the beggar who howl and scream running around with his begging bowl in the midst of the mad crowd, crowd that hurry and worry over a thousand things always craving and begging, with an unstaiated heart, begging and begging all around, in total helplessness.

O divine beggar when shall I have to courage to put into your palm all that I have and all that I am. I am afraid I will lose everything. So I hold fast and hold back, without having the courage to give all. O eternal beggar. Stop my eternal begging. I am here naked before you with my begging  bowl, Oh beggar of beggars

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

martha and mary

Lord, they were different.
Mary wanted to listen to you;
Martha, to work for you.

the mission they had to 
Carry out was different.
The purpose of their
Very being was different 

That is why they looked different.
And acted differently
Oh yes they were created to be different.

Lord, you appreciated both
I suppose.
You wanted each one to
Do her own duty
Do it well
And leave the other alone.

Mary chose the good part
For she devoted her entire
Time, to carry out her mission,
To fulfill her duty

But Martha was worried.
Her commitment was divided;
She was thinking was both
The roles:
Her own and Mary's

Hey, Lord! I see
Your point: you want each
Taking the responsibility
For one's own life 
Not worrying about the other 

 But Lord in the name of unity
 And for the sake of equality
 We forget that golden role.

"Only one thing is enough:"
Good enough.
Let me forget
Other things
Other missions
Other purposes 
That other people have
And to concentrate on only one thing
That is - on my own duty.

Friday, 2 July 2010


Book: Holiness
Author: Donna Orsuto
Continuum, New York. 2006. Pp. 212

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

The call to holiness is an invitation to Godly effectiveness. It means being open to the power of the Spirit so that we can follow in the footsteps of Jesus and give glory to God in our lives. It implies being practical in the humble acceptance of our humanity and recognizing the presence of Love’s redeeming work in us as individuals, in our families, in our communities of faith — that is our church, and in our world.

Holiness is God’s building project, stone by stone, brick by brick, grace and effort and grace. Sometimes the building project is nothing but disciplined drudgery and other times the effort and progress are exhilarating. Above all, we are being built together as ‘living stones. . .into a spiritual house’ (1 Peter 2:5) along with a great communion of saints. We are co-operators in a venture far beyond anything that we could have asked or imagined.

In Holiness. Donna Orsuto presents some key scriptural foundation for developing a Christian understanding of holiness as both gift and responsibility. She explores some of the creative ways this call has been lived out over the ages, and offers insights into the challenges of responding to God’s invitation to holiness in the twenty-first century.

An Excerpt from the Book:

Lay sanctity: an emphasis of the Council

One of the fruits of the Second Vatican Council was a renewed appreciation of the vocation and mission of the laity in the Church and in the world, and especially of the call of the laity to holiness. Yet many lay women and men still ask: how can we respond to this call to holiness in the midst of our family, work, political, and social responsibilities? In other words, how can one live a ‘secular sanctity’? Part of the problem is that there has been a scarcity of lay models, especially when searching among the canonized saints. In her introduction to the collection of essays Lay Sanctity, Medieval and Modern: A Search for Models, Ann Astell maps out the multiple and shifting understandings of lay sanctity through the ages. After a careful historical survey, Astell explores lay sanctity in the context of the postmodern challenge. By a clever juxtaposition of quotations, one from John Chrysostom where he exhorted the laity of his time to ‘conduct themselves like monks’, and another from Paul VI wh reminded the participants in a congress on the lay apostolate that ‘you are not hermits who have withdrawn from the world in order to devote yourselves to God. It is in the world and in its activities that you must sanctify yourselves’, Astell showed that there has been a paradigm shift in the Church’s understanding of lay sanctity. The profound ascetical and theological implications of this shift bring one to the question (posed by Astell): ‘If the laity are not to ‘conduct themselves as monks”, what models of holiness are appropriate to them? What are the distinctive characteristics of their spirituality?’

. . . Laborem exercens specifically suggests some considerations for a spirituality of work. In the fifth section of that encyclical, Pope John Paul II offers elements for this spirituality which portray work as a means of drawing closer to God. Reflecting on it in the context of God’s salvation plan for humanity and for the world, he sees work as a way of participating in Christ’s priestly, prophetic and kingly mission. Ideally, we work not exclusively for personal and family needs, but also to serve society, to cultivate resources for the common good, and to transcend ourselves.

Underlying this teaching is the affirmation that there is an inherent dignity in human work. Since we are made in God’s image and likeness, our work, whether manual or intellectual, reflects in some way God’s work, whether manual or intellectual, reflects in some way God’s work. At the same time, our inherent dignity comes from who we are (human beings created in God’s image and likeness), and not simply form what we do (our work). A Christian notion of work insists that ulitmately work does not define a person. We are always more than our work. This is important, especially when considering those who cannot work because of ill health, old age, or high unemployment. However, this notion is counter-cultural, because the common tendency is for people to be identified and recognized for the work they do.

Table of Contents:

1. Laying the foundations: insights from the Bible

2. Many mansion: exploring holiness through the centuries

3. Ordinary maintenance for an extraordinary dwelling

4. Beyond basic floor plans: towards a contemporary understanding of holiness

5. The expansion project: holiness in the twenty-first century


Wednesday, 16 June 2010


Almost 200 years ago there appeared in the horizon of the Indian Church a star luminous and extra ordinary. Centuries cannot leave into oblivion thoughts of such rare pearls that appeared on this earth and left this earthly sojourn after illuminating an entire era and area. Such a bright star of India was Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara of joyful memories. He was a unique symbol of integration in his own personal life, bringing together all his intellectual, physical and spiritual powers into a unified goal. By the power of his Yoga Shakti, he also visualized and heralded the integral development of the people of his times, by bringing together all their dormant capabilities. The Church in India rejoices today as the Bi-centenary year of his birth has been launched on 3rd January 2004, by His Eminence Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, along with 10 Bishops, 150 Priests, 800 Sisters and about 10,000 devotees at Mannanam, near Kottayam, where his mortal remains are enshrined.

Chavara: A great Religious Leader

The 100 odd Religious Congregations of India must be grateful to this great luminary of religious life in the Indian Church. In 1831, when there existed no Indian religious congregation in this land, Blessed Chavara along with two other diocesan priests, Fr. Thomas Palackal and Fr. Thomas Porukara, founded the now-existing first Religious Congregation of India. That is the CMI Congregation. In 1866, by the cooperative effort of B. Chavara and Fr. Leopold Beccaro, an Italian Carmelite Missionary priest, the now-existing first religious society for women in the Syro-Malabar Church was founded. That is the CMC congregation. Today it has a membership of more than 6000 Sisters. These two religious congregations later in the 20th century inspired the emergence of so many religious congregations for men and women in the Indian Church.
Blessed Chavara was luminant and unique not only in the religious field. His contributions in the ecclesial and socio-cultural levels remain ever remarkable.
A man of ecclesial vision and who was filled with the love of the Church
The Syro-Malabar Church is indebted to Bl. Chavara because it was he who protected it at a crucial and decisive movement of its in the turbulent history of this 19 century-old Church in India. He saved it from a terrific schismatic threat called the Roccosian schism. He was also the Vicar General of this Church at that time.
It was also Bl. Chavara and his confreres who imparted greater vitality to this Church by introducing several innovations into its rank and file. Being motivated by a deep-rooted love for the Church, he received inspiration and adopted several devotional practices from the global Church. Some of them are introducing retreat preaching for the laity in all parishes, the Way of the Cross, the Rosary, codification of the canonical prayers of Priests, and a systematic Seminary formation for the future Priests. He believed that if only efficient and holy Priests are trained, the faith of our people and their sacramental life could be sustained. Bl. Chavara and his companions were entrusted with this great task by the then Church authorities. The Seminary established at Mannanam in 1831 remained there till 1894, and saw to the training of not only the CMIs but also of the diocesan seminarians for more than half a century. There was a time when 150 seminarians lived there at a time.

He introduced the Eucharistic devotion, especially through the 40 hour adoration. The present elderly generation of the Kerala church still cherishes the sweet memories of this devotional practice which imparted the faithful great spiritual experience. People used to flock the various Ashram Churches where this devotion was practiced. Similarly, the Way of the Cross introduced by him became very popular. It’s solemn recitation, especially on the Fridays of the Lent, ascending hilly and hard terrains, imitating the last journey of Jesus to Calvary, elevated the minds of our faithful to greater heights of life-touching and life-transforming experiences.
Blessed Chavara loved the Church and the Church also loved him. He earnestly desired that the Church should not merely remain as a preservative and static container of the faith brought to India by St. Thomas the Apostle of Jesus. He visualized that this Church must become active in faith expressions, vibrant in spirituality; and dynamic in witnessing to and propagating the same to other people.

Champion of social reformation

Blessed Chavara is a luminary not only in the spiritual and ecclesial levels. He was also one of the topmost social reformers India has even seen. Imagine the socio-cultural situation of Kerala just two centuries ago. It was a place with practically no literacy and systematic educational systems. There existed radical casteism triggering inhuman discriminations. He visualized a society when all people can live in the joy of the children of God, enjoying equality, freedom and prosperity.
The basic vision of Bl. Chavara for brightening up the society started with the idea of imparting literacy to our people. He firmly believed that a society could make progress only through knowledge and wisdom. Education is the central factor for any basic development. He established at Mannanam the first Catholic school of Kerala in 1846. That school is the mother of all private educational institutions in the Catholic sector in Kerala. He started that tiny little centre of learning as a Sanskrit school. It also was indicative of his far-reacting vision. At that time, only high caste people were allowed to learn Sanskrit the Vedic language. Other people were not only prohibited from learning that language but also prevented from going to any learning at all. Bl. Chavara opened the portals of his school, and all the other schools established by his followers in other places, to all people irrespective of caste and creed. Later, his decisive order in 1861 added to this great momentum. His radical vision of education motivated him to issue an important order when he became the Vicar General of the Syrians in 1861. He ordered all Churches to open schools adjacent to them compulsorily. This order became the magna carta for a revolutionary paradigm shift in the socio-cultural development of Kerala. If the Kerala society is topping the list of literacy in this land today, and making great advancement in the fields of science, technology and inter-national service through incessant migration, it should be indebted to this great visionary called Bl. Chavara.

Bl. Chavara is also the champion of printing and publications in the Kerala Church. He established the first printing press at Mannanam in 1844 and from there emerged many books for the enrichment of our people. Later in 1887, Mannanam saw the inception of the newspaper DEEPIKA, the first Catholic Daily of India.
Blessed Chavara also believed that the health and strength of the society depends not only the growth of the people in general. It depends greatly on how the society takes care of the weak, the disabled, the sick and the aged members of the society. In view of caring for them, it was Bl. Chavara who founded the first ‘Charitable institution’ in Kerala. It was in Kainakari in the year 1869.
When Bl. Chavara took the initiative to start the first religious congregation for women in India in 1866, namely the CMC Congregation, he had also a far-reaching social mission in his mind. Well-trained and well-motivated religious women must come forward as the catalytic agents for social reformation from the grass-root level. He thought, these women should enter the field of family apostolate, motivating our families to enter the path of progress in every level.
Basically a man of God and a man of integration

Blessed Chavara was a man of action throughout his life. His was a multifaceted personality with great vibrancy and efficiency. Within the span of less than half a century, he triggered innovations, which ordinary humans could do in centuries. However, the central feature behind his marvellous success can be sourced back to his radical spiritual vision. That was his basic darsan and his close affinity with the divine. His commitment to God was radical. The ultimate source of his power was prayer. His prayer life was constant and consistent. He used to pray hours before the Blessed Sacrament shedding tears. It was from here that he learned the lessons of holiness. Receiving power and inspiration from his Master Jesus, he sanctified himself. In him we find a perfect integration of a Jnana Yogi, Karma Yogi, and a Bhakti Yogi. The power he received from this basic integration of wisdom and action with commitment to God, in turn, sanctified and enriched the whole Church and the society.

Recognizing the personal sanctity of Fr. Kuriakose Elias Chavara, the Holy Father Pope John Paul II beatified him in 1986. The Government of India also acknowledged his great services towards social reformation and released a commemorative postal stamp in 1987. The present Jayanthi year must be made a golden time to make deeper studies and extensive researches on the vast and significant contributions of this precious pearl of our Country.

Friday, 2 April 2010

What the Resurrection Means to Me

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. - 1 Peter 1:3
John Wesley said of the new birth, “It is the change wrought in the whole soul by the almighty Spirit of God when it is created anew in Christ Jesus.” A message he often preached was “Since we were born in sin we must be born again.” The resurrection of Christ affirms the everlasting power of Christ to save and deliver humanity from sin and death.
This Easter, Christians all over the world celebrate an event that points to our present and future hope and glory. In American slave and Appalachia culture, the afterlife was always celebrated and stressed through their words and music, because of difficult trials on earth. The resurrection is the real theology of liberation, as Samuel Medley wrote in his great hymn “I Know that My Redeemer Lives:”
He lives to silence all my fears,
He lives to wipe away my tears
He lives to calm my troubled heart,
He lives all blessings to impart.
The resurrection was foundational everyday preaching for the Apostles in the early Church. As witnesses, their focus on the resurrection was also the cause of their persecution by the ruling authorities (Acts 4:3,4). Today some who claim to be ministers of the Gospel deny the miracle of the resurrection or dismiss it as “merely symbolic.” Sadly, they deny Scripture and Church teaching.
The Apostles knew that when they saw the risen Christ they were looking at the beginning and the end of history. The complete purpose and promise of Christ and humanity was made known and it’s an incomparable comfort. Humanity has a purpose and a place to call home. One of the most perplexing and haunting aspects of life is death. Life on earth is all we know and death for so many is very troubling and a topic to be avoided. Many churches and houses of worship avoid it. This is sad and it shows a wide displacement from the early Church and Church Fathers. For the believer, they will share in the resurrection of Christ and “death will be swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor. 15:42-54).
Often in the burdens that afflict our inner most being we can only find meaning in the resurrection. The trials, despair, and pain of this life crushes us too much. But when we spend our time dwelling on the risen Lord, our despair turns to hope. We know that he will not abandon us or forsake those who love and worship him, especially beyond the grave. The resurrection is a cause for endless celebration. It is the seal that we will fully dwell in the everlasting with the Triune God who created us for relationship with him for his glory.

Thursday, 18 February 2010


Are you giving up anything for Lent?

The liturgical season of Lent begins next week on Ash Wednesday. Lent commemorates the final weeks leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion, and many Christians mark the season with a spiritual commitment or by giving up a habit or behavior for the duration of Lent.

Examples of Lent commitments I’ve seen include giving up television, reading through a particular part of the Bible, volunteering at a local food kitchen, and many others. Whether it’s trivial or epic in scale, the point of such a commitment is to focus attention on the person of Jesus Christ.
Are you doing anything to commemorate Lent this year?

Thursday, 11 February 2010

the tree

I loved a tree.
I visited him everyday
during my forty days of prayer in the ashram

then suddently I found 
our friendship grew.
much master than the tree itself.
daily we dialogued.

with his profound silence he answered all my questions.
he was always simply there.
with his many-figured arms stretched out to the skies,
extending to me a warm welcome,
he simply stood there and spoke to me ,
always in silence. he knew only one thing: to give.

he was a symbol of self giving.
with no thoughts of "mine", 
with no spirit of " having"
he embodied in himself
all that we understand
by the oft-misused precious word,
" unselfishness"

whenever I approached him 
he simply placed himself at my disposal
and told me in a language beyond all expression: take , take and have whatever you need. this is what I have, I KEEP IT ONLY FOR YOU" 
I wondered 
at his selfless surrender to me.
I felt ashamed. 
I lost myself in an amazed silence . 
later when awareness touched my limbs
I asked myself: 
"can a tree reflect the divine more than man?
Does it reflect the divine untarnished by consciousness?"

Sunday, 7 February 2010

my pictures...drawings..paintings

The Legacy

She could not give her children gold,
So she gave them faith to have and hold.

She could not give them royal birth...
A name renowned throughout the earth.
But she gave them seeds and garden spot
And shade trees when the sun was hot.

She could not give a silver spoon
Or servants waiting night and noon.
She gave them love and a listening ear
And told them God was always near.

She could not give them ocean trips
Aboard majestic sailing ships.
But she gave them books and quiet time,
Adventures found in prose and rhyme.

She could not give them worldly things
But what she gave was fit for kings.
For with her faith and books and sod,
She made each child aware of God.
   —attributed to Alice Leedy Mason

The Man in the Glory

The Man in the Glory
"...the man Christ Jesus." 1 Timothy 2:5 I wake in the morning with thoughts of His love
Who is living for me in the glory above,
Ev'ry minute expecting He'll call me away,
And that keeps me bright all the rest of the day.

But the moments speed forward, and on comes the noon
Yet still I am singing: "He'll come very soon;"
And thus I am watching from morning till night
And pluming my wings to be ready for flight.

There's a Man in the glory I know very well
I have known Him for years, and His goodness can tell:
One day in His mercy He knock'd at my door,
And seeking admission, knock'd many times o'er.

But when I went to Him, and stood face to face,
And listen'd awhile to His story of grace,
How He suffer'd for sinners, and put away sin,
I heartily, thankfully welcomed Him in.

We have lived on together a number of years,
And that's why I neither have doubtings nor fears,
For my sins are all hid in the depths of the sea,
They were carried down there by the Man on the tree.

I am often surprised why the lip should be curl'd,
When I speak of my Lord to the man of the world;
And notice with sorrow his look of disdain,
When I tell him that Jesus is coming again.

He seems so content with his houses and gold,
While despising the ark, like the people of old,
And yet at His coming I'm sure he would flee,
Like the man in the garden, who ate of the tree.

I cannot but think it is foolish of souls
To put all their money "in bags which have holes",
To find in the day that is coming apace,
How lightly they valued the "riches of grace".

As fond as I am of His work in the field,
I would let go the plough, I would lay down the shield:
The weapons of service I'd put on the shelf,
And the sword in its scabbard, to be with Himself.

But I'll work on with pleasure, while keeping my eyes
On the end of the field where standeth the prize.
I would work for His glory, that when we shall meet
I may have a large sheaf to lay down at His feet;

That He too, with pleasure His fruit may review:
Is the Man in the glory a stranger to you?
A stranger to Jesus, what, do you know
He is washing poor sinners much whiter than snow?

Have you lived in a land where the Bible's unknown,
That you don't know the Man who is now on the throne?
Ah, did you but know half His beauty and power
You would not be a stranger another half–hour.

I have known Him so long that I'm able to say,
The very worst sinner He'll not turn away.
The question of sin, I adoringly see,
The Man in the glory has settled for me.

And as to my footsteps whatever the scene,
The Man in the glory is keeping me clean;
And therefore I'm singing from morning till night
The Man in the glory is all my delight.
                     —George Cutting

My Mother's Bible

My Mother's Bible

This book is all that's left me now,
   Tears will unbidden start—
With faltering lip and throbbing brow
   I press it to my heart.
For many generations past,
   Here is our family tree;
My mother's hand this Bible clasped;
   She, dying, gave it me.

Ah! well do I remember those
   Whose names these records bear,
Who 'round the hearthstone used to close
   After the evening prayer,
And speak of what these pages said,
   In tones my heart would thrill!
Though they are with the silent dead
  Here are they living still!

My father read this holy book
   To brothers, sisters, dear;
How calm was my poor mother's look,
   Who loved God's word to hear
Her angel face—I see it yet!
   What thronging memories come!
Again that little group is met
   Within the halls of home!

Thou truest friend man ever knew,
   Thy constancy I've tried;
Where all were false, I found thee true,
   My counselor and guide.
The mines of earth no treasure give
   That could this volume buy;
In teaching me the way to live,
   It taught me how to die.

         —George P. Morris