Unforgetable experiences Part 1 - Devasia M / to edit

Here is one of those strange confluences in the spiritual life.

Last night, I read that Jeanne Manford, the founder of PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), died at the age of 92. In 1972, after her son was beaten at a gay demonstration and the police failed to intervene, she wrote a letter to the New York Post saying, "I have a homosexual son and I love him." Imagine the courage that must have taken in 1972.

No matter what you think about the hot-button issue of same-sex marriage, no matter what religion you are, no matter what political party you favor, I hope that you say a prayer for Mrs. Manford. For she loved prophetically. That is, she publicly expressed her love for a group of marginalized people before it was safe to do so.

That kind of love might remind you of another person who worked in and around Galilee, publicly loving all sorts of people – lepers, tax collectors, prostitutes, Gentiles, Roman centurions – when it was not safe to do so, at all.

When I read about Mrs. Manford's death (I hadn't known about her story at all until last night) I thought of yesterday's first reading, from the First Letter of St. John, which begins this way: "Beloved let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten of God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love."

There is a lot of talk about gays and lesbians these days. But in every thing we say and do, particularly for Christians, love must come first. And not the love that condemns first, or judges first, or labels first. But the love that loves first. Because God is love.

It is all the more important that Catholics lead with love precisely because we belong to a church that adheres to traditional teachings about sexuality and marriage.

No one can ever mistake a respect for church teaching for a lack of charity toward our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. Unfortunately sometimes that happens, and unfortunately sometimes we are to blame for that. That's why it's important to remember Mrs. Manford's message – and Jesus'.

"I can't believe it; I forgot to call Dorothy on her birthday."
Later that night, after Ken had gone to bed, Humberto told me that Dorothy is an 85-year-old part-time employee for the company. It then dawned on me that at 10 p.m. Ken left to spend almost 20 minutes talking to Dorothy and inquiring about how she had spent her special day. However, after spending more time with Ken over the next year, I came to realize that this was no fluke. This is who he is. The last time while visiting him at his San Diego office, I learned that one of his employees who worked in the warehouse had recently passed away. On that day, Ken had invited the employee's wife to come to his office. When she arrived, he spent an hour walking around with her carrying a tape recorder to record all of the wonderful memories that other employees had of her husband. When the wife left she said it was a day she'd never forget.

You see, what many leaders would have considered a waste of time, Ken saw as an opportunity to serve and to thank his people. He doesn't do it because it's expected of him, he does it because he truly cares. It comes from his heart, and his people love him for being the servant leader that he is.

Therefore, I could have searched the world over, and not found a better person to write a book titled, The Heart of a Leader. Ken Blanchard walks the talk, and is one of the best leaders I've ever met.


                               THE OLD PHONE


                               When I was quite young, my father had one of the first telephones in our neighborhood. I remember the polished, old case fastened to the wall. The shiny receiver hung on the side of the box. I was too little to reach the telephone, but used to listen with fascination when my mother talked to it.
                               Then I discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person. Her name was 'Information Please' and there was nothing she did not know. Information Please could supply anyone's number and the correct time.
                               My personal experience with the genie-in-a-bottle came one day while my Mother was visiting a neighbor. Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement, I whacked my finger with a hammer, the pain was terrible, but there seemed no point in crying because there was no one home to give sympathy.
                               I walked around the house sucking my throbbing finger, finally arriving at the stairway. The telephone! Quickly, I ran for the footstool in the Parlor and dragged it to the landing climbing up; I unhooked the receiver in the parlor and held it to my ear.

                               'Information, please,' I said into the mouthpiece just above my head. A click or two and a small clear voice spoke into my ear.
                               'I hurt my finger,' I wailed into the phone, the tears came readily enough now that I had an audience.
                               'Isn't your mother home?' came the question.
                               'Nobody's home but me,' I blubbered.
                               'Are you bleeding?' the voice asked.
                               'No,' I replied. 'I hit my finger with the hammer and it hurts.'

                               'Can you open the icebox?' she asked.
                               I said I could.
                               'Then chip off a little bit of ice and hold it to your finger,' said the voice.
                               After that, I called 'Information Please' for everything. I asked her for help with my geography, and she told me where  Philadelphia  was. She helped me with my math. She told me my pet chipmunk that I had caught in the park just the day before, would eat fruit and nuts.
                               Then, there was the time Petey, our pet canary, died. I called, 'Information Please,' and told her the sad story. She listened, and then said things grown-ups say to soothe a child. But I was not consoled. I asked her, 'Why is it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring Joy to all families, only to end up as a heap of feathers on the bottom of a cage?'
                               She must have sensed my deep concern, for she said quietly, '  Wayne , always remember that there are other worlds to sing in.'
                               Somehow I felt better.
                               Another day I was on the telephone, 'Information Please.'
                               'Information,' said in the now familiar voice.

                               'How do I spell fix?' I asked.
                               All this took place in a small town in thePacific Northwest. When I was nine years old, we moved across the country to  Boston . I missed my friend very much. 'Information Please' belonged in that old wooden box back home and I somehow never thought of trying the shiny new phone that sat on the table in the hall. As I grew into my teens, the memories of those childhood conversations never really left me.

                               Often, in moments of doubt and perplexity I would recall the serene sense of security I had then. I appreciated now how patient, understanding, and kind she was to have spent her time on a little boy.
                               A few years later, on my way west to college, my plane put down in  Seattle  I had about a half-hour or so between planes. I spent 15 minutes or so on the phone with my sister, who lived there now. Then without thinking what I was doing, I dialed my hometown Operator and said, 'Information Please.'
                               Miraculously, I heard the small, clear voice I knew so well. 'Information.'
                               I hadn't planned this, but I heard myself saying, 'Could you please tell me how to spell fix?'
                               There was a long pause. Then came the soft spoken answer, 'I guess your finger must have healed by now.'
                               I laughed, 'So it's really you,' I said. 'I wonder if you have any idea how much you meant to me during that time?'
                               'I wonder,' she said, 'if you know how much your call meant to me. I never had any children and I used to look forward to your calls.'
                               I told her how often I had thought of her over the years and I asked if I could call her again when I came back to visit my sister.
                               'Please do,' she said. 'Just ask for Sally.'
                               Three months later I was back in  Seattle  a different voice answered:  Information.' I asked for Sally.
                               'Are you a friend?' she said.
                               'Yes, a very old friend,' I answered.
                               'I'm sorry to have to tell you this,' she said. 'Sally had been working part-time the last few years because she was sick. She died five weeks ago.'
                               Before I could hang up she said, 'Wait a minute, did you say your name was  Wayne ?'
                               'Yes.' I answered.
                               'Well, Sally left a message for you. She wrote it down in case you called. Let me read it to you.' The note said, 'Tell him there are other worlds to sing in. He'll know what I mean.'
                               I thanked her and hung up. I knew what Sally meant.
                               Never underestimate the impression you may make on others.
                               Whose life have you touched today?
                               Why not pass this on? I just did....
                               Lifting you on eagle's wings. May you find the joy and peace you long for.
                               Life is a journey . NOT a guided tour. So don't miss the ride and have a great time going around.  You don't get a second shot at it.
                               I loved this story and just had to pass it on. I hope you enjoy it and get a blessing from it just as I did.

 21st Oct 2012
Lunch with José Antonio Pagola

Valentine de Souza
3:46 PM (18 hours ago)

to bcc: me

(Álvaro García)

(Alvaro Garcia)

“The one they fear is Jesus, not Pagola.”

The Basque priest is being investigated for heresy at the request of Spanish Bishops

José Antonio Pagola speaks three dead languages and six living ones. The theologian, José Antonio Pagola, hauled by the Spanish Episcopal conference before the Roman Inquisition, is happy when I tell him that even Jesus Christ would be made a prisoner if he were to dare to return.  “Of course, I am not a threat, Jesus is. It is Jesus whom they fear, not Pagola. “ He’s thrilled when I mention Dostoyevsky, as if he had just finished reading “The Brothers Karamazov”, the story  of the Great Inquisitor. That’s where the essence of the grudge the imperial power of the Vatican has against the Enlightenment, freedom and modern science lies.

Dostoyevsky sets the action in Seville in the most fearful times of the Inquisition. One day, the Cardinal Inquisitor, dressed like a Roman Emperor, has a hundred heretics burnt at the stake, “for the greater glory of God” . The people of Seville watch in silence, until they recognize Jesus among them. They surround him enthusiastically. The old inquisitor does not object to the demonstration. He orders Jesus arrested, and taken to the big rambling house of the Holy Office. “Why have you come to disturb us?” he asks, when he visits him at night.

Pagola: “Of course, Jesus disturbs. The harshest criticism of the Church   does not come from outside. It comes from the words of its founder. Today he would be with those being left with nothing. A book about the real Jesus is dangerous, especially if it sells.”

We had lunch near the headquarters of the Comisiones Obreras in Madrid, where Pagola had spoken to the Congress of the John XXIII Association of Theologians. “Look for a simple place. I’m going to eat little”, he says , as if he took for granted that for a Basque of his size, so healthy at 75, I  would have taken him to an expensive restaurant.

“What triggered (the opposition) was that ‘Jesus, An Historical Approximation’ sold llke hot cakes.” We are left hanging with the story of the Grand Inquisitor because Pagola returns to what has happened to “our Church”  -with the possessive pronoun : Our Church. “We worship the crucified One forgetting the ones crucified today.”

The Inquisitor reproaches him: “People are happy to be led once again like a flock of sheep” he tells him. The Prisoner gives him a kiss on the lips. The old man shudders. He walks to the door, opens it and says: “Go away! And don’t you ever return, not ever!”

Pagola published JESUS, An historical Approximation, in 2007 and everything was going well until sales of the book tipped. ‘They are being sold like hot cakes” complained a bishop to the Spanish Inquisition. “That was the trigger: that the book was selling like hot cakes.”

Born in a humble farmhouse in Guipuzcoa, the sixth of eight brothers, Pagola was a student of Cardinal Martini in Rome. He also studied in Jerusalem. An intellectually  gifted man, he speaks three dead and four living languages besides the ones he grew up speaking (Spanish and Basque). He was vicar of the bishop of San Sebastian ( 21 years with José María Setién and one with Juan María Uriarte). He has sold 140.000 copies of JESUS  in half a dozen languages. In Spain sales are clandestine with the ninth edition sold out. A French edition is due at Christmas and translations in Russian, Japanese and Croatian are being prepared.

“I’m having lunch with a heretic!”
“I don’t think they will say as much, when the Roman Inquisition comes to a decision, which it is taking its time over.”
It is reported that Cardinal Rouco  and the bishop of SanSebastian, Munilla, say they haven’t read his book JESUS. “If this is true, it’s bad; if they are lying, it’s worse” I comfort him.  “Forget it,’ he answers. Enduring patience is what draws us to the heretic.

(Translated by Vally de Souza S.J.)


Boy donates 100,000 to charity.
West Bengal, August 29, 2012: 
When Akash Mukherjee wrote his first check recently, his hand trembled.
It was not just the presence of Sister Mary Prema, superior general of the Missionaries of Charity (MC), and his parents that made the 10-year-old nervous.

He wanted to “get it right” because he was gifting the entire amount – nearly 100,000 rupees (US$1,810) 
he received for playing the lead role in a film in Bengali language – to the charity group.
Sister Prema blessed, thanked and praised the fifth grader of the Jesuit-managed St. Xavier’s Primary School in Kolkata for the gift.

After accepting the check on August 27, the German nun accompanied him on “a grand tour” of her congregation’s headquarters, including Blessed Teresa’s room.
“So small! How did she live there?” the bespectacled boy blurted out after seeing the 5’x12’ room where the celebrated nun lived most of her life.

The only child of Manisha and Gora Mukherjee, Akash was born August 26, a birthday he shares with the Nobel laureate nun.
Akash’s association with the MCs started on his fifth birthday when his parents took him to Nirmal Hriday (Pure Heart), a home for the dying that Blessed Teresa started more than 60 years ago.

“We wanted him to grow up with a sense of awareness of the world around him and the importance of sharing and giving,” Akash’s mother Manisha explained.

Visiting MC homes on Akash’s birthday has become a tradition in the Mukherjee family. They take him to Shishu Bhavan (Children’s Home) where he cuts and shares his birthday cake, besides donating books, toys and clothes.
Akash said his mother always insists that he should give away what he is especially fond of.

He said he was surprised when the film company offered him remuneration for his acting. “I was happy just being a part of a movie,” he said.
When he got the money, he initially planned to spend it on games for himself and gifts for his parents.

Then, remembering that he shared his birthday gifts with Blessed Teresa’s children he decided to give the money to them.
“I would continue to give them whatever I get on my birthday in future,” he told ucanews.com with excitement in his voice. However, giving is hard, he added.

He said he did not understand why he should give his things to others when his parents first told him. 

“But now I love to do it because I want to see those children’s smiling faces,” he added.
Manisha said her son plays a child who overcomes his loneliness through the effort of all participants in the yet-to-be released film 

Anubhav-Ekta chheler goppo (Feelings: The Story of a Lonely Child).
She said Akash means “sky” in Bengali but it could also mean “endless” or “limitless.”

Akash’s vice-principal at St. Xavier’s, Soma Gomes, described him as a “very honest and courteous” boy with “humility beyond his years” 
and applauded Akash’s parents for instilling in him a concern for others.
She said the school has advised Akash’s parents to let Akash continue studies and take up acting during weekends and holidays.

His class teacher Elizabeth Gakhar said Akash has handled his studies and acting remarkably well, without dropping his grades.
Manisha said she wants Akash to take up acting when he is an adult. Akash, an admirer of footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, 

said acting was hard at first but he enjoyed it and had fun. He loves the outdoors and rushes out to play football whenever he can.


Learning from our Buddhist brethren by Mark Lopez SJ  
(SJAPC via CNUA) Filipino Scholastic Mark Lopez SJ shares on his experience of a five-day Vipassana Meditation Retreat he did in Chiang Mai last summer under the Venerable Abbot Piyatassi Bhikku. The retreat was part of the month-long East Asian Theological Encounter Programme, which provides Jesuits in formation with opportunities to deepen their dialogue with other faiths, particularly Buddhism, and to enrich their perspectives on theology in Asia.
"No God for 5 days." That was the deal. We were not to speak to, address, nor think about God for the duration of the Buddhist retreat. This was what the Venerable Abbot told us at the start of the retreat. And this made even the least godly of us Jesuit Scholastics and brothers uneasy. But then the Abbot, probably sensing our apprehension, quickly added "after 5 days, then you can take whatever you learn here and offer it to your God".
"Sold!" This was a good bargain, I thought, and the monk a good salesman, not unlike the ones I encountered at the Chatuchak market on route to our EATEP course in Thailand.
The excitement and anxieties that led up to the retreat were many. We would be living in a monastery. The place was nicely nestled in lush forest. We would be hosted by a community of Theravada Buddhist monks. We were excited to experience their noble silence. But we also had to eat only their vegetarian food. We were to take no solids after noon, wake at 4 am every day, and meditate for at least eight hour-long periods each day. Among the 15 of us Jesuits, worries varied in degree, but all shared the same deeper apprehension: Could we really let go of our God for five whole days? Would it all be worth it?
By the end of the retreat, it was clear and unanimous. All of us had experienced many things beautiful, mysterious, deeply personal and potentially transformative in that monastery. And the irony was, in each of our own personal ways, we felt closer to God after those five days of not being allowed to address God directly. How was this so?
The instructions to the meditation were simple. After finding our ideal meditation position (mine was the lotus), we were to become acutely aware of our breath. We became mindful of how it traversed from the air around us, through our nostrils, down the air passages, into the lungs, expanding the diaphragm and back muscles and vice versa.
After observing our breath closely for some time, random thoughts would surface. These were like a stream of memories and hopes, at times rushing forth in torrents and waves, but sometimes mellowing to a gentle trickle. We were to simply observe and see: Were these thoughts of the past or plans of the future? Did we like or not like these memories or thoughts?
Interestingly, just as the venerable teacher told us, once we became aware of these thoughts and could gently answer these questions and "categorize" the thoughts, they began to dissipate and seemed to lose their hold on our minds. When this happened, we were to return to the awareness of our breath. Always, in all things, the rule of thumb was to proceed gently and with loving kindness to the self.
The sense of this practice eluded me at first. After some days of trying it out, however, the Abbot enlightened us by explaining that what we were learning to do was to be neutral observers to our thoughts and even to our feelings.
Nurturing our faculty for awareness became key to developing the interior space and freedom in which we had become more of the "I" that was merely observing (and not reacting to nor judging) these thoughts. The feeling was akin to what I have experienced in spiritual direction. As both directee and director, I have seen how the simple practice of regularly being able to talk openly to someone about our struggles and our desolations develops and strengthens a part of us and our interiority which allows us to transcend these struggles.
Interestingly, after the first few days of the Vipassana retreat, this game of observing the mind and what it was giving me, took an exciting turn. I came upon thoughts that seemed to be more stubborn and powerful than others. They seemed to clutch on to my mind more powerfully, unwilling to pass on. Sometimes these were fears of responsibilities I had to take on. Sometimes these were plans that gave me joy. And as I reflected on the nature of these stubborn thoughts, I realized they were very much revelatory of my deepest attachments, things I really, really wanted. Not so much material things, but the things I hungered for – attention, appreciation – what the Master Ignatius would perhaps call my inordinate desires. And so, the Vipassana method, became a very powerful way to surface and shed light on these. At the same time, this method of meditating was an exercise, which developed an interiority that enables me to transcend those attachments.
First of all, therefore, our feeling of drawing nearer to God was a consequence of finding a new path towards greater interior freedom. In the Ignatian tradition, we know that this freedom is what allows us to serve God with greater generosity and availability. It is also, no less, what God most deeply desires for us, so that God can love us more fully.
Secondly, this Buddhist practice of meditation presented me a way toward growing in two very Christian virtues: kindness and compassion. Explicitly, these virtues were carried by a beautiful blessing that we were instructed to pray at the start and end of every meditation period: "May all beings be blessed by loving kindness and compassion."
As our faculties to be neutral observers were enhanced by the meditations (inside and outside of formal prayer periods), the power of this blessing became more and more felt. At times when I remembered my loved ones in meditation, the blessing was a way to pray loving kindness and compassion for them, while also becoming more grateful for the love and compassion so many of them have shown me throughout my life. At times when I would become hard on myself, becoming impatient with the meditations which seemed to go nowhere, the blessing would be a reminder for me to be gentler with myself and not to push too hard. When I remembered people for whom I harboured anger or frustration, to utter the blessing became a challenge. But when I found the courage and strength to do so, I surprisingly found that the blessing helped to ease my hurt, let go of my anger, and convince me that perhaps I would be capable of showing this person more kindness the next time I came across him or her. "May all beings be blessed by loving kindness and compassion" – at times, this statement became a source of hope, sometimes of healing, sometimes a reminder, at times a challenge, but always a true prayer.
Some days, as we walked through the monastery grounds, forest birds would fly through the trees around us and would burst forth into song. In those moments, they too, along with all of creation, would evoke this kindness and compassion. As I marveled at the beauty of nature, my heart so naturally spoke the same blessing. "May all beings be blessed by loving kindness and compassion." On other days, when snakes crossed our path or when bees became a nuisance to our meditations, what a challenge it again was to utter the same prayer for these creatures! But eventually, we also learned to do so. With the Buddhist blessing, we were constantly reminded and challenged to extend this loving kindness, compassion and unconditional positive regard, without exception.
I eventually came to intuit that this phrase of blessing was directly related to our learning how to be neutral observers of all things. Remaining neutral and trying to merely see and accept things as they were, and not as we thought they should be, was a very non-judgmental, unimposing, non-demanding way of being and relating. It was compassion and loving kindness in action (or non-action!). I think this came to me as I recalled the many times when my own quickness to judge and the labels and categories I like to give people and experiences were ways that I inflicted violence upon others, ways I was uncharitable and did not listen carefully, ways in which compassion was deficient. Neutral observation was in fact a way of loving kindness and compassion in itself. And to grow in these virtues was to draw closer to God, the very source and summit of these virtues and whose very nature is love.
Lastly, I think that through the meditation techniques which the Venerable Abbot taught us and by his instruction not to address or think about God during those five days, we found a way of being present to and coming before the Holy, without demand or expectation. Like those special moments when no words are necessary between lovers or friends, when each other’s mere presence and accompaniment gives joy and peace, that is how the noble silence felt. By my silence and by this temporary letting go of God, it felt like I had set my God free –free from all my nagging and wanting; my controlling and my neediness.
After my retreat, I chanced upon the late great Anthony de Mello’s book "Awareness." I was struck by the following lines, which helped me make sense of how it was that my "letting go of God" seemed to bring me to a different way of more freely relating with God: "Think of someone or something you are attached to; in other words something or someone without which or without whom you are not going to be happy. It could be your job, your career, your profession, your friend, your money, whatever. And say to this object or person ‘I really do not need you to be happy. I’m only deluding myself in the belief that without you I will not be happy. But I really don’t need you for my happiness; I can be happy without you. You are not my happiness, you are not my joy.’ If your attachment is a person, he or she is not going to be happy to hear you say this, but go ahead anyway. You can say it in the secrecy of your heart. In any case, you’ll be making contact with the truth; you’ll be smashing through a fantasy. Happiness is a state of non-illusion, of dropping the illusion …"
I was afraid to say this, but I talked to God and I told him that I didn’t need Him. My initial reaction was: "This is so contrary to everything I’ve been brought up with." Now, some people want to make an exception of their attachment to God. They say, "If God is the God that I think he ought to be, He’s not going to like it when I give up my attachment to him!" All right, if you think that unless you get God you’re not going to be happy, then this "God" you’re thinking of has nothing to do with the real God. You’re thinking of a dream state. You’re thinking of your concept. Sometimes you have to get "rid" of God in order to find God. Lots of mystics tell us that.
While no person of faith will contest that we do truly need God, I think de Mello’s point is much related to the fact that often, we are not aware that the way we conceive of and relate to God bears our anxieties, our possessiveness and our clinginess. And as in our human relationships, these are hindrances to our growth and maturity in our relationship with God. "We’ve been so blinded by everything that we have not discovered the basic truth that attachments hurt rather than help relationships … It is a delight to be with [our friends or with God] when I am enjoying them on a non-clinging basis" de Mello writes.
By now the reader can glean how strong the equivalences are between Ignatian and Buddhist spiritualities. Spiritual freedom, detachment, indifference, kindness, compassion, love manifest in deeds. The awareness of what preoccupies us, what we are attracted or averse to, our consolations and desolations. At times, the meditations actually felt like long Examens. And a quick review of de Mello’s writings quickly confirmed my suspicion that everything that our Venerable Abbot taught us, de Mello had already appropriated to the Ignatian context.
By sharing the above, however, I hope to strengthen and encourage those who have at some time felt the desire to explore and deepen their personal spiritualities through meditative practices like Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi or Vipassana, which have become more popular and accessible in the Philippines. If there is fear of going astray from the Christian tradition, I hope my experiences can help quell these fears. I honestly believe that what I have learned from our Buddhist brothers has the potential to make me a better Christian. Learning about the Buddhist tradition has deepened my appreciation not only for the Buddhist spirituality, but for our own as well. Travels to foreign lands have made me see more clearly what is Filipino about me, and how there is so much to love about our own culture and our own country. In the same way, I emerge from my Buddhist encounters loving and more strongly desiring to live out all that is Ignatian.
For more information about the East Asian Theological Encounter Programme, visit www.freewebs.com/johnjshea
41 Toy and the child. I have seen young children in my bothers house fight for a toy. It need not be a real expensive toy, but a ball or even plastic bag. There used to be a lot of crying and pulling for the thing.  Once a child gets it after a minute he/she loses interest in it, and is thrown out. But soon it will get something else and other child will demand that it be given to him. In adults you see the same attitude. I need more, I have more so I am great, big. Having is equal to being. So if one loses everything he gets the feeling that he is not. I this situation one may realize his real being and another will strengthen his ego with more things even with bitterness and anger. Blessed is the one who realizes his real being during such deep suffering situations.    40 I met with an accident in in May 1993 with our Jeep called tracks. We were on our way back from south Gujarat via Rajpipla in a hot summer morning in May. Before reaching Dabhoi town the driver Fr Rappai slept on the wheels and went over four trees and hit a bigger tree which refused to bend like the other smaller ones. Soon I realized that my leg was broken. A kind gentleman took us to Pillar Hospital in Vadodara within one hour. Three months of treatment followed to settle the bone which were in pieces. What I experienced was a deep mental and spiritual torture besides all the pain of operation and days in the hospital and at Jeevandarshan a house for the old and the sick in Gujarat province of the Jesuits. Even my faith was shaken, the days were unending, I did not know how to spend time from morning to evening, could not sleep. My self image shattered, my ego's identification with so many things and beliefs gone. I called several people to give me some help. It was of some help but nobody could point out the problem deep within me. Today after more than 20 years I realize  that it was an experience which change my life for good. I went to Potta for retreat. I went to Lonavla for Midi Sadhana course in self improvement, group therapy etc in 1993. Both these helped a lot. But the realization of what exactly was happening to me is clearer now. I had only my ego to identify with and that was shattered. I HAD TO FIND MY REAL BEING. I did not realize that I did not need all those things on which relied a lot. A lot of work, an huge effort to build up the new center called Gurjarvani communications. Even now I am not sure whether i have found my being. I feel that I am on the correct way. 39 Dr Wayne Dyer tells a story in his book " The power of Intention" A dignitary was visiting another dignitary-2 in his palace. As they were discussing many issues of the world man came very angry shouting and yelling. The dignitary-2  called  him and said in a low voice " Remember the rule No 6." Immediately he calmed down and went back. Then another lady came angry and screaming at some one. Dignitary-2 called the lady and said " Remember rule No.6." She also calmed down and wen back to work. Now Dignitary 1 wanted to know what is this rule No.6.  D2 said " Do not take yourself seriously. " is the rule. Ok , then what are the other rules? There are no other rules! When i am important to myself, taking myself seriously, my ego says: I must win, I must have my way, I must have my thing, my name should not suffer, there is only one right way of doing etc.   38  Bishop Francis Braganza stayed in St Xavier's college Ahmedabad jesuit residence for many years after retirement. His death was very special. He was not sick and at 10.00 am he opened the main door of the residence fro a guest. He did not turn up for lunch and when the servant went to his room he thought he is sleeping and did no try to wake him up. later one of the fathers went up to see him and found him dead. So peaceful death. He did not give any trouble in his old age because he kept good health. " Be awake, you don't know when the Master comes" - Jesus  37 One friend of mine, a priest of the Catholic Church came to visit me. we talked about the new translation of the Eucharistic prayers in the missal. First he said it is a sin, later he went on to say it is a mortal sin! So far I have not heard of anybody talking in favor of the new translation. I personally find it difficult to read and appreciate the literal translation from the Latin text. Even now there are people in the Church who think that an ancient text is more important than communicating the good news to people in simple language which they can understand and feel devotion in prayer. So it can certainly be a sin if you deny the simple people the spiritual experience they need with rituals and difficult text for prayer. 36 In a recent judgment in Gujarat [ 2012 Sept ] two prominent leaders of a party was sent to jail by the court. They have led the crowd to kill about 90 people. These innocent people have been killed just because they belonged to a particular religion. Many educated people are disillusioned by organized religions because there is so much conflict and violence between them. Politicians use the poor illiterate people to murder and loot in the name of religion. These religions are mostly ritualistic and leading the people to a spiritual experience. Is God present in these violent religions when they kill mercilessly innocent ones of other religions! When will the citizens start reacting to these institutionalized religions! 35 My sister Sr Sabina rjm have undergone a lot of suffering for the last many years. First with  Kidney problem in Pune and later with neuralgia on the face Then with high sugar and now last six years with cancer. She has taken it well and there is a smile on her face even when she is in deep suffering. A number of people was impressed by the way she has taken this illness. Really God is near her in all this suffering. " Deny your self , take up your cross and follow me" says Jesus. 34

Jail Experience of a Priest and a Nun

New Delhi:  A priest and nun who spent 24 days in a northern Indian jail for violating wild life act say the experience helped them understand the plight of prisoners. “Now I know the difficulties of being a prisoner,” said Queen of the Apostles Sister Deena, who was arrested along with Fr. Simon D’Cunha. “I will pray for them in a special way daily. I also pray that no one should be arrested or jailed,” she told ucanindia.in Sunday, two days after her release from the jail. The Forest Department of Uttarakhand state arrested the two Church people on August 8 for allegedly killing more than 250 white crane chicks while trimming a tree in a school compound. Fr. D’Cunha is the manager of Prabhat Tara Junior School in Pachuakhera and Sr Deena is its principal. The district court in Haldwani had initially rejected their bail application but on Aug.29 the state High Court in Nainital granted them bail. However, they were confined to the jail for two more days for some technical problems. The nun said she had never expected to be in jail. “Initially it was difficult for me to accept the fact,” she said. She said she wore the same sari for two days as she had not taken any provisions with her when she went to the police station. The police presented her in a local court that sent her to jail. She was kept in a cell that had 45 women and the priest was in another cell with 70 men. Sr. Deena said the jailer’s wife, a former student of her school, brought dress and toilet articles for her. The cell had two toilets with half doors. “I found it very difficult and did not take bath for two days. That was a big problem for me. But then I overcame the difficulties. There was not enough water in the cell to have proper bath. The inmates used to help me to carry water,” she narrated. Each prisoner is given seven chapatis and dal (lentils) around 11 am and at night. On Sundays, they get rice and dal in the afternoon. “Although I was not accustomed to sleep on the floor I adjusted to it within two days. We had to get up at 6 am and then line up for attendance. After that we were free to do whatever we want. I used to spend time in prayer,” she said. The 58-year-old nun with high blood pressure said her roommates treated her well and called her “Guru Mai (mother teacher). “They used to console me. There were four mothers with breast feeding children. I felt very sorry for them,” she added. She said she took her jail term as “an opportunity to practice my faith. I was the only Christian in the cell. I read the Bible loudly and spoke to them about Christ and the religious life,” she added. She said her roommates were crying when she left the jail. She planned to go a medical treatment for a few days before returning to the school. Fr. D’Cunha described his jail term as “a unique experience,” that helped him understand the prisoner’s difficulties. He said he too took some time to adjust to the new situation. “I took it as challenge and spent days talking to other prisoners and praying for them,” he said. His cell had two drug addicts and he could convince them the ill-effects of drug addiction. “At least for 15 days they did not use drugs,” he claimed. The priest said he plans to visit his mother and then return to the school.


Here is an amazing story from a flight attendant on Delta Flight 15, written following 9-11: "On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, we were about 5 hours out of  Frankfurt, flying over the North Atlantic. All of a sudden the curtains  parted and I was told to go to the cockpit, immediately, to see the captain. As soon as I got there I noticed that the crew had that "All Business" look  on their faces. The captain handed me a printed message. It was from Delta's  main office in Atlanta and simply read, "All  airways over the Continental United States are closed to commercial air traffic. Land ASAP at the nearest airport. Advise your destination." "No one said a word about what this could mean. We knew it was a serious situation and we needed to find terra firma quickly. The captain determined  that the nearest airport was 400 miles behind us in Gander, New Foundland. He requested approval for a route change from the Canadian traffic  controller and approval was granted immediately--no questions asked. We  found out later, of course, why there was no hesitation in approving our  request. "While the flight crew prepared the airplane for landing, another message arrived from Atlanta telling us about some terrorist activity in the New  York area. A few minutes later word came in about the hijackings. "We decided to LIE to the passengers while we were still in the air. We told  them the plane had a simple instrument problem and that we needed to land at the nearest airport in Gander, New Foundland to have it checked out. "We promised to give more information after landing in Gander. There was  much grumbling among the passengers, but that's nothing  new! Forty minutes later, we landed in Gander. Local time at Gander was 12:30 PM! .... that's 11:00 AM EST. "There were already about 20 other airplanes on the ground from all over the  world that had taken this detour on their way to the U.S. After we parked on the ramp, the captain made the following announcement: "Ladies and gentlemen, you must be wondering if all these airplanes around us have the same instrument problem as we have. The reality  is that we are here for another reason." Then he went on to explain the  little bit we knew about the situation in the U.S. There were loud gasps and stares of disbelief. The captain informed passengers that Ground control in  Gander told us to stay put. "The Canadian Government was in charge of our situation and no one was  allowed to get off the aircraft. No one on the ground was allowed to come  near any of the air crafts. Only airport police would come around periodically, look us over and go on to the next airplane. In the next hour or so more planes landed and Gander ended up with 53 airplanes from all over the world, 27 of  which were U.S. commercial jets. "Meanwhile, bits of news started to come in over the aircraft radio and for  the first time we learned that airplanes were flown into the World Trade Center in New York and into the Pentagon in DC. People were trying to use their cell phones, but were unable to connect due to a different cell system  in Canada. Some did get through, but were only able to get to the Canadian operator who would tell them that the lines to the U.S. were either blocked or jammed. "Sometime in the evening the news filtered to us that the World Trade Center buildings had collapsed and that a fourth hijacking had resulted in a crash.  By now the passengers were emotionally and physically exhausted, not to mention frightened, but everyone stayed amazingly calm. We  had only to look out the window at the 52 other stranded aircraft to realize that we were  not the only ones in this predicament. "We had been told earlier that they would be allowing people off the planes  one plane at a time. At 6 PM, Gander airport told us that our turn to  deplane would be 11 am the next morning. Passengers were not happy, but they simply resigned themselves to this news without much noise  and started to prepare themselves to spend the night on the airplane. "Gander had promised us medical attention, if needed, water, and lavatory servicing. And they were true to their word. Fortunately we had no medical  situations to worry about. We did have a young lady who was 33 weeks into her pregnancy. We took REALLY good care of her. The night passed without incident despite the uncomfortable sleeping arrangements. "About 10:30 on the morning of the 12th a convoy of school buses showed up. We got off the plane and were taken to the terminal where we went through Immigration and Customs and then had to  register with the Red Cross. "After that we (the crew) were separated from the passengers and were taken  in vans to a small hotel. We had no idea where our passengers were going. We learned from the Red Cross that the town of Gander has a population of  10,400 people and they had about 10,500 passengers to take care of from all  the airplanes that were forced into Gander! We were told to just relax at the hotel and we would be contacted when the U.S. airports opened again, but  not to expect that call for a while. "We found out the total scope of the terror back home only after getting to  our hotel and turning on the TV, 24 hours after it all started. "Meanwhile, we had lots of time on our hands and found that the people of  Gander were extremely friendly. They started calling us the "plane people." We enjoyed their hospitality, explored the town of Gander and ended up having a pretty good time. "Two days later, we got that call and were taken back to the Gander airport. Back on the plane, we were reunited with the passengers and found out what they had been doing for the past two days. What we found out was incredible. "Gander and all the surrounding communities (within about a 75 Kilometer radius) had closed all high schools, meeting halls, lodges, and any other large gathering places. They converted all these facilities to mass lodging areas for all the stranded travelers. Some had cots set up, some had mats with sleeping bags and pillows set up. "ALL the high school students were required to volunteer their time to take care of the "guests." Our 218 passengers ended up in a town called  Lewisporte, about 45 kilometers from Gander where they were put up in a high school. If any women wanted to be in a women-only facility, that was  arranged. Families were kept together. All the elderly passengers were taken to private homes. "Remember that young pregnant lady? She was put up in a private home right  across the street from a 24-hour Urgent Care facility. There was a dentist  on call and both male and female nurses remained with the crowd for the duration. "Phone calls and e-mails to the U.S. and around the world were available to  everyone once a day. During the day, passengers were offered "Excursion" trips. Some people went on boat cruises of the lakes and harbors. Some went for hikes in the local forests. Local bakeries stayed open to make fresh bread for the guests. Food was prepared by all the residents and brought to the schools. People were driven to restaurants of their choice and offered wonderful meals. Everyone was given  tokens for local laundry mats to wash their clothes, since luggage was still on the aircraft. In other words, every single need was met for those stranded travelers. "Passengers were crying while telling us these stories. Finally, when they  were told that U.S. airports had reopened, they were delivered to the airport right on time and without a single passenger missing or late. The local Red Cross had all the information about the whereabouts of  each and every passenger and knew which plane they needed to be on and when all the planes were leaving. They coordinated everything beautifully. It was absolutely incredible. "When passengers came on board, it was like they had been on a cruise.  Everyone knew each other by name. They were swapping stories of their stay,  impressing each other with who had the better time. Our flight back to Atlanta looked li ke a chartered party flight. The crew just stayed out of  their way. It was mind-boggling. Passengers had totally bonded and were  calling each other by their first names, exchanging phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses. "And then a very unusual thing happened. One of our passengers approached me and asked if he could make an announcement over the PA system. We never, ever allow  that. But this time was different. I said "of course" and handed him the  mike. He picked up the PA and reminded everyone about what they had just  gone through in the last few days. He reminded them of the hospitality they had received at the hands of total strangers. He continued by saying that he  would like to do something in return for the good folks of Lewisporte. "He said he was going to set up a Trust Fund under the name of DELTA 15 (our flight number). The purpose of the trust fund is to provide college  scholarships for the high school students of Lewisporte. He asked for donations of any amount from his fellow travelers. When the paper  with donations got back to us with the amounts, names, phone numbers and addresses, the total was for more than $14,000! "The gentleman, a MD from Virginia, promised to match the donations and to start the administrative work on the scholarship. He also said that he would forward  this proposal to Delta Corporate and ask them to donate as well. As I write this account, the trust fund is at more than $1.5 million and has assisted 134 students in college education. "I just wanted to share this story because we need good stories right now. It gives me a little bit of hope to know that some people in a far away place were kind to some strangers who literally dropped in on them. It reminds me how much good there is in the world." "In spite of all the rotten things we see going on in today’s world this story confirms that there are still a lot of good and Godly people in the world and when things get bad, they will come forward.
Remember this lady?  
How could they miss not selecting her against the two that were selected???? Remember this lady? Irena Sendler Died: May 12, 2008 (aged 98) Warsaw, Poland During WWII, Irena, got permission to work in the Warsaw ghetto, as a Plumbing/Sewer specialist. She had an ulterior motive. Irena smuggled Jewish infants out in the bottom of the tool box she carried. She also carried a burlap sack in the back of her truck, for larger kids. Irena kept a dog in the back that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto. The soldiers, of course, wanted nothing to do with the dog and the barking covered the kids/infants noises. During her time of doing this, she managed to smuggle out and save 2500 kids/infants. Ultimately, she was caught, however, and the Nazi's broke both of her legs and arms and beat her severely. Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she had smuggled out,in a glass jar that she buried under a tree in her back yard. After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived and tried to reunite the family. Most had been gassed. Those kids, she helped got placed into foster family homes or adopted. In 2007 Irena was up for the Nobel Peace Prize. She was not selected. Al Gorewon, for a slide show on Global Warming. Later another politician, Barack Obama, won for his work as a community organizer for ACORN. In MEMORIAM - 65 YEARS LATER I'm doing my small part by forwarding this message. I hope you'll consider doing the same. It is now more than 65 years since the Second World War in Europe ended. This e-mail is being sent as a memorial chain, In memory of the six million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians and 1,900 Catholic priests who were murdered, massacred, raped, burned, starved and humiliated! Now, more than ever, with Iran , and others, claiming the HOLOCAUST to be 'a myth', It's imperative to make sure the world never forgets, Because there are others who would like to do it again. 31 I noticed that our staff was not coming for tea these days. I asked one of them. He said that  we were told by the one in charge that they were coming late to the center. I am sure that it was not what was told but the way it was told that made the difference. In communication I was told in a training program called "EST"  [ Erhard Seminar Training, popular about 25 years back in India] that in inter personal communication I am responsible 100% that message is well received by the other. I need to identify with the other person and feel the way he may feel when I am telling him something.  " treat others the way you like to be treated" -Jesus  ---------------------- 30 My Ego: A cartoon I saw recently in New Leader Magazine Aug 2012,made me reflect on my life. The wife :" i am talking to  you all these while and you don't say anything! You are just yawning!" Husband: " I was not yawning, I was trying to say something. But I had no chance!" How often this happens in my life! Even after I see that some one is trying to respond to my endless chatter in my eagerness to talk and make my point I go on talking. My Ego says " I need to be heard, i must win the argument, others must pay attention to what I say! ----------------------------------------------- 29  24th July 2012 is my cataract operation on my right eye. Left eye was operated in Jan this year and is in very good condition.  The doctor Manohar Kheskhani is a very kind person. He operates his patients  in Rajastan hospital in Ahmedabad. He told me that my BP should be brought down for the operation. " otherwise we doctors get worried during the operation!" My BP is normal now. The whole team takes great care in operating the patients.  I felt very relaxed during my last operation. Both my eyes with good sight I will be able to do a lot of work in editing video and still photos. Sincere and service-minded doctors are a great inspiration for me. -------------------------------------- 28 Shunyan The name suited him : "Shunyan" means zero/ zerofied person! A person who is reached the state of emptying his self . " Drop your ego and follow me " said Jesus. He looked a real zero in that sense.  I asked him during my visit with my brother Appachan / Jeevan,  why he is called Shunyan. He said laughingly " it was put by others who came to him for guidance in mediation and a completely happy life." It must be that way perceived the person of this Guru. Most of the Gurus in India will summarize spirituality in this same word: be a shunyan. When I am not there He is there. When the well is empty water can flow into it. --------------------------------------- 27  service Near my parish church there was a family of house name Edapadikorotte. Fr V Chacko sj in Gujarat was from that family. His father had a fall from a tree and was bedridden for about 13 years. The mother of Chacko looked after the man for all these years with great love. It was very inspiring for me to see such dedication for such a long time. The father of Chacko also looked cheerful whenever I met him. --------------------------------------------- 26 self sufficiency.  A family uncle was our neighbor at my village at Madukkakunnu. He had many children and had very little land. So life was difficult. He had to go almost daily  to the toddy shop to have a drink. This cut down from the money available for food and clothing. All the children got married and left. The wife also died and he was alone for long time. There was not much change in his life style. He did not bother others about his needs. I am sure that he had very little to eat. He had very few needs. One morning he was found dead. Nobody knew he was sick. The took his body to wash and prepare for the burial. The they found some money under the pillow of his bedding. When they counted they found that it was enough for the burial. It was clear that he did not want worry anybody even at his death. ------------------------------------------ 25 Vocation When I was  in the school at Chengalam St Antony's HS there was parish priest who was very eager to get boys to join the "Mission. He talked to us and constantly reminded about what are we going to after the studies. His own enthusiasm about the missions encouraged me a lot to  think of joining the missions especially in the North of India. The joy i felt when i thought of these things was sign that there is call in my innermost self. This happened repeatedly and i asked my father, not sure at all that he will give permission. It was great joy to get permission. [At the back of my mind there was a regret that economically i could not contribute to the  family welfare. Being a large family of four brothers and six sisters we needed to work towards the welfare of the family.] I almost knew it because both my father and mother used to make me pray for the intention daily to make me a priest. --------------------------------------------- 24 simplicity of greatness Fr Anthony Mailday was very quiet person who live most of his life in Gomtipur, Ahmedabad. But he was someone special for people. He visited the families, especially on the Birthday of a child. That made him very endearing to the families. He traveled by bus. He silent effort formed a community out of the Malayali people. They say that if there are two malayalees there will be three associations. But it was surprising that they became one and till today they are an organization doing a lot of good the people in Ahmedabad.   --------------------------------------------- 23 Those four brothers had nothing. They stayed on the top of a beautiful mountain. They prayed most of the time. Visitors were most welcome especially if they were seekers of spiritual growth. One of them was sick and taken to hospital. When discharged he was given a bill for 3000/- Rs. He had no money with him. But soon some one turned up and gave him the exact amount and he could pay the bill. That donor had no reason to come to the hospital at that time! -------------------------------------------- 22 Resentment When I was  at Fatehgunj Vadodara Fr Palau and old father was appointed to our community. He had an advice  for all " don't go to sleep at night with a resentment in you heart. Go and make it up with the person with whom you had a friction" It worked wonders for me later in my life. But it was not easy when I thought I was right and he was wrong. -----------------------------------------------  21Happiness Today's email was very inspiring. It was Power point presentation, but on the 4th slide i was struck by the power of the message: woman 1: does your husband make you happy?  woman 2: No All around them who heard this were surprised, sine they were a happy couple. woman 1: No? How come? woman2 : He does not make me happy. All are shocked by this repeated answer. woman 2: " I am happy!, No one can make me happy. No one needs to make me happy. I am happy, he is happy and we are happy sharing our happiness which is real spiritual joy.   ------------------------------------------------ 20 understanding Fr Herbert D'souza looked very serious and strict as principal of St Xavier's college Ahmedabad. That was the time [ 1959] I had just come from Kerala to join the Society of Jesus in Ahmedabad vice province. The climate, the food, the place, the language all these were so different that for one year we were a bit lost. Having meals at 9.30 was very strange for us and I went to deep sleep in the class in the college. I could not follow what was taught since the school standard in Gujarat and Kerala were very much different. All these induced sleep in the class. When Fr Herbert took his rounds on the corridor he noticed me sleeping and took away the books. At the end of the class i could not find my books.  Some one told me to go to the principal's office. I went with great fear and I could not even speak. He just handed over the books without saying anything. This has happened more than once. He really understood my problem and that helped me to admire his person and push through those difficult days.   ----------------------------------------------- 19 joyful help My work in communication  involved in sub titling in English the videos published on the youtube channel and later distributed on DVDs. So even after meals i used to ask Fr Jerry Fernandez to spend a few min with me in the studio improving my English Sub Titles  and so far he has never said no. It was very inspiring for me since i have not come across any body who never said no. It is in giving and sharing what we have that we can find joy and fulfillment. Often this is not a heavy duty but an enjoyable activity. Especially when i give the best i have. ------------------------------------------  18 unceasing readiness.  In 2011 June i had herpes, a sickness with great pain. The herpes attack was near the eye and that made it more painful.  It lasted 6 months for the pain to subside and I could work normally. A number of times  I had to go to the doctor. Most of the a time a person  - Fr Sahji T, from our community accompanied me to the doctor. I often suggested that i can ask others to come with me to the doctor. But he said no need to bother others and he was always ready to come. sometimes it took half an hour to reach the doctor through the heavy traffic in Ahmedabad.  Endless wait in the waiting rooms.  He never got tired of all these. ------------------------------------------  17 greatness
the Jesuit priest who was the our tertian instructor [ Tertian-ship = a spiritual training after the ordination and some experience in working with people.] was quiet told but very loving.
We thought his talks were old fashioned, but his life was very inspiring.
That is what mattered for us.
If he has to give me some thing he will come to my room and give it.
i used to say that I would have come to your room to get it.
But he will say that it is nothing to come and give it personally to you.
When I went to his room for counseling he had a great smile and I felt at home.
I never felt threatened in his presence as i have experience earlier with other spiritual counselors.
----------------------------------------  16  Children looking into the innocent eyes of the small children i wonder how any one can hurt that child for one's own pleasure. When the Church is rocked by child abuse cases  the accused may have done the crime of betraying the trust the child had on an elderly person, often a religious teacher or priest.   How terrible.   ----------------------------------------- 15 advice " Be good!"  is a greeting we hear often.  Tony D'melo used to say " don't be good!"  The human tendency is to do the opposite of what is told to them.  When i tell some one "be good" , it implies that for me he/she is not good enough.  This message goes to his unconscious. and he/she will develop a feeling of hatred for the person who says it, and  not try really to be  good. ---------------------------------------- 14 attraction Tony D'Mello was great inspiring Guru for many of us. Once we were eating ice scream at Jeevandarshan Vadodara  and Tony was with us. One of us said that the ice cream is very good. " What a pity it is not a sin!" Tony said. What he wanted to say that what is forbidden is more enjoyable.   The depth of the teaching struck me and I never forgot that. Human beings are tempted to try out what is forbidden.  The more laws are made the more it is broken.  ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 13 Dancers Dance teachers from MS University used to come the sound recording studio in Vadodara, jeevandarshan, to record soundtracks which can be used on stage while dancing. I had to tell them often to sit in such way that the mic can pick up singing well with sufficient level for recording.  May be these expert teachers were not  accustomed to being told to do certain things. He said half jokingly " I make other's dance, but you make me dance" Each one has his expertise and knowhow and we need each other in this world.  Let us build a world a happier home for everyone with our own particular contribution. --------------------------------------  12 Conviction When i was a brother early in my formation and studies Bandhu Ishanand Vempeny told me : "Stand by your own convictions, nothing else / no one else  will support you in your life ahead. I felt that there is a lot of truth in that and it was proved in my life later on.  Not because it is written in the scriptures or in the rule book or in the constitution, that I must behave in a certain way. Not because the superiors / some one in charge told me to do it, but I know I can do it and I shall do it for the greater good of others. This type of attitude has helped me a lot in my search for meaning in life all these years that i spent as a Jesuit. --------------------------------------- 11. Commitment In the interview Gurjarvani took of Yashwant Mehta  a writer with more that 450 books published said this: " For the oppressed , for the marginalized [ Dalits ] for women's rights, for children, I write, I speak and that is my life's satisfaction. He also added that he is an atheist. There is no need of a God to understand our life and our universe. Everything is explained by science and will be explained what is not known now. What motivates his attitude and his non stop struggle to achieve this? I have not asked him. But his passion is to serve others. What else can give us fulfillment in life except compassion and service! --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 10  Dedication Dr Sarup Druv is a poet and social worker who has dedicated her life for these two areas. She wrote poems in Gujarati which brought out the evils of the times like communalism, riots, injustice, women's up-liftment, inequality, etc She traveled to different distant areas to train people  in this line mostly by bus and alone. often fought with th government to have justice done. I have not yet asked what motivates her to do this type of hard work. 
Is it something like what Christians have : "Whatever you did to one these little ones you did it to me." [ Mt 25 ]
--------------------------------------- 9 Smile When I was in the last part of my college at Ahmedabad there was Fr Salles SJ with us. What I cannot forget is his lovely smile. He had long white beard and not much hair. I have not seen him without that smile. He was the treasurer of the province at that time which is very responsible job. Usually they get upset on unreasonable demands from others for funds. But not Fr Salles. He used to play Chinese checkers with us every night and if he lost he got upset and shouted at the partner for not playing well. But the moment he got up from table he was all smile again. ---------------------------------------- 8 Sensibility. We were having a sent off for one our community members.  During the meal which was supposed to be a lively occasion an argument broke out between two members and the all the others practically kept quiet through out. I saw some of us trying to make a shift in the direction of the conversation without any success. When the meal was over a member of our community remarked the the  " Shoksabha is over!"  I said "that is true" Shall we learn to be sensitive to the situation and the feelings of others! ---------------------------------------- Innocence  When i went to the 1st standard in the school one of my friends gave a sweet which had the shape of a small orange piece. I kept in my hand till I reached home. You can imagine the state of that sweet. part of it had melted in my hand since i was holding it tight. When I reached home I gave it carefully to my mother. She said "why did you bring this all the way keeping it in you hand?" I said "I wanted to share it with you" She was so touched that she broke the small sweet into two and ate half of it and gave me the other half. "Next time " she said " eat it and no need to bring it home!" When i remember my mother i always remember this incident. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 6  Kindness  I was visiting a person with cancer hospital in Ahmedabad once when a man opened the door and asked " Kanji...?" [ Rice cooked served with the rice water and pickle ] The person in the room said "no, thanks" Later i asked the person in my room for an explanation, he told me that daily this person distributes Kanji free to all the cancer patients in that hospital which was very large. He had a  deep experience of kindness in his life and he wanted to return that with kindness to a large number of people. Such chain reactions can change the world. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 5 Fear  A rumor was spread during the riots in Ahmedabad that 1500 people of one faction was marching towards the housing colony to burn down the houses and kill people. Hearing the  rumor an elderly man fell unconscious and dies on the spot. It was only a rumor. No one came there to attack the housing colony. Fear killed the man. After the massive earth quake in Ahmedabad there were tremors often which was very much felt by people. Some jumped from the 1st and second floor of their flat and broke their legs. Out of sheer fear they jumped and injured themselves. The tremors were not harmful after all. --------------------------------------- 4 Inhuman During the riots in Ahmedabad a friend of mine told me this: A crowd came with swords and knives to some children playing in the street corner. They asked for their religion. All of them said that they are Hindus.  So the crowd started walking back. One small girl was so frightened that she started crying, calling her mother "Ammie ...".[ this term is used only by the Muslims] Hearing that the crowd returned and cut the child into pieces! To what low level can human beings deteriorate! Not even animals would do this. Lord deliver the world from such inhuman behavior in the future. --------------------------------------- 3 Mother There was a time during the war my elder brother and myself walked several kilo meters to go to the ration shop to get rice for the family. The rice we got was not sufficient for the family. So we cooked tapioca or flour obtained from the large palm tree trunks often to add to the supply of rice. Since my mother was inside the kitchen and served us as we ate sitting on the veranda we could not see how much she ate after we children had our meal. If asked for a little more she definitely gave a some more. That means she managed  with less food  to feed us. When I call God " our Father and Mother" I compare Him to my mother! --------------------------------------- 2 Near death experience. I was not present but immediately after the death of Fr Francis ... [?] the person who was present in his room at the nursing home told me this. Father was serious and the sisters wanted to call the doctor. Francis told them " No need to call the doctor. There is only half an hour more for me go."  He died peacefully after half an hour. There was smile on his face. He must have seen the Lord at his side  waiting to take him home to his Father. Death can be a wonderful experience for everyone and for me! --------------------------------------- 1 Opportunity lost I was traveling by train from Mumbai to Vadodara. Opposite my seat in the crowded train in the 2nd class unreserved compartment was a poor family of a mother and three children. The had a large metal box may be with their  belongings. What struck me was the extremely sad face of the poor woman. After some time the children said that they are hungry and the mother being sad and in deep thought did not respond. I had a purse  with at least Rs 500 in my pocket. I thought of buying something for the children but i could not come to a decision to do it. When the children started asking for food again again she brought out some dirty notes and naught some biscuits for them. They ate that with great satisfaction. The woman continued being sad. May be she was thrown out of her house somewhere in Mumbai by her husband or one of her parents have died and she was going home. But seeing the box I thought she is most probably thrown out of her house for some reason. What makes me regret is the fact that I could not help them in any way. [Devasia M]

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