Begin Again – It’s a New Morning

Sun rising through the clouds in a golden and orange sky

C.S. Lewis once said, “Relying on God has to begin over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.” Every morning is a fresh start; invites everyone to renew themselves, to begin again. Each day, the world shows us a new face. The sky does not look like it did yesterday. Yesterday morning the sky was blue, and the sunrise was colorful; today, the sky was filled with clouds, and the sunrise was lost in never-ending gray. A week ago, there was a red sky, and the sun rose like a burning bush. On another day it was rainy and the sky spread a colorful rainbow. Look at the birds or hear them, happily singing, joyfully flying. Even the pets in our homes seem to have a new spirit every day. But for us humans, how does it look? Catherine Pulsifer says, “Every day is a chance to begin again,” If a person fails to begin a fresh day, it means that he is going to have another day burdened with past knowledge and difficulties – not able to overcome anything, achieve anything. Life then becomes routine, monotonous, a living rut. To counter this, Meister Eckhart says, “Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.” Only such willingness can lead the day to make a mark from the darkness. It is very easy for everyone to press the snooze button. If we do this, when will the day dawn? Because it is …

New Every Morning

Every day is a fresh beginning,

Listen my soul to the glad refrain,

And, spite old sorrows,

And older sinning,

Troubles forecasted

And possible pain,

Take heart with the day and begin again.

Yes! Take heart with the day and begin again. These are the words of Susan Coolidge; the poem is comforting, forgiving, and hopeful. It starts off with the simple truth that every day is a new beginning, a fresh start, (another opportunity to put on Christ) with new possibilities and experiences. Every day is a new opportunity to grow and experience life. So, please “take heart with the day and begin again.” Like the sky, sun and moon, our life is also fresh in the morning. What stops us from beginning again, to start all over, to breath the new spirit? Is it our anxiety, anger, depression, confusion, or any sort of yesterday’s problems? If the answer is “yes”, then we have forgotten to practice what St. Paul taught and failed to listen to St. Peter. St. Paul reminds of what we can do. He writes, “Let the sunset not find you still angry and do not give the devil a chance” (Eph 4:26-27). Do we go to bed with anger inside of us? If so, is it possible to sleep well? Do we have frightening dreams? Why? St. Peter warns us, “Keep alert, like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour” (1 Pet 5:8). So, he is there, the devil who seeks to make sure that we don’t begin well. It may be a new morning but not a fresh morning with a new spirit; the sunrise may be bright, but my heart is numb, the mind is disoriented, and the body is sleepy, drowsy. So, what to do?

St. Francis De Sales says, “Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them – every day begins the task anew; be who you are and be that well.” Never forget this – that you can only be yourself and not someone else.

Every morning is the world made new.
You who are weary of sorrow and sinning
Here is a beautiful hope for you,
A hope for me and a hope for you.

Today is a new day, new blessings

Newness is on your way to the new “YOU”

Yes! Today is not another day on your calendar; it is a new opportunity, a new chance, a new challenge, a new beginning; newness everywhere. We need to stand erect and embrace it. Become the reason for someone’s smile today. Dwight Howard said “Today is a new day. Even if you were wrong yesterday, you can get it right today.” Begin again, breathe fresh air, fill your hearts and minds with newness. Someone once said that if the sun comes up and I can see it I have a chance to become victorious. You may have stumbled and struggled yesterday – but not today. Today you are going to make someone’s life brighter. Making someone smile is part of our mission in life. Jesus did, the Apostles did, and all the Saints did – open your day imitating them and you can do it.

Sun rising through the clouds in a golden and orange sky
Image by Paul Brennan from Pixabay.

From Heart to Being Hearty

We have stepped into the month of June which is noted for devotion to the Sacred Heart in our Christian tradition, very close to our father and founder St. Louis Guanella who out of his immense love and devotion to the Sacred Heart published a booklet called In the Month of Fervor in 1884. The Sacred Heart was everything for him and for us: name and reality, project and protection, a title of recognition. We were known as sons and daughters of the Sacred Heart at our origin and even the names that we bear now (Servants of Charity & Daughters of St. Mary of Providence) are the evolution and development of that initial name – Sacred Heart.
St. John Paul II said, “Near the Heart of Christ, the human heart yearns to know the true and unique meaning of life and its own destiny to understand the value of authentic Christian life.” Our founder in fact learned from the Sacred Heart how to be a hearty person, in other words, his entire life was full of heart. Fr. Leonardo Mazzucchi testifies, “In the afternoon on October 24th, before bowing his head and taking his last breath, he assembled us around his bed, he looked at us with fatherly love and we understood that in that final gaze there was all his heart.”
Our Founder truly understood what the implications of the Sacred Heart meant: “The Lord is a Father so generous that He gives His Heart to poor creatures who in return offer Him their poor hearts. The heart of Jesus is the heart of a father and the heart of a father cannot stand being away from his children” (In the Month of Fervor). The fatherly love he experienced from God he tried to exhibit to his children, the Hearty love he received from the Father, he donated to his disciples.
From the witness of Fr. Leonardo Mazzucchi, we understand how big his heart was:

  • The Lord gave a big heart to Fr. Guanella, a heart that He formed and moulded since early childhood.
  • How recollected he was in the presence of the Tabernacle or the Holy Host
    Charity was always at work in his conversations, with love for all, even sinners.
  • At times he looked worried and expressed complaints or protests but never lost his serenity of spirit.
  • At times he reluctantly made concessions, and showed some exterior impatience but always with the attitude of goodness and affection.
  • He never excluded anyone and never denied his familiar conversation to anyone even to those who once were against him.
  • Comfort was always the final gift of his conversations as well as his reprimands.
  • Though he attached great importance to the Rule, he was ready to excuse someone who was not observing one of its numbers.
  • He took great care not to emphasize his outstanding qualities of intelligence and soul, or marks of honor due to his status and responsibility.
  • He laughed heartily at the jokes of his confreres, making himself familiar with using nicknames for them.
  • My heart was never well understood. He said these words because he had given everything for the love of God and neighbor but he did not find adequate response to it not even from his disciples.

O big heart of Fr. Louis, May our hearts become like yours, filled with love for God and charity toward our brothers and sisters.
O kind and smiling face! Look at us kindly from Heaven until we see you again.
Fr. Ronald J, SdC

India and Alumni

Cuddalore – On the great celebration of Republic Day in India, Don Guanella Boys Home also celebrated Alumni day, with 29 former students participating. This is a day in which the history of DGBH was reviewed and refreshed. It is a meeting of the past and present for the future. The program was organized by Fr. Peter Sebastian, the superior and director, with the community and it was presided over by Mr. Durairaj, the HOD. The testimony by the Alumni was mind-blowing and inspiring. The key points were: renewal of the relationship among the alumni; being grateful to the institute and memories imprinted on the minds of the Alumni. The younger brothers (the present students) honored their elder bothers with their performances. The Alumni inspired the younger ones with their eye-opening speeches. Finally the Alumni proved that they are not only made of words but also of actions by their generous hands.

Honoring the Republic

Chennai – Being citizens of India, every Indian takes pride in recalling the struggle that India endured to become a free and democratic nation. On January 26th, Fr. Samson, the superior, hoisted the national flag and gave a message recalling the soldiers who worked for the nation. There was a parade organized by Br. Rajesh, Third-Year Theology student. The event also included patriotic songs and messages.

Traditions of India Honored

13 3 Cuddalore_ Evening School Pongal and Republic day CelebrationCuddalore – St. Joseph’s Evening School celebrated the Pongal feast and Republic day on January 26th. Children from four different branches gathered for the fruitful and memorable event. All the children had very joyful moments throughout the day. There were around 120 together with the children, teachers and parents. The national flag was hoisted by Fr. Mathias, SdC, chief guest of the day. Afterwards he encouraged the children to always be happy, kind hearted and talented persons in their accomplishments and to aim for a bright future. Then the Pongal Celebration started. Games and sports were organized for the students, teachers and parents like pot breaking, rongoli for parents, musical chairs and many other competitions for the children. Then children from each branch presented their programs. Fr. Mathias, Fr. Anandhan and Fr. Amalraj distributed gifts for all the ninety students. Then they also distributed prizes for the winners of different competitions. Finally, Fr. Arockia Raj, the evening school director, thanked the gathering and encouraged the new branch students and teachers to make use of the opportunity for a better future. At the end, everyone enjoyed the sweet Pongal, sugarcane, tea and puffs. Thus the day went on happily and successfully.

Annual GLM Meeting

“Without God’s help we are incapable of doing good. Every good action is marked by His grace” -St. Louis Guanella.

Chennai: Once again by the grace of God on Jan 26th – 27th we had the annual Guanellian Cooperators and Guanellian Lay movement members meeting at Don Guanella Major Seminary. The members came from Andhra, Bangalore, Chennai, Cuddalore, Kumbakonam and Sivagangai. It was wonderful to see how each one joyfully embraced each other and what was common in them was that they were Guanellians and shared the same spirit.

The event started with invoking the Holy Spirit with a hymn and Gospel reading which gave a beautiful message to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Following this the Superior of the house Fr. Samson welcomed the Gathering and Fr. Ronald, Provincial Superior, addressed the gathering with a message in which he said that more than anything we are called to be good human beings. Each one has a call in a different way and the goal is to become a saint. As our Founder said the purpose of each House is holiness. Service takes the second place as this can be done anywhere. First we need to make ourselves holy, as holiness is the synonymous to wholeness.

With this message we moved on with a topic “Transmitting Charism & Spirit of the Founder to Laity today.” Fr. Benson explained about the charism of our Founder and the spirit with which he executed the mission. This gave great motivation to the participants. Moving on we had another talk by the Delegate, Fr. Adaikalam, whose topic was, “Learning from the Founder to be an effective GC/GLM today”. He started by saying how the laity has been playing a key role in the Church and he said Jesus Himself also involved the laity who were instrumental in spreading the Good News. Our Founder too had a great love for the laity and he understood the strength of involving the laity in the mission. There were times when none supported our Founder but the laity.

Following this the representatives from each community presented their Annual Reports which basically spoke of how they organized themselves, their Formation, Spiritual activities and the mission in their location. The day was concluded with holy Mass.

On the 2nd day we started with Praise and Worship led by Fr. Samson. The group reflected on Romans 12:9-21 which was beautifully explained by Fr. Francis who said for everything the fundamental thing is love and forgiveness. When we have this we will not take revenge, take pride, boast or nourish our own ego but will walk towards the path of Sanctification. To get the members to know each other and to understand how well each one understood the charism, mission and the call, there was a group discussion followed by each group presenting their points. Fr. Adaikalam presented the group with the General Statutes, guiding them toward the next step after GLM – becoming a Cooperator.

At the end of the session Fr. Ronald addressed and thanked everyone for participating. He extended his thanks to the Fathers and he encouraged the members who for many years have been with the Congregation to think about their vocation as a Cooperator. He encouraged the Laity to participate in the mission and take over the mission homes eventually by giving their time and connecting people. The Annual meeting concluded with holy Mass and the members left with great joy from the message.

Scholastic Gathering

Cuddalore – St. Joseph’s Seminary held a scholastic fraternal gathering on January 25th. The event was organized under the topic “Mercy and Compassion” by Fr. Vincent, SdC. Pondy- Cuddalore Minor Seminarians, SultanPet diocesan minor seminarians and St. Joseph’s Seminary students participated in the event. The spiritual session nurtured the hearts of the young chaps to march forward in their call. The sacrament of reconciliation was available to help the seminarians to become pure and holy. After the tea break, there was a friendly volleyball match. Therefore, this gathering boosted the seminarians both spiritually as well as physically.

Flag Hoisting

Vadapatti – In the evening on January 25th St. John de Britto Church feast began. The main celebrant of the ceremony was Rev. Dr. Fr. J. Jaya Raj V.G of the Archdiocese of Madurai. He hoisted the flag of St. John de Britto, followed by the celebration of Mass for the first day of the novena. The concelebrants were Fr. S. Periyanayaga Samy, SdC; Fr. J. David, SdC and Fr. Vanathaiyan, SdC. The parishioners happily and actively participated in holy Mass. After Mass, Fr. J. Jaya Raj released the Novena Book and Parish Family Card. It was a remarkable and joyous day because it was the first year of the parish feast. By the grace of God and the cooperation of the parishioners the event was a success.

Making Merry

CHENNAI – In an era when everyone feels bound to compete for survival, sometimes it is easy to forget that we are with fellow companions. Amidst a tight schedule the DGSS staff, students and parents allotted January 23rd as a day for the amusement of the special children, taking them to a nearby theater for a film screening. The event was organized by the of DGSS director, Fr. S. A. Lourduraj. It was a time of making melody to the children.

A Traditional Pongal Feast

Chennai – On January 15th Don Guanella Evening School celebrated Pongal, a festival that is very popular in Tamil culture. This harvest festival unites all people. The teachers prepared them to celebrate the Pongal with traditional cultural programs. The students were very happy in their colorful dresses of Tamil Culture and eager to express their talents in celebration of Pongal. All the traditional preparations were made: colorful Kolam, the decorated pot for the pongal meal and sugarcane sticks beside the pot brought forth the neutrality of the festival. Fr. Ronald, Provincial Superior, Dn. Paul Dhinakaran and the chief guest Fr. Adaikalam were presented for the event. Fr. Ronald began with a prayer, blessed the Pongal meal and it was distributed to all in a traditional way. The cultural programs of the children were performed very well, gladdening everyone’s heart. Prizes were distributed by Fr. Adaikalam to the winners of the event. His speech was very inspiring and the event was ended with a final prayer.