Legacy Remembered Lent 2018: Prayer and Suffering…

frABacc10As we are in the Lenten season, it would be appropriate to reflect upon the greatest testament which our beloved Founder St. Louis Guanella left to us his disciples: Prayer and Suffering. It can be well understood from the words of Bishop Aurelio Bacciarini, the successor of Fr. Guanella. Prayer is the first necessary condition for the stability, progress and success of the Houses of Fr. Guanella. He also differentiates prayer and the spirit of prayer: Prayer is the common and ordinary invocation of God that we raise to Him during the day. Spirit of prayer is something more intense and deeper. Therefore for these extraordinary charitable acts not only mere human hands are needed but also the kind and strong intervention of God. Without the spirit of prayer, we would not receive God’s favors. Hence it is a requirement for every member of a community and whole of the congregation to be soaked in prayer and make the Houses of Charity real tabernacles of constant praise to God. How to make our life prayer? a) from the Altar of the Holy Eucharist, let us draw the treasures of Divine Mercy b) from the reception of Holy Communion, let us unite ourselves with Jesus with the fervor of saints, so that nothing of this world may separate us from Him c) From the Holy Tabernacle – Paradise on Earth – let us sanctify our work, our travelling and our rest by keeping our hearts and minds on the Lord, in conversation with heaven.
Suffering is a word that drips drops of blood. Unless and until one is filled with the spirit of prayer, it is highly difficult to understand the term suffering. From the very life of Jesus, we can perceive that there is no redemption without the cross, suffering. The Church of Jesus Christ floats on the blood of the martyrs. All her triumphs are rooted in suffering. The Houses of Fr. Guanella were born from martyrdom. Fr. Louis Guanella suffered martyrdom in everything: contradictions, accusations, opposition, humiliations, disappointments, hunger, thirst, tiredness, agonies of body and soul. Let us understand that suffering is the key to reach paradise. As imitators of Jesus Christ and followers of Fr. Guanella, let us strive to endure daily suffering, suffer discomforts and privations, endure and carry the crosses that faithfully accompany our daily lives. The very legacy of Prayer and Suffering teaches us a lesson to despise the world and detach ourselves from its allurements. Let us live in God by prayer and suffering as our beloved Father and Founder did.
At the invitation of our Holy Father the season of lent is a favorable time which is offered by God as ‘a sacramental sign of our conversion. Lent summons us and enables us, to come back to the Lord wholeheartedly, and in every aspect of our lives’. Prompted by Pope Francis, we shall recollect the aspect of prayer and suffering as Guanellians. He says that prayer should become the driving force to enable us to reach out to the poor, marginalized and the victimized. Prayer is the constant response of our hearts to the will of God. The attitude of penance reminds us that we need to suffer with endurance, to say no to our selfishness. Acts of charity should be the constant striving of our hearts to share our time and resources with those who have nothing or nobody.
Added to our own physical, psychological, socio-economic problems, the present religious and political situation impels us to march forward with much courage to face the prejudices and persecutions against us Christians in order to be rooted out from a particular country or territory. Generally this might arouse in us questions like where is God? Why all these to us alone? and make us lose hope in God. On a positive note this happens to us because God wants to communicate with us but we are busy doing our work. Often we are after our minds by being too much indulged in social networks, technology, media which keeps us away from the creator who is behind every sphere. Rather we are called to be after our hearts from where love proceeds and inclines us to care for the anthropological aspect of our existence. It is high time this Lent that we fast from the media, network culture and be rooted in communicating with God in prayer and receive graces to face our trials and tribulations. May this Lenten Season help us to have metanoia and a fruitful celebration of the Resurrection of the Lord.

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Humanity and Poverty in Christmas!

Adoration by the shepherds - MainoWe have just begun the season of Advent which recalls to our memory the coming of Jesus Christ our Savior on Christmas Day. This is a time of hope and expectation for the coming of Christ. We follow the spectacular consequence of our consumerist tradition in shopping and in an external preparation. The mystery of the Incarnation has been reduced to decorations and we have lost sight of the true nature.
It is not only important to know that God became man but it is also quite interesting to learn what type of man he became. I have read in the latest arrival “In Love With Christ”, the secret of St. Francis of Assisi by Father Raniero Cantalamessa O.F.M.CAP, who is integrating the ontological vision of incarnation by describing from John’s Gospel “the word, being God, became man/flesh” and from Paul “Christ, though He was rich, became poor”. Today the humanity and poverty of Christ should be taken seriously in order to understand Christmas. Christmas and the poor cannot be separated. Jesus Christ came for the humble, the little ones, the suffering but this reality never reaches our hearts today.
Jesus came to this world to bring peace and fullness of life.  But today catastrophic wars; bottomless cruelty due to extremism and particularly terrorist violence in the name of religion which take away innocent children; people in the war zone; and also false propaganda against life is a great threat for humanity!  As religious and people of God, we are called to remain full of hope and to make a grateful remembrance of the recent past and thus open our doors to others. The Year of Consecrated Life speaks of “being in love, of true friendship, of profound communion”. Henceforth, let us take seriously our complexities of Christian living by “being alert and stay awake” to encounter the living Savior of flesh and blood.

Fr. Soosai Rathinam

A Constellation of Saints!

As we begin this month by celebrating All Saints Day, we are called to remember the variety of colors of Holiness and the luminous faces of them. We have begun the centenary of our Holy Founder and he himself promised on his death bed, “I will pray for you in heaven… I will help you and comfort you from heaven.”
In our life time, we suffer from various physical, mental, emotional and psychological injuries. The process of becoming a normal person, turning to Jesus Christ and experiencing his extravagant love, mercy and forgiveness, is like a course of rehabilitation which consists of pushing and pulling. Saints too had their twistedness and stoniness because they were human with their weaknesses and sins but they were very courageous to change their lives through ‘self denial’ and said ‘yes’ to the spirit and voice of God.
In the Gospel of John 18:36, Jesus openly declared, “My kingdom is not of this world.” Henceforth, His purpose was not to enjoy Himself or become a popular, miracle performer. But, He came to lay down His life as a sacrifice for sin, as a ransom for many. St. Louis Guanella would call his excruciating suffering “God’s providence” and an opportunity to obtain an extraordinary grace. Therefore, problems and hardships we have to deal with are tools in God’s hands for making us holy. The saints purified and accepted their brokenness and failures and showed their willingness to submit to God’s will. As Pope Francis says, “The Church is a vineyard of the Lord, the fertile Mother, who is not afraid to roll up her sleeves to pour oil and wine on people’s wounds; this is the Church: One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and composed of sinners in need of God’s infinite mercy.”
Holiness or becoming holy does not involve serious study, God is not a topic to study, to make an analysis of, but a person to encounter and embrace. Matthew 5:48 states, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
May the constellation of saints above watch over us and fill us with beauteous light! As our Regulation number 27 recommends to us, “Every year, as an act of communion and a pledge of charity, each confrere priest should celebrate a Holy Mass for the Superior General, possibly on the anniversary of his election; similarly, it should be done for the provincial superior within the province.” Happy anniversary to our Divine Providence Province and a blessed Feast of the Mother of Divine Providence!

Fr. Soosai Rathinam

Traditional DGMS Souvenir Released

Guanella Deepam released

Guanella Deepam releasedChennai – Deepam, meaning ‘light’ which is in fact Jesus Christ, cannot be kept under a bushel basket, but on the lamp stand giving light to the whole house. The 14th edition of Guanellian Deepam was released on October 24th at Don Guanella Major Seminary by Fr. Provincial. This edition is dedicated to the theme ‘New Evangelization’ in the view of the second anniversary of Canonization of Saint Guanella. The theologians wrote many competent essays and there were also articles from various Guanellian houses. Particular appreciation is given to the Editorial Board for encouraging the gift of writing among the confreres and Guanellian Sisters.