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.
“LIFE” is explained as Love In Full Experience. It’s an opportune time to retrospect and look back at the attitudes which guided our life journey in 2017 in order to approach 2018 with an optimistic attitude. The world in 2017 encountered various tragedies like hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, landslides, other natural disasters in Tamil Nadu (OCKHI Storm) at Kanyakumari district and faced challenges in the present political scenario (RK Nagar election). This must not hinder our progress and let our attitude falter. Rather we must march forward at the right altitude and with a positive attitude. When we focus on the tragedies and disasters we cannot get in line with our journey of life as happy and joyful human beings on earth. Therefore, this New Year is an invitation to each of us to count the blessings of 2017 by being grateful to God in the words of St. Paul, ‘in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus’ (1Thes 5,18) and welcome the New Year with vigour, hope, courage and strength. Once we start appreciating all the blessings bestowed by God, our attitude changes, we stop complaining and finally we become thankful, which produces Joy.
Life completely depends on our attitude. Why depend on our attitude? From where does our attitude arise? In this New Year I intend to focus on our attitude because the present scenario is all about instant news through TV, computer, network, mobile phones, tablets and so on. We hear bad news much more quickly. We are bombarded with negative information from every direction and there is a possibility of slipping into an emotional mood. We will easily be worried about the situation of the country and society; politically and economically but what change will we see personally? During difficult times, each of us likes to choose the better and have a positive outlook. Having encountered various disasters and changes in the past, are we going to face the upcoming year with gloom and doom? Are we going to feel that nothing will work out for us? When we are deep into our problems and unable to find solutions we will sink into discouragement. To avoid this ill feeling and overcome it we need to be prepared with an attitude adjustment called optimism.
“OPTIMISM” means the confidence to transform the worst into the best. It is like the seed that has fallen from the beak of the bird, which does not complain rather begins to grow into a big tree that gives shade and shelter to many. At the closure of 2017, it is high time to check how optimistic we are in our daily life. Do we go on cursing people and situations or do we try to make the best out of every event that happens in life? In line with this thought I remember an Ancient African proverb, “even in hell there is a little corner known as heaven.” It means that in difficult times we need to march with a positive attitude so that we can receive blessings for ourselves and others. Therefore I would like to bring to your attention that attitude has a drastic impact on life (both positive and negative attitudes). What do we choose: Positive or Negative? Positive – will lead to success, make us humble in our dealings, develop faith in God & others, become content with what we have and finally we become thankful personalities. Negative – will lead to unhappiness, poor relationships, difficulty at work and ultimately poor health.
Our attitude arises from within not from external circumstances/people. Let’s choose our attitude by being mindful of the blessings we have received: life, parents, kith and kin, relatives, friends, vocation to married and religious life and good health. We shall learn this choosing of the right and positive attitude from our Holy Founder, St. Louis Guanella, who was a merciful father because of his gratefulness for everything. He possessed the special power of healing souls, of dispelling their difficulties without ever recalling them. He was generous in forgiving his adversaries and he implied the very motto ‘Mercy more than justice’ all though his life where he experienced love in full and transmitted to the very needy people of his time. Hence, like our founder and other great personalities let’s keep the mercifulness at the center and dwell with a positive outlook, moving forward with an optimistic attitude to become successful in 2018. May I wish you all an optimistic and a prosperous New Year. May God reward you with more blessings.
Fr. Soosai Rathinam
Cuddalore – The children from Arunachala Matriculation School in Kurinchipaadi made a charitable visit to Don Guanella Boys Home. The biggest lesson they learned is that the Boys Home teaches that “every human person has a head – to think for the poor, heart – to feel for the poor, hands – to help the poor”. These children personified it through their act of mercy. They saved some of their own pocket allowance and came with lots of happiness and enthusiasm to help the poor students in our home. Their financial help might be minimum but their love and example is great!
On December 8, 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Francis solemnly opened the Holy Door at Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, ushering in the Jubilee Year of Mercy. On the following Sunday, the Third Sunday of Advent, December 13th, the Holy Door of the Cathedral of Rome, the Basilica of Saint John Lateran, was opened. In the following weeks, the Holy Doors of other Papal Basilicas and local cathedral churches in every country will be opened. The Year of Mercy will close with the celebration of the Solemnity of Christ the King, November 20, 2016.
Imagine that as the cascade of church doors open around the world, God is lavishing gifts of mercy and love on all who come to Him. Like the father in the prodigal son parable, God not only waits for us but actually runs to us when we turn and come near.
Receiving God’s love opens the doors of our hearts to our sisters and brothers so that we might share with them the love and mercy we have received in such abundance. This is “a program of life as demanding as it is rich with joy and peace,” says Pope Francis. It is demanding because yielding to God always entails a process of ongoing conversion. It is joyful and peaceful because we walk together in the work of God in our world.
Pope Francis’ teaching on divine mercy in The Face of Mercy is profound and worthy of contemplation. We are moved to prayer as we consider how God’s mercy both fills us and goes even beyond justice in bringing us to full communion with God. “No one can be excluded from God’s mercy,” the Holy Father added in his surprise announcement of this special time of grace and spiritual renewal for the people of God.
God’s mercy has been certainly a hall mark of Pope Francis’ entire pontificate. He has unceasingly preached and promoted this theme in interviews, homilies, addresses and writing. It is a consistent message that he often references in his almost daily correspondence.
Reading the document The Face of Mercy we come across some beautiful and touching statements. “Mercy is the bridge that connects God and Man, opening our hearts to the hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness.
“Mercy is the fundamental law that dwells in the heart of every person who looks sincerely into the eyes of his brothers and sisters on the path of life.
“God’s mercy is the mark of His omnipotence, rather than a sign of weakness.
“In mercy, we find proof of how God loves us. He gives His entire self, always, freely, asking nothing in return.”
My prayer is that we engage this time of grace to deepen our appreciation of God’s tremendous love for us and that we commit to extend that compassion to those who live in such great need these days.
By Fr. Joseph Rinaldo, SdC