20 August 2015

CHAMPIONS have a mission and vision.

Cassius Clay, the world renowned Boxing Champion who later converted to Islam with the name Mohammed Ali made a valid point when he said: Champions are not made in the Gym(gymnasium). Champions have deep inside them a desire, a dream and a vision that makes them so.

Similarly, we may also say: Salesians are not made in the Formations house; rather, Salesians have deep inside them a desire, a dream and  a vision that makes them successful educators of the young, just like Don Bosco.

Bye, Bye Bi-centenary, welcome TRi-centenary!

Without doubt, the Bi-centenary celebrations ( 1815-2015 )marking the birth of Don Bosco was a huge tribute to the "friend of Youth", Though organised mainly by the Salesian Family, the world of youth and society in general appreciated and commended the work of the Salesians of Don Bosco. The Salesians themselves, celebrated the event not only in civic  and social functions but in religious renewal programmes aimed at building a modern image of the Salesian Identity, striving to be like Don Bosco, , "Mystics of the Spirit, Prophets of fraternal communion and Servants of the young".  The Bi-centineray Year concluded on 16th. August 2015. 

What's next? Is it a Bye-bye to Bi-centenary, to be now shelved in the annals of history? It would be a sad conclusion, after all the energy expended and enthusiasm generated to let the Bi-centenary rest in oblivion while we return to the routine of the past, however worthwhile it may be to walk on beaten tracks. 

In fact, the  Bi-centenary experience should propel us immediately into the Tri-centenary of the birth of Don Bosco. It should urge us, Salesians to contribute now on, our own dreams to the global vision of Don Bosco and oblige us to take on tougher and demanding challenges of our times. Don Bosco, a product of his times, identified in a dream the problems of contemporary youth and devoted his energies with daring hope, to meet them. A vision was set before him, in a spiritual experience and a reliable guide was assigned to him. He initially restricted his youth services to benefit the christians. But very soon and in his life time, he reached out to youth in the distant mission lands. 

Though the Salesians today, faithful to the vision of Don Bosco, have spread considerably over the Continents, chiefly focused on the education of the poor belonging to all cultures and religious affiliations,  there is a fanatical challenge looming on the horizon and threatening the moral fibre  of youth especially in the Islamic countries that needs urgently to be addressed. Just as Don Bosco, undaunted, bravely confronted the forces of evil, to "save" his youngsters from the "devil", our salesian task  today is to boldly accompany the youth of our times in the war against poverty, injustice and religious fanaticism.

More pointedly, the recent threat of the Islamic State which is kidnapping and brainwashing the young generation to a vicious and brutal life of terrorism must awaken in us Don Bosco's a genuine concern and determination to arrest the exodus of violence and destruction of life. As Educators to love, justice and peace, we need to enter the Islamic countries with a powerful drive for sound education  to a holistic life. I know or better, I am convinced that Don Bosco's the Preventive system has proved very successful  as an education for transformation of the young into honest and Godfearing citizens. The testimony of countless Alumni staunchly supports this opinion. The three elements of "Reason, Religion and Loving kindness" even today, continue to empower the young and transform their lives. 

Our  Salesian educative presence is urgently needed in the Arab world. The Tri-centenary Mission dares us to take up this challenge by investing personnel and resources for the establishment of many educational institutions. The challenge is not at all to convert Muslim youth but rather to evangelise them to be better Muslims, true to their identity as a community of God and a people of peace. 

6 August 2015


JOY. - Discovering Joy in our Spirituality.

Christian Identity: We are an Easter People and Alleluia is our song.
We are CHRISTIANS not crosstians.
Prov. 17,22: A merry heart does like good medicine. But a downcast spirit dries up the bones.
 Our spirituality is Holistic - mind and body connected.

The Bible: mentions Joy, 750 times,;
Sorrow  40;  sadness 300 times
Love - 650 times
Grace, mercy – 350 times.

Psalm: 118, 24: This is the day that The Lord has made,let us rejoice and be glad.
Some quotes:
 Martin Luther: If there is no laughter in heaven, I do not want to go there.
 Jewish proverb: what soap is to the body, Laughter is to the soul.
 St. August. Learn to dance, otherwise, the angels will not know what to do with you.

Jesus: spoke of Life as Beatitudes To experience joy in sacrifice
Mary: The Magnificat manifests her gratitude which generated joy.
Don Bosco: Here we make sanctity consist in being Cheerful

Sal. Spirituality marked by joy of The Lord based on
- Trust in God _  at all times; no anxiety and worries;
- Hope against hope attitude of Don Bosco;
- Optimism of Francis de sales.

Preventive system - not oppression but expression of happiness.
Serve the Lord in gladness!

4 August 2015

Never be a Dream Stealer! Be Don Bosco.the visionary.

Never let anyone take your dreams from you...check out this story.

I have a friend named Monty Roberts who owns a horse ranch in San Ysidro. He has let me use his house to put on fund-raising events to raise money for youth at risk programs.

The last time I was there he introduced me by saying, "I want to tell you why I let Jack use my horse. It all goes back to a story about a young man who was the son of an itinerant horse trainer who would go from stable to stable, race track to race track, farm to farm and ranch to ranch, training horses. As a result, the boy's high school career was continually interrupted. When he was a senior, he was asked to write a paper about what he wanted to be and do when he grew up.

"That night he wrote a seven-page paper describing his goal of someday owning a horse ranch. He wrote about his dream in great detail and he even drew a diagram of a 200-acre ranch, showing the location of all the buildings, the stables and the track. Then he drew a detailed floor plan for a 4,000-square-foot house that would sit on a 200-acre dream ranch.

"He put a great deal of his heart into the project and the next day he handed it in to his teacher. Two days later he received his paper back. On the front page was a large red F with a note that read, `See me after class.'
"The boy with the dream went to see the teacher after class and asked, `Why did I receive an F?'
"The teacher said, `This is an unrealistic dream for a young boy like you. You have no money. You come from an itinerant family. You have no resources. Owning a horse ranch requires a lot of money. You have to buy the land. You have to pay for the original breeding stock and later you'll have to pay large stud fees. There's no way you could ever do it.' Then the teacher added, `If you will rewrite this paper with a more realistic goal, I will reconsider your grade.'

"The boy went home and thought about it long and hard. He asked his father what he should do. His father said, `Look, son, you have to make up your own mind on this. However, I think it is a very important decision for you.' "Finally, after sitting with it for a week, the boy turned in the same paper, making no changes at all.

He stated, "You can keep the F and I'll keep my dream."

Monty then turned to the assembled group and said, "I tell you this story because you are sitting in my 4,000-square-foot house in the middle of my 200-acre horse ranch. I still have that school paper framed over the fireplace." He added, "The best part of the story is that two summers ago that same schoolteacher brought 30 kids to camp out on my ranch for a week." When the teacher was leaving, he said, "Look, Monty, I can tell you this now. When I was your teacher, I was something of a dream stealer. During those years I stole a lot of kids' dreams. Fortunately you had enough gumption not to give up on yours."

Listen to Don Bosco say to you: "Don't let anyone steal your dreams. Follow your heart, no matter what."


I believe empathy is the most essential quality of civilization. --Roger Ebert

The Age of Outrospection
--by Jonny Miller, syndicated from blog.maptia.com, Jul 21, 2014

Imagine for a moment that you are reading or listening to a story so intensely that you forget yourself and step into the shoes of the storyteller. You see what they saw, hear what they heard, and feel what they felt. These moments are rare, yet when they happen it is as if we have been transported into their world and we are able to see through their eyes. It is a powerful, almost magical feeling. One that is a privilege.

More than any other time in history, there is a vast and remarkable potential to spread vivid, thoughtful, and imaginative stories via the unfathomably dense communication network known as the Internet.

Many of the seven billion people on the planet now have the potential to share their own ‘eyes on the world’ and share their own unique perspectives and experiences with those who have not perhaps had the same opportunities. The ability to do this is a privilege and we should treat it as such - we must do our best to craft each story we share with as much care, wisdom and thought as we can muster.
Just as importantly, each of us also has the opportunity to cultivate our own global sense of adventurous empathy by taking the time to read, understand and appreciate other people’s stories from all over the world. Philosopher Roman Krznaric refers to this as ‘Outrospection’.
What exactly is ‘Outrospection’?
In his talk, Roman asserts that the process of ‘experiential outrospection’ requires that we ditch the self-centred ‘self-help’ guides and manuals on how to become rich and successful and that instead we seek to understand life through the eyes of others, fostering an adventurous curiosity for other lives and places beyond our own experience.
When travelling for example, instead of asking the usual question ‘where should I go next?’, Roman suggests that we might instead ask ‘whose shoes can I stand in next?’ - embarking on journeys into the lives of strangers. Roman also mentions the difference between empathy and pity:
“If you see a homeless person living under a bridge you may feel sorry for him and give him some money as you pass by. That is pity or sympathy, not empathy. If, on the other hand, you make an effort to look at the world through his eyes, to consider what life is really like for him, and perhaps have a conversation that transforms him from a faceless stranger into a unique individual, then you are empathising.”
Roman Krznaric
Roman says that the ‘empathetic gap’ that exists in the world today is two-fold:
Firstly, we are not empathising with people across countries. For instance, those in India who are already suffering from floods most likely caused by global warming.
Secondly, that we are failing to empathise through time to future generations.
Roman has some radical suggestions for how we might overcome this gap. Our favourite is his idea of building ‘Empathy Museums’ in every city - experiential and conversational public spaces, full of human libraries where you might be able to borrow people for in-depth conversations. For instance, you could walk into a room with former Vietnamese sweatshop worker who would teach you how to make a T-shirt similar to the one you are likely wearing and talk to you about their life. And for many thousands of years, stories have been the way humans have shared empathy, fostered understanding of the world around us, and taught common values.
“ I believe empathy is the most essential quality of civilization. ”
Roger Ebert
The Evolution of Our Concentric Circles of Empathy
Stepping back in time to the 18th century, Scottish philosopher David Hume wrote about his concept for ‘concentric circles of empathy’ - a wonderfully visual metaphor for understanding how empathy functions.

Hume argued that our sense of empathy towards others tends to diminish as we go further from the centre of this circle. As we move away from our immediate family all the way to someone on the other side of the world, to whom you have no ties.
More recently, however, neuroscientists have demonstrated that all humans, along with a few mammals such as chimps, elephants and dolphins, possess something called ‘mirror neurons’. This means we are all ‘soft-wired’ in such a way that when we look at another person who is experiencing a strong emotion, like anger or joy, the same neuron being stimulated in their brain, will also be stimulated in yours.
Writer and economist Jeremy Rifkin expands on this research in his talk ‘The Empathetic Civilisation’. Rifkin argues that the following holds true:
Firstly, that in our ancestral forager/hunter tribes, empathy was extended only to local tribes and blood ties.
Secondly, that in later years as the medium of writing evolved, empathy was no longer constrained by time and space, especially as tribes and communities came to believe in a common God.
Thirdly, that as modern nation states were eventually created, we began to view our fellow countrymen as extended family.
Rifkin points out that if we accept that the empathic boundaries we have constructed between our nations and our religions are purely man-made fictions, then what reason is there to believe that the process should end here? For example, just a few weeks ago, the idea for an 'interspecies Internet' was announced at TED.
“ We ought to rethink the human narrative and prepare the groundwork for an empathic civilisation. ”
Jeremy Rifkin
Thoughtful Storytelling = Adventurous Empathy
Few would disagree with Einstein’s powerful sentiments about widening our compassion to extend to the whole planet, yet where does the modern pragmatic idealist begin? How can bridges be built to cross Roman’s empathy gap or fuel the creation of Rifkin’s empathic civilisation? We believe that the answer lies in storytelling. Specifically in emotionally charged, cross-cultural narratives that can be shared almost instantaneously throughout the world via the Internet.

Roman uses the example of how storytelling was a powerful factor in the human rights movement and also in bringing about the abolition of the slave trade. We would like to highlight a more recent example of the power of storytelling to effect change - the Charity Water movement that was started by Scott Harrison, a former nightclub promoter. When Scott first visited Africa he was working as a photographer for Mercy Ships. He felt an overwhelming sense of empathy for the people he met and returned home determined to tell their story. Scott used his storytelling superpowers to extend the empathy he felt to millions of others.
“ ...these stories are a kind of beacon. By making stories full of empathy and amusement and the sheer pleasure of discovering the world, these writers reassert the fact that we live in a world where joy and empathy and pleasure are all around us, there for the noticing. ”
Ira Glass
It doesn't matter if the medium is long-form narrative, videography, photography or even art, whether it involves reminiscing about events of the past, telling narratives of the here and now, or spinning tales of the future and what could be. We imagine (and hope) that one day we will be full of stories of outrospection and that people will think of maps as beautiful and creative tools for spreading adventurous empathy.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Every individual has a place to fill in the world, and is important in some respect,

whether he chooses to be so or not.

1 August 2015


The sorry state of the world points to a sad situation of an  absolute lack of quality in leadership and governance in many countries, including India. Though we may be disappointed with this modern brand of civic leadership, Politicians in the past too have generally been blamed or ridiculed in our democratic era. Here are a few statements that reflect this notion:  

“A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country” – Andrew Cornegie

“Politics is the gentle art  of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich by promising each to protect him from the other” – Mark Twain.

“Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel” – John Quinton, RAF pilot.

“When those who are smart do not engage in politics, they are punished by government by those who are dumb” – Pluto

Politics is important for good governance especially in our democratic world. What makes poor politics is not so much the limitations of the system, but the dishonesty among politicians. The new political sin is labelled "Corruption". The BJP made it the platform for the downfall of the Congress and interestingly, is now drowning in the same sin.
Good governance, positive Development and Peace are broken promises. Communalism and Corruption are reigning supreme as sins of politicians. We live in a country of bad politicians. God save India!

A Prayer that shook the world.


When Pastor Minister Joe Wright was asked to open the new session of the Kansas Senate, everyone was expecting the usual generalities, but this is what they heard:

"Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, "Woe to those who call evil good", but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and values.

We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.
We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare..
We have killed our unborn and called it choice.
We have shot anti-abortionists and called it justifiable.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self esteem.
We have terrorised the world and called the victims terrorists.
We have abused power and called it politics.
We have coveted our neighbour's possessions and called it ambition.

We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.
We have ridiculed the time-honoured values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us, Oh, God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Amen

In the name of God or Gods  -  Are Religion contradictions divisive?

This is something strange: - all religions teach love, and all religions end in hatred. All religions teach the brotherhood of man, but they only create enemies of each other. All religions teach that every man has a potential right to reach God, but practically they say: Only our religion is the true religion. Yes, every man can reach God but he has to reach through our way: They seem to be competing shopkeepers — everybody is trying to sell his thing: his holy book, his messiah, his god

The ONLY constant is change. And the funny thing right now is that technology is like a personal trainer pressing the UP arrow on our treadmill, speeding up the process and causing change to happen faster than ever. We’ve got to keep up or we fall off! Every move we make is setting us up for what’s next. To be successful you have to be in control, use the present technology and be aggressive. Anticipation is power.

There is a story of Satan and his disciples who had for some time been keeping their eyes on a man who was engaged in the quest for truth. They were understandably anxious and had been watching him closely. One morning, however, the disciples rushed to Satan to inform him that the man had attained truth. They were quite upset.

Satan consoled them, saying, "Don't worry. Just wait until this news spreads from city to city; People will flock to this man; they will take the truth he has attained and frame it in codes and creeds, and then they will organize themselves into a sect; you have nothing to worry about at all." It is those who claim to be religious who have divided humanity.

Perhaps Satan has led man to believe, from the beginning, that if there is any bad work to be done all he need do is find a good banner under which to do it. The worse the deed, the better the slogan he requires.