7 October 2015

Marriage - basis of natural society.

Marriage, monogamous or polygamous, in most cultures and countries, is a bond of love between man and woman. It has always been celebrated as a public social event and not just a private contract between men and women. Marriage is not mere religious rituals but responsible rights engaging not only the marriage partners but society itself which sees itself charged with the task of providing support with appropriate means and sanctions, all intended to protect the institution of marriage and the common good of society. 

The Catholic Church, since its inception has upheld the teachings of Christ on marriage and family, as ordained by God Himself. So, " What God has put together, let no one pull asunder". However, Social needs, cultural pressures and the "hardness of hearts" have led Marriage through a history of polygamy, polyandry and monogamy to build an "extended family" and in more recent times to form a "nuclear family". Children were always considered a blessing of God.

Catholic Church doctrine, based on Sacred Scripture defines marriage as a sacramental communion, by mutual consent between one man and one woman and ordained towards building up a home and family of children. It is a bond essentially of mutual  love and safeguarded by a legal contract recognised by the secular state and upheld by the Church as a sacred, indissoluble sacrament, "till death do us part

Today, the mis-understanding of Marriage is calling to question not only the very composition of a one man one woman  in a permanent bond but proposing "same sex" unions and easy "Divorce". The concept of home and family blessed with children, the fruit of the marriage communion is reduced to an "orphanage" of adopted children and aborted embryos. 

Marriage is not in crisis. It has been a success story. It has for centuries been the matrimonial joint-pillar that has been the basis of domestic, national and international families the world over. What is in crisis is the understanding today of Marriage, Family and Home.

Rightly concerned about the situation of humanity torn apart by unbridled liberal thinking and feeling responsible to conserve God's Creation and Creatures in submission to His Will, The Catholic Church, through a prayerful Synodal discernment is entering into dialogue within the Church, to address the pains and problems that obviously underlie the distorted thinking.
Will the ongoing Synod of Bishops meet the challenge?  


5 October 2015

Don Bosco - Mystic, Prophet and Friend.

We have for too long contemplated Don Bosco in his spirituality of Work. Statements reported to be uttered by our Founder have become slogans for us, Salesians: Work, work work, bread and heaven; We shall rest in heaven; the day a salesian dies working is a triumph for the congregation. Over the years, Salesian Spirituality has been steeped in a commitment to work without Temperance and eating into our prayer moments.

We need to return to Don Bosco the Mystic. Mama Margaret nurtured the spiritual life of her children and planted in them a deep realistic conviction  that life is 'union with God'. Infact, already from the age of nine, John Bosco was blessed with mystical experiences which he described as dreams. He followed his dreams in a spirit of obedience to the Guide offered to him.  

3 October 2015

Salesian Mysticism

For quite some time, before and after the GC27, We Salesians have been frankly admitting our spiritual superficiality and are convinced of the need to emulate our Founder, Don Bosco who lived in "union with God". However, the spiritual transformation we aspire to, has yet to take place in our personal and community life. Why is it so?

Observing the rhythm in our formation houses, I believe the problem lies at the initial phase. The daily schedule and monthly program, let's say in Divyadaan, is packed with regular activities in the chapel, the classroom, the playground. Non-academic activities like  pastoral services in the Oratories, Schools and parishes engage our energies and occupy our time, 24/7. This makes of us chronic and hyperactive  'workaholics' who have lost the experience of calm relaxation and peace of mind and body. There is no space for 'mysticism' in our lives unless we reshape the rhythm of our life by balancing between 'work and temperance.

Becoming 'mystics of the Spirit' is wishful thinking unless we are willing to slow down on our activities by prioritising or even eliminating some of them. Too many of us, steeped in active work need to differentiate between productive work and wasteful labour. Temperance and moderation alone will help us appreciate the moments of quiet silence so essential to let God enter the daily routine of our lives.