The whole universe knows now what is pain and suffering!
The whole of humanity is faced with an uncertain future!
The deadly viruses did not spare any nation and any race!
Pandemic was there in history killing a huge population.
It disappeared after long years of victimizing.
It is testing again as it happened those years.
It is a test to our faith, to our hope and to our high-speed technology.
We, Kristu Jyoti Province in India, just entered into Lockdown 004 and expecting to begin our regular life gradually from 1st June 2020. But schools, colleges and worship places will continue to be empty for some more weeks.
“Conceive a real desire to be united to Jesus Christ by acknowledging the need you have to love His life; arouse yourself to perfect contrition for all your sins, past and present, by considering the infinite goodness and sanctity of God; receive Jesus Christ in spirit in your inmost soul, entreating Him to give you the grace to live entirely for Him”… Following the inspiration of St. Peter Julian on Spiritual communion, we encouraged the spiritual participation of people through our live streaming of liturgical services. It kept up the thirst for the Eucharist in them.
Our parishes shared basic provisions with the poor, hungry and deprived families. Our overseas missionaries are struck with no possibility of international travel. Fr. Philip Benzy, the General Treasurer and Consultor is helping a lot with regular online classes and other support. The month of May is a period of holiday for us, but this year since we are in lockdown, all our communities celebrated meaningfully the feast of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament with immediate preparation.
I share here the experience of six of our scholastics, who were on holidays and held up in their homes at the time of their annual renewal of vows. We worked out with the neighboring priests for assistance. Here is their experience during this extraordinary situation:
First time I made a retreat away from my community. I could find many differences and new experiences. I was given the opportunity to make a timetable for myself. I planned out my schedule to pray, to relax and to read the word of God. I felt that I developed a strong connection with God. Even though it was a guided retreat, I made it as my personal and spiritual retreat. It was a very enlightening and enriching experience for me as our founder reflected. “Knowing that God loves me and has been so good to me my entire life given me the opportunity to receive the Body and Blood of Christ every day in the Eucharist”. I personally felt that the retreat was very inspiring, informative, and faith simulative spiritually. - Bro. Anthony, sss
It was a great time to be in a different community for the renewal retreat for the first time apart from Our Scholasticate in Pune. At the place where I did my retreat, there was no cook, and we have an elderly religious, hence it was a joyful experience to cook for the community and to serve our elderly religious. This made me live the SSS way of life mentioned in the Rule of life. I was also energized by this retreat because I was given a chance to preach in the Eucharist. Thus, I learned from the retreat that “unity and creativity bring beauty in community”. - Bro. Sanal, sss
I had a fruitful and very spiritual experience at Gunala Boys home. Among my 13 annual retreats and nine renewals of vows, only the last one was guided by someone who is not a SSS. It was in a different atmosphere with unfamiliar persons. The priest who guided me was an elderly man with a lot of exposure and spiritual adventures. He is really competent to guide me in God's path. Together we reflected on God's Love which is the foundation of humanity, prayer as a tool to understand God's love and evangelical vows as a guideline to spread God's love, repentance and reconciliation as a lifeboat to be in God's love, finally Holy Spirit and Mother Mary are the guardians of God's love. The topics were not new to me but his reflection coated with his life experience kept me in tact throughout the retreat in focused mode. - Bro. George, sss
I started my journey towards the church of Our Lady of Assumption, Mathiravillai, to make my annual retreat. On the way, I was stopped and enquired almost every 2 km by policemen about the purpose of my journey; I lied that I was going to a hospital, otherwise I would not have been permitted to continue my journey. Fr. Stalin, Sj led us through the retreat over five days. This retreat is uniquely an indelible experience for me. I have made retreats before, but never only with two of us participating it. The fact of just a couple of participants facilitated a highly personal style of guided reflections, which in turn paved the way for me to gain a more personal relationship with Jesus. The graces from the retreat spurred me on to involve myself in the good activity of feeding the homeless people along with the youth of St. Helen, Enayam. - Bro. Praveen sss
Bro. Praveen and I had a fruitful retreat. This retreat gave me three things, they are: Perseverance in personal prayer, God's Grace and Prophetic religious life. Personally I was able to meditate upon the word of God every day and my way of life. New things are making retreat in my own parish, Eucharist in Tamil with few people, Fellowship together, Rosary, Talk by young religious with personal experience, Renewal before the people of God, Everyday we prayed for the people especially those who are suffering from Coronavirus Covid-19. - Bro. Selvadhas, sss
As Jesus asked of me to “come away to a deserted place all by yourself and rest a while” (Mk 6:31), it meant literally not only away from the Scholasticate where I have been doing my retreat and renewal but also in the different atmosphere. I did my retreat at Karaikal guided by Rev. Fr. Charles Stephen, SDB. First of all, I was impressed by the way they all give utmost importance to the Holy Eucharist, Mother Mary and their founder St. John Bosco. It was very clear as well as visible both in their buildings and their beings. This is something that I cherish and treasure in my life as I near the threshold of my final commitment in the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament. As for me the three pillars in my spiritual life are “Jesus in the Eucharist” pronounced by our holy founder in 1845 at St. Paul's, Blessed Virgin Mary of the Blessed Sacrament whose intercession our founder relied for unfailing help in his life and at last the man who was always on the move like Jacob - St. Peter Julian. The personal accompaniment of the preacher illumined me and it was like an “Emmaus Experience” to share my joys and sorrows, success and failures, hopes and anxieties in order that I may encounter Christ like those disciples. - Bro. Inbaraj, sss