MESSAGES FROM FR DORATHICK RAJAN

(Prior of Saccidananda Ashram Shantivanam from 9th April 2018)

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27th death Anniversary - Mahasamadhi of Fr. Bede Griffiths.


Dear Oblates and friends of Shantivanam,

On May 13th 2020 we celebrate the 27th death anniversary of Fr. Bede Griffiths.

Today as we are experiencing - COVID-19 cases continuing to rise across the globe, stress and fear around us, attention about the virus and its risks is becoming palpable in many workplaces.
Between event cancellations, travel limitations, personal concern about infection, and more, almost every business will undergo the effects of this public health crisis in some way. We are in lockdown, we become more anxious of self-quarantine at home, during such an unprecedented time, stress on the body and mind is inevitable. It is very important to keep good physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing and keep positive during this COVID-19 pandemic.
So we can be generous, compassionate and show love in various ways. Today people are in need.


In this challenging time Fr. Bede Griffiths' thoughts on meditation are so consoling for us and a great inspiration for practicing meditation.

Fr. Bede Griffiths says “to enter deeply into meditation is to enter into the mystery of suffering love. It is to encounter the woundedness of our human nature. We are all deeply wounded from our infancy and bear these wounds in the unconscious. The repetition of the mantra is a way of opening these depths of the unconsciousness and exposing them to light. It is first of all to accept our woundedness and thus to realize that this is part of the wound of humanity. All the weaknesses we find in ourselves and all the things that upset us, we tend to try to push aside and get rid of. But we cannot do this. We have to accept that “this is me” and allow grace to come and heal it all. That is the great secret of suffering, not to push it back but to open the depths of the unconscious and to realize that we are not isolated individuals when we meditate, but are entering into the whole inheritance of the human family.”- Father Bede Griffiths, The NewCreation in Christ.

Shanti Shanti Shanti

WithPrayers

Fr.Dorathick



125th birth anniversary of Fr. Jules Monchanin

Dear Oblates and Friends of Shantivanam

On this April 10th 2020 we commemorated the 125th birth anniversary of Fr. Jules Monchanin. Jules Monchanin was born on 10 April 1895 in France. He became a Catholic priest and was ordained on 6 February 1922. He was attracted by India. In May 1939, he came to India as a missionary. Monchanin was engaged in pastoral work in India. These were years of social deprivation, physical hardship, and acute loneliness, preparatory to the contemplative life for which he craved. At last, In March 1950, he co-founded, along with Fr. Henri Le Saux the Saccidananda ashram Shantivanam. Fr. Jules Monchanins quality of humility, gentleness, peace, and poverty of spirit, these saintly qualities were recognized and attested to by Christians, as well as Hindus. In the letter of Bishop Mendonca he beautifully says the ashram planned by Fr. Mochanin, was to be but the beginning of a new era in the history of the religious orders in India.  Fr. Mochanin writes in one of his letters “A Christian India, completely Indian and completely Christian, may be and and will be something so wonderful. To prepare it from afar, the sacrifice of our lives is not too much task”. Fr. Monchanin is a great Intellectual. To compare Christian and Hindu mysticism for him the challenge in India was when he discovered that Hinduism was not what he believed it was. Hindu Thought so deeply focused on the Oneness of the One. In the quest of the absolute one of his lectures he concludes so wonderfully giving us all hope to continue the dialogue with India “meanwhile, our task is to keep all doors open, to wait with patience and theological hope for the hour of the advent of India into the church and the fullness of India. In this age long Vigil, Let us remember that very often Love alone enters where the intellect must stand at the door.

Shanti Shanti Shanti....

With prayers
Fr. Dorathick



Easter 2020 Message from Fr. Dorathick

Easter which gives us hope and encouragement in this world of pain, sorrows, and tears.

This year Easter is very unusual for most of us. The whole world has been affected by the COVID 19 pandemic.
Today many of us are experiencing fear and uncertainty, as well as trauma, separation, isolation, loss of members or even death in their families or their church communities.

Many of you are celebrating, in your homes by a virtual way, behind closed doors, with people present by, television, smartphones and social media.

But the message of Easter is the same as from the beginning, Christ is Risen, Alleluia.

If we look back from the time of Jesus’ betrayal, suffering, death, and burial, his disciples quarantined themselves and locked themselves away, “social distancing” from other believers gathered in Jerusalem at that time.
The one they had imagined to be Messiah and saviour of the world had been arrested, punished, crucified, and was buried.They were shocked. Their hopes were smashed and they were afraid they could suffer a similar way. So, the disciples were hiding and quarantining themselves.
This year is a great opportunity for everyone of us to meditate more on these great mysteries of Christ. He remains a mystery. The scripture says that Christ is the mystery of God (Col. 2:2). If you know Christ, you will know God, but if you do not know Christ, you do not have the key to understand God. Moreover, if you do not know Christ, you do not know yourself, for Christ is the key both to you and to the universe.
In these days it is a proclamation of hope amid restrictions, hope amid fear and hope during illness and death. Today we have great hope in the risen Jesus Christ, He is with us, to encourage, to strengthen and to be with us in all our difficult times.
Today, the suffering of the cross gives way to the glory of the Resurrection. Just as we share in the cross of Christ in this life, we hope to one day share in Christ's glory. Without cross and death there is no resurrection.  On the third day of his death, Jesus was raised to a new life.. As St. Paul says in 1 Corinthians, if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is futile (1 Cor 15:1”).

Our faith in Jesus Christ on this Easter is our resurrection too!  But often we miss to understand the true resurrection and the deep meaning of Easter. If we want to understand Easter we must understand passion, death and resurrection. Without cross and death, the resurrection will not happen. Jesus guaranteed Martha at the tomb of Lazarus: “I am the Resurrection and the Life; whoever believes in Me will live even though he dies” (Jn 11:25-26) . There is a saying you may be familiar with that, everyone wants to go to heaven but no one wants to die. Similarly, we all have a thirst to have a resurrected life but we don’t want to die. Because the physical death is often understood as the separation of physical body and soul. This separation causes great distress in us because our physical body becomes lifeless. Now coming to the psychological death, it is more to experience in our present life and a very practical way. We may even have to die to our desires and selfishness. It is the hardest part of our life once we surrender our will to God’s will, this is the death we can experience in everyday life. When we die this way we become truly free and joyful so that our lives become fully lived.

Resurrection is all about seeing our world in a new way. Each time we reveal our love of others, we share in the Resurrection. Each moment we face a betrayal of trust and, with God’s grace, forgive the betrayer we share in the Resurrection of Jesus. Whenever we fail in our attempts to turn away temptations–but when we keep on trying to overcome them, we share in the Resurrection. Each time we continue to hope, even when our hope seems to be unanswered, we share in the strength of Jesus’ Resurrection. The message of Easter for us is that nothing can destroy us. Not the pain, sin, rejection, betrayal or death because Christ has conquered all these, and we, too, can conquer them if we put our Faith and trust in Him. Our faith in Jesus Christ on this Easter is our resurrection. Our COVID-19 distress brings us daily news of suffering, pain, and death; Easter reminds us that love and life are greater than pain and death.

May the Risen Lord bring each of us abundant blessings of new life.

Christ is Risen, Alleluia

Shanti Shanti Shanti…


With prayers

Fr. Dorathick

                     

21ST MARCH 2020

70TH ANNIVERSARY OF SACCIDANANDA ASHRAM - SHANTIVANAM


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today we are celebrating The 70th Anniversary of Saccidanda ashram, Shantivam.
Remembering with a thankful heart to all our founders the great vision of this ashram and all who supported the ashram.
Our ashram is always a place of meeting point between God and people;
Shantivanam is a unique place where two traditions, eastern and western bring spiritual life together in our own experience of prayer and contemplation.
Contemplative life does not mean sitting around and thinking about God all day long. Rather, contemplative life for us, is the Ashram life of a monk joyfully lived in silence, prayer, work and contemplation. It is the challenge of remembering God in all that we do and say during the whole day.
Shantivanam Ashram is a lighthouse for those who truly seek God. The atmosphere of the Ashram gives inner peace and harmony enabling everyone who visits this Ashram to find joy and love. Today in a special way, we thank and pray for all the oblates, friends and well wishes of shantivanam ashram for the kind support for the growth of the Ashram.
In a special way at this moment, we pray for also those who are affected by Coroa virus and the fear of this illness. Our prayers to the whole world.
May God protect and heal us.
Shanti Shanti Shanti

Fr. Dorathick


Prayer for all affected by the Coronavirus
 
My prayer for all who are affected by the Coronavirus.
I request all our Oblates and friends to pray for all who need our prayers in this time of suffering, fear and pain;
Lord, sustain us by your grace, give us Lord strength and courage. It is very stressful for people and communities. In addition to fear the risk of the disease itself, voluntary social isolation, churches, temples, mosques and schools closing, and shifts in working situations.
At this time, Let us draw closer to one another in our love, and rediscover the things that truly matter in our lives. It is time to be looking In and slowdown our life rather than looking at our life with busy and hectic days earning and spending and at the end we are more anxious and stressful and create violence and disharmony within us and out. Within a few days, the advancement of science, wealth, medicine, culture, caste, creed, business, economy, religion, all challenged by invisible Viruses. It is a great lesson for us today - all these walls are broken down to this Coronavirus -here we humans feel one humanity exist. Despite the loss of beloved people, economy and the normal life something good happens, mother nature is restored by less pollution and people have time to spend with family etc… social isolation, churches, temples, mosque and school closings, and workplaces are closed. However, it gives time to open our hearts to love of God and to Love of neighbour and surrender our self to almighty God.
Almighty loving God, you are the only source of health and healing. In You, there is calm, and the only true peace in the universe. Grant to each one of us your children an awareness of your presence, and give us perfect confidence in you. In all pain, fear, and anxiety your love and power surround us, trusting in your wisdom and love to give us health, strength, and peace.

With prayers,

Fr. Dorathick


                     

FEBRUARY 2020


The Joy of Reconciliation On the Season of Lent

Greetings and peace from Shantivanam

Dear Oblates and friends,
Lent begins on ash Wednesday and continues until Holy Thursday afternoon when we begin the great triduum. the “40 days” (not including Sundays) of fasting, prayer, and penitence before Easter reflect Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness. the historical roots of lent also included the reconciliation of penitents: individuals dressed in sackcloth and sprinkled with ashes who dedicated themselves to penance for the season, a practice that was constant, severe and public. interior life through spiritual exercises and practices. in the early church, new believers were baptized into its fellowship once a year on Easter. leading up to their baptism a period was set aside for their formation in the faith. in their baptism, it would signify their death to the power of evil and their call to rise into the new life in Christ, who overcame the power of death on the first Easter. today rather than being seen as a forty-day endurance test, or a miserable and restricted time, lent is a quality season. it is a time of rediscovery, a golden chance to open ourselves more deeply to the beauty and power of the dying and rising to a new life in Jesus. it is a time to ponder the reality of the death and resurrection and to allow it to soak into our deepest parts.

During this season of lent, we have the joy, once again, to open ourselves to God for forgiveness and healing for his light to shine through us. it is a time to reflect on the darkness and uncertainties within and seek forgiveness, understanding and mercy. Christianity many times emphasize sin and that we are sinners so we need forgiveness. often when we hear this we are sinners, we need forgiveness from god this makes it very difficult to understand and hard to accept the concept of sin and forgiveness. the traditional way of understanding sin and forgiveness does not satisfy ourselves much today. as the result today even many Christians are turning away from church and they have a bitterness towards the church and Christianity. today we need a different perspective to understand forgiveness and sin.  The catechism of the catholic church gives us the definition of sin. sin is an offence against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is a failure in genuine love for God and neighbour caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. it wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. it has been defined as "an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law. For me, sin is the total denial of one’s own being and denying the truth that God created us in His own image and likeness male and female. This truth can be denied easily in our own life.  The second one is when we try to see bad in God’s creation. Where God sees all of His creation is good. But humans see good and bad - when our reason is limited in a certain way this will happen, we make an offence against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is a failure in genuine love for God and neighbour - this is sin. So we need forgiveness to reconcile.  forgiveness is nothing but when we look at the root of the word we can understand better. Forgive is the Latin word that gives us a beautiful understanding of forgiveness “perdonare” meaning “to give completely, without reservation". This is pure God’s grace which given through Christ to us to forgive our sins means Gods invitation to eternal life.   Forgiveness is the bridge which links between us and God.  Whenever we stop with our self-centeredness. God intervenes with humankind with love and forgiveness.  “If you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins”. Matthew” 6:14-15. It is so important to forgive others too. Reconciliation is a joy because as we forgive others God forgives our sin. again sin is just the state of Ignorance of oneself and others.  Forgiveness helps us to transcend self-centeredness to God-centeredness.

As we reflect, we may find many areas in our life where we have not been faithful, honest, loving, self-less or generous in relationships with God, family and others. we can see where we have avoided responsibilities as citizens, neighbours, employees, parents, partners, sons or daughters. when we genuinely ask for forgiveness on these, God in his mercy provides forgiveness and healing. God pours out his healing love when we take the time to reflect and repent. 1 John 4:9-10. The season of Lent is a time of spiritual renewal. lent is the time for new life and hope. In the Lenten season, self-examination is crucial. An individual's response to the call for purposeful reflection on one's need for God. Lent became characterized by practices which symbolize the meaning of this season. One of these is prayer. Lent invites us to step aside from the busyness of our daily life, the many things that mess and crowd our life in order to get in touch with the self and at a deeper level, with the Spirit of God within. Essentially, prayer is attention to God; it places us in a posture of listening. Amidst all the noise and turmoil of our daily life, Lent encourages us to experience a new depth of prayer, an authentic attentiveness to God through which we learn to be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. the second practice associated with this season is fasting. Fasting signifies a willingness to free ourselves from the desires, ambitions and pursuits that centre on the demands of the self. It points to a willingness to be freed from the self-centeredness that drives so much of our life in order to experience more fully the liberating power of Christ. Fasting reminds us of the truth that the deepest hunger in our lives must be the hunger for God. third practice is almsgiving. True hunger for God leads to the giving of ourselves to others. Lent calls us to greater compassion for others, especially the poor and needy. It invites us to examine ourselves honestly on how subtly we have accepted society’s addiction to possessions, to material comfort.

In the Gospel of St. Mark, Jesus calls: “Turn to God and believe in the gospel.” Yes, during Lent we would like to turn to God for his forgiveness. By his constant forgiveness, God allows us to renew an inner life. It is to a conversion that we are invited: not to turn towards ourselves in introspection, but to seek communion with God as well as communion with others. And the conversion to which we are invited also concerns the link that unites us to all creation. Wonder at creation leads us to more respectful behaviour towards our environment.

 Shanti Shanti Shanti...

with prayers
Fr.Dorathick

               

JANUARY 2020


Dear Oblates and friends of Shantivanam


How Important Silence and solitude in Today's life!


When we hear the term Silence and solitude we may think that it is only for monks or nuns. Today we live in a world full of a busy and hectic life. Silence and solitude seem to be irrelevant in today’s life. Thomas Merton so wonderfully says that not all men are called to be hermits, but all men need enough silence and solitude in their lives to enable the deep inner voice of their own true self to be heard at least occasionally. When that inner voice is not heard, when a man cannot attain to the spiritual peace that comes from being perfectly at one with his true self, his life is always miserable and exhausting. For he cannot go on happily for long unless he is in contact with the springs of spiritual life which are hidden in the depths of his own soul. If a man is constantly exiled from his own home, locked out of his own spiritual solitude, he ceases to be a true person. He no longer lives as a man. This is so true because somehow we at a point of life search for this silence and solitude in different new ways today.
Many of us think of silence simply, as just an absence of noise, or not speaking words. But silence, like life itself, is more complex and subtle than that. We all seek silent moments, islands in the sea of sound, to reflect upon and gather the lessons from life's experiences. Usually, our quest for peacefulness is an outer search. We go on vacation to hike into the hills to escape the daily activities etc... While Hindu saints and scriptures do emphasize the importance of serene surroundings as an aid to introspection, they stress more the cultivation of silence within. Outer peace is simply a means to help us find inner silence. Ultimately, we learn to maintain and enjoy innate serenity regardless of the disharmony that surrounds us. This is the basis of the Hindu practice of mauna, the vow to remain silent, and it is why some subdue speech altogether. According to the Bhagavad Gita, mauna is about training our minds, not just our mouths, to be silent. It is deeply transformative because it helps us silence our thoughts and, more significantly, acknowledge the background of Stillness that is our Real Nature.

The monastic teaching on prayer is without images or thoughts, prayer as pure silence before God. Silence is, first of all, help to be able to pray at all, to lift one’s spirit to God. To listen to God. The highest degree of prayer for monastics is contemplation- gazing on God, being seized by God. Here images, thoughts and imaginations vanish. Here, God is encountered directly in pure silence. Swami  Abhishiktananda’s emphasis on the value of silence is vital; He tells us that it is from ‘eternal India’ that the West can learn the value of the apophatic way, the way of emptiness and quietude: India has taken with utter seriousness this word that tradition has adopted from Psalm 64: Thy praise is silence. The Christian of the West and of the East, whom temporary acculturation has all too often cut off from the well-springs of his prayer, must re-learn the silence of the soul before God from eternal India …[1] Only when the soul has undergone the experience that the Name beyond all names can be pronounced only in the silence of the Spirit, does one become capable of this total openness which permits one to perceive the Mystery in its sign. In Silence and solitude we no longer hold on to our thoughts, but relinquish ourselves completely, we plunge into the mystery of God which sustains us. We do not prescribe to God how God is to meet us but become open to God. Today let us not forget this beauty of silence and solitude which will make our life more beautiful and make openness to God. So even in our hectic life if we can make some space for solitude where we can simply remain silent before God. We hold up our empty hearts to God’s presence to be filled with God’s unspeakable and inexpressible love.

Shanti Shanti Shanti….

With prayers

Fr. Dorathick


 [1] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/328771515_Abhishiktananda_Henri_le_Saux_OSB_1910-1973_Pioneer_of_interspiritual_mysticism


               

               

 
CHRISTMAS IS THE GIFT OF JOY


Greeting and joyful wishes from Saccidanda ashram, Shantivanam
 

Dear Oblates and Friends,

      Merry Christmas, dear brothers and sisters, what a joyful day of celebration of the gift of love, the gift of peace and the gift of light and life for us. Christmas always reminds us about light, Christ is the Light of the world. When Christ said "I am the light of the world," possibly the first that flashes through our mind are that God is the creator of light. Genesis 1 tells us that, in the beginning, "God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light . . . God separated the light from the darkness" When Jesus said, "I am the light of the world," Jesus also wanted to convey the idea that God and Christ themselves are the light. We can see this metaphor in 1 John 1:5--"God is light; in God, there is no darkness at all." In the book of Isaiah chapter 60, we can see another description of God as light. Giving hope to a nation that had suffered horribly from war, destruction, and exile, the prophet Isaiah told his people that the day was coming when their mourning would be over. "The sun will no longer be your light by day, nor will the moon shine for illumination by night." Instead, "the Lord will be your everlasting light."
 
On the night of His birth, the choirs of angels sang “Glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace to men of God will”. This gift of peace is a part of the Christmas story. The Lord desires to give us His peace. This peace is not the same as the world gives peace. For Christ, peace is not merely the absence of war or violence but rather a profound sense of well-being that comes from knowing that we are loved unconditionally by the God who created us and called us to live. It is a peace that is experienced when we realize that God is holding us close to Himself and that He will not abandon us even in the most challenging moments in our life. Another gift that we obtain from the Lord at Christmas is the gift of joy. During the season of Christmas, we are called to reflect on this most wondrous gift. The Lord points out that we will receive this gift if we abide in His love. To do so, He asks us to keep His commandments and the most important commandment He gives us is that we love one another. He has told us this according to His words so that “My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. “ (John 15:11). Jesus, the visible manifestation of God’s love. Christ’s birth is the concrete expression of God’s love. God came to us. This love joins the two extremes of divinity and humanity.

One of the significant aspects of Christ’s birth into the world was to share the joy of God’s forgiveness and love. Christmas is not only a season of rejoicing, we no longer have to walk in spiritual darkness. God has provided us with Light through Christ. Immanuel "God is with us"; during this Christmas season, we can rejoice like the Magi, opening their hearts and see the light from far and begin their journey. We should also open our hearts to Christ to Christ the Lord who is born to one another in genuine love, every time we forgive, it’s a real Christmas. Loving others is what Christmas is all about.

May the light of Christ radiate our heart to see God is love and "God is with us". May the love of our Lord, Jesus Christ, surround you all the days in your life Merry Christmas to you and your family.
 
With love and Prayers
 
Fr. Dorathick



17th December 2019
On 113th Birth Anniversary of
Fr. Bede Griffiths

                                            

 


Dear Oblates and friends of Shantivanam,

Today we remember the birth anniversary of Fr. Bede Griffiths. On this day we reflect on his vision towards All-Embracing, Generative Love in contemplation. Fr. Bede Griffiths considered contemplative experience is a necessary dimension of Christian life, and, indeed, all human life. Contemplation, he understands to be a non-rational means of acquiring knowledge, equally authentic as rational thought. His approach had a special urgency in that he considered the great religions of the world to be in a state of stagnation, and in urgent need of renewal. A prime source of renewal would be through the cross-fertilization on the level of contemplative dialogue. In fact, he considered interreligious dialogue in our era to be a vital duty, not an option. Christianity as a religion, he says, “cannot grow today . . . unless it is willing to abandon its Western culture and its rational masculine bias and learn again the feminine intuitive understanding that is characteristic of the East.” [1]

He would go on to insist that all religions need to return to their originating experience if they are to contribute to a common contemplative journey. There are then three aspects of the fr. Bede’s “complementary theology.” The images he employs are directed not only to serve a contemplative awareness of God but also presuppose an appropriate community experience while asserting fidelity to a particular historical religious experience — Christian and monastic in his own case. These three aspects illumine the different phases of his journey as it moves forward in an awareness of the acute spiritual crisis experienced in the present global era. Contemplative experience in Christian tradition Griffiths sees as evidence of unique insights into the Triune God informing the kind of holistic grasp of cosmic unity that balances disintegrative or deviant tendencies due to fear of or focuses on surface differences. The divine generativity of the Triune One brings forth in lavish, infinitely creative love, the difference that is yet profoundly connected through its one birth-source. Fr.Bede describes the current of mystical theology that had remained constant throughout the history of the Church. His primary source is John 17:21-23: That they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

The apophatic darkness of Gregory of Nyssa, Fr. Bede Griffiths compares with death. Which is “the process” of the Resurrection. “Resurrection is, precisely going through death.”[2]Jesus went through the darkness into total love. At that moment he became total love because he surrendered everything. Body and soul have been totally surrendered in love. Then he is taken up in the life of the Spirit. This experience of death is wholly purifying because it is none other than “the darkness of love.” Jesus didn’t say ‘I am the Father’, but rather ‘I am in the Father and the Father is in me, who sees me, sees the Father, but I am not the Father.’” This is not an identity, but a communion in love which is communicated in the Holy Spirit. This “Christian calling . . . into the intimacy of love” in the Godhead is the basis for the image of the divine Host. All are called to share in the banquet, the communion of love. The mystical Body of Christ “embraces all humanity in the unity of the One Person of Christ.”[3]
On this advent season let us close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world.
Shanti Shanti Shanti...
with prayers
Fr. Dorathick



[1] Bede Griffiths, The Marriage of East and West: A Sequel to The Golden String, 2nd ed. (London:

Fount Paperbacks, 1983), 198, 199.

[2] Bede Griffiths, “Cosmic Person and Cosmic Lord,” Human Potential, 8.

[3] Bede Griffiths, The Marriage of East and West,93.



46th Death Anniversary of  Swami Abhishiktananda
7th December 2019
 -

Dear oblates and friends of Shantivanam

 In the quest of God, we can no longer exclusively follow either the Western or the Eastern philosophical tradition alone. Humans always change the understanding of God.  Swami Abhishiktananda One could call it an experiment.  Swami Abhishiktananda remains as a dialogue between two traditions in his life. One cannot ignore an approach of this type in the Hindu-Christian encounter. Such experiments cannot be measured in terms of success or failure.  Swami Abhishiktananda was “one of the most authentic witnesses of our times of the encounter in depth between Christian and Eastern spiritualities.”[1] swami  Abhishiktananda himself came to embody and to live this ideal. There can be no more fitting epitaph for Swamiji than one of his favourite Upanishadic verses, to which he returned again and again: I know him, that great Puruṣa Of the colour of the sun, Beyond all darkness. He who has known him goes beyond death. There is no other way. (Śvetāśvatara Upanishad, III.8.).

Swami Abhishiktananda was absolutely convinced that the advaitic experience is ineffable and he often speaks of this difficulty of expressing the ineffable. For him, any description of the ineffable is in the realm of namarupa [names and forms]. Going ‘beyond’ concepts, myths and archetypes was, for him, the same as a return to the original intuition of ‘Immediate Experience’. Swami Abhishiktananda emphasised that Advaita should not be seen as an idea, for advaitic experience goes beyond all ideas: Advaita is not an idea. It is! The lightning flashes, the eye blinks, as says the Kena [Upanishad]. Then? You have either understood, or you have not understood … If you have not understood, too bad! says the same Upanishad. If you have understood, you keep quiet, says the Mundaka [Upanishad].[2]

Swami Abhishiktananda  insists that beyond Advaita there is a further experience, which he called ati-Advaita, or Advaitatita. In this state, one experiences the mystery of the Three in One and the One in Three (Unity and Trinity). This is a trans-advaitin mystery of the Father, Son, and Spirit, the mystery of God in Godself, of the Self of God and of Being which is supra-personal and tri-personal. But Abhishiktananda also says that to speak of any numbers such as ‘three’ or ‘one’ is not possible when we go beyond Advaita. The sages of India were correct to say neither one nor many, but just to say, not-two, Advaita, and not-one, aneka. He says that beyond Advaita, the mystery of the Trinity is revealed.[3]

When we celebrate this 46th Death Anniversary of  Swami Abhishiktananda let us contemplate more on his vision on Christian advitic experience not with our intellectual understanding alone but with the more contemplative experience we can discover the real experience which Swami Abhishiktananda had.

Shanti Shanti Shanti

With prayers

Fr. Dorathick




[1] Panikkar quoted in J.E. Royster, “Abhishiktananda: Hindu-Christian Monk,” 308.


         

NOVEMBER 2019


Dear Oblates and Friends of Shantivanam

Life is a sacred gift


"Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being." Ccc- 2258. The fifth commandment says “you shall not kill”. A positive way of saying this will be “Respect life” To this duty corresponds a right life. The Christians take for granted that this refers to human life. Hindus and Buddhist, especially in Jain traditions would tell us animals and plants also have life. Even we accept the cosmic law that life feeds on life we can make two observations. Ecological reflection discourages malicious destruction of life systems in the cosmos. It would affect unfavourably the quality of life for everyone. Secondly, non-vegetarians would not today approve cannibalism. Human life is considered something special. The reason is humans can live with freedom and consciousness. The Bible tells us; every human being is created in the image of God Gen 1: 27. We humans have intelligence we learn and develop our personality. We search for and find meaning in our lives. We try to make our life worth living. This may involve struggles and sacrifice. Humans do not live alone but in community. We are born in a family, shaped in society with culture, languages etc... Human life is not a mere individual, but social. This also means that we are responsible for each other. We cannot be selfish. Thich Nhat Hanh beautifully says “interbeing” to ‘be’ is to inter- ‘be’.

Human life is not easy. We have to overcome obstacles that come to us from cosmos, like diseases and natural calamities of all kinds. Then there are difficulties caused by other people, like social oppression, war, violence. We can group them under the rubric, the problem of evil and suffering. Most of Indians would say as karma or fate but to understand life and suffering even karma or fate is not something to suffer, but to be overcome. All the religions and great people will teach us how to overcome and live and see the sacredness in life. When we discover that our life is sacred. Life becomes cosmic and divine. This is the vision of Advaita. St. Paul says “But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit since the Spirit of God dwells in you”. Romans 8:9.

To respect human life is not merely to refrain from killing and to tolerate it or to live it egoistically, but to promote it as a meaningful, cosmic, communitarian, free, active and divine project. Martin Luther King so wonderfully says in a sermon titled, “Loving Your Enemies.” “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”  Jesus told the disciples: "Love one another; as I have loved you". Love one another the commandment of Jesus which help us to see the sacredness within us and in all human beings.

Shant Shanti Shanti...

With love and prayers

Fr. Dorathick




OCTOBER 2019

Dear Oblates and friends  of Shantivanam

Diwali a joyous celebration of light, hope and goodness around the world.

Today in India we celebrate Diwali one of the festivals celebrated all over India. Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains not only in India but also in South Asia and various parts of the world. for Sikhs, it is a remembrance of "the day of freedom" when one of their adored masters, guru har Gobind Ji was discharged from imprisonment. Jains observe Diwali stamp the remainder of the Tirthankara (illuminated one) Mahavira's moksha (edification). For Hindus the celebration is the sign of a new year, a period for success and new pursuits, a festival of the sibling sister relationship and the predominance of truth over deception and light conquering the obscurity. The festival celebrates new beginnings and means light over darkness. Diwali comes from the Sanskrit word Deepavali or Diwali, which means “row of lamps,” and one of the festivals involve the lighting of many small lamps to display the victory of good. During the festival season, the illumination of oil lamps represents also the inner light, or atman, which exists in the soul. it is believed that the atman of each person is an extension of the supreme spiritual being, Brahman himself. For Hindus, one's atman consciousness leads to liberation from religious misery, victory over evil, and of ignorance that hinders true self-knowledge, devotion, and joy.
In many other spiritual traditions also have the same expression with darkness and light. In the tradition of Christian rituals and sacraments, the lamps and lights have great importance according to Moses law, the Jews use six branches of golden candle lampstand. there are seven lamps on the lampstand. the lamps are set to shine to the front (ex.25, 31-37). the seven lampstands is a symbol of Jewish religion. The jews are burning lamps at their temple altar. at the feast of light. in Christian tradition, lamps and lights have a special meaning. From Genesis, We can see God's first words are, "let there be lights" “in new testament john 8:12 we see “I am the light of the world. whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus compares his followers to light, saying we "are the light of the world," on this Diwali when we light the lamp we light lamps of love in heart; the lamp of abundance generosity, the lamp of harmony to bring peace; the lamp of dialogue to build relationships; the lamp of compassion to serve others; the lamp of forgiveness to bring about reconciliation; the lamp of sympathy to heal hurts; the lamp of knowledge to dispel the darkness of ignorance, and the lamp of gratitude for the abundance that God has imparted on us. wishing you a festival of light, colors, and joy in your life. Light is beautiful mystical and mysterious like God! Let the God, Light of the world, illumines Us, so that, we, in turn, may light up the lives of others.

Shanti Shanti Shanti...

with prayers

Fr. Dorathick


Death anniversary of our beloved founder Swami Jules Monchanin

10th October 1957

 

10th October 2019

Dear Oblates and Friends of Shantivanam ashram,

Today we commemorate the death anniversary of our beloved founder Swami Jules Monchanin, who took the name of Parama Arubi Ananda (the bliss of the Supreme Spirit)  Jules Monchanin (1895-1957), the founder of the Shantivanam ashram, came to India in 1939 as a French Catholic priest. His life in India was devoted to integrating the Hindu tradition, especially its sannyasi contemplative practice, into the life of the Christian Church. Bede Griffiths comments about Monchanin that "His knowledge of Indian culture and philosophy was profound, but at the same time, he sought to embody his ideal of a meeting between the Hindu philosophical tradition and the Christian faith in a community which would be rooted in the culture of India.[1] The goal of the ashram for Monchanin and Abhishiktananda:  We would like to crystallize and transubstantiate the search of the Hindu sannyāsī. Advaita and the praise of the Trinity are our only aim. This means we must grasp the authentic Hindu search for God in order to Christianize it, starting with ourselves first of all, from within.[2]

Monchanin explored the mystery of the Trinity as Saccidananda for he believed that in it the monism and pluralism, personal and impersonal, are reconciled. He felt that India was specially destined by God to contemplate the mystery of the Trinity.[3] He proposes that Christian mysticism can only be Trinitarian. The personal union that we seek in Christian mysticism must always share in the tri-personal inner colloquy of Saccidananda. Monchanin was guided by an intense theological vision of a world already being understood, purified and transformed by the Spirit of Christ. This seems to be the key to his thought. He was not interested in making converts, nor was he concerned with what we have become accustomed to calling dialogue. He wanted to evangelize the religious culture of India, to change it from within through the witness of personal holiness. He was not, therefore, trying to Christianize Hinduism but to develop a more deep awareness of himself as Christian and to make present that personal witness to Hindus. He led a contemplative life of prayer and study, sharing the customs and culture of local people in the manner of an Indian ascetic. Monchanin was a pioneer in the Catholic Church of an inclusive view of the relation between Christianity and Hinduism, Monchanin Bede Griffiths said, "he has left behind him the witness to an ideal, like that of de Nobili and Brahmabandhav Upadhyaya, which it seems to me can only grow in its significance as the years  go by." The Indian tradition should not be rejected but integrated into the Church.[4] Something of Monchanin's contribution may be seen in the fact that after his death this view became the official position of the Catholic Church at the Second Vatican Council. Monchanin Bede Griffiths said, "He has left behind him the witness to an ideal, like that of de Nobili and Brahmabandhav Upadhyaya, which it seems to me can only grow in its significance as the years go by."[5] The ashram which he founded remains as a witness to the ideal of a contemplative life which he had set before him, and his life and writings remain to inspire others with the vision of a Christian contemplation which shall have assimilated the wisdom of India, and a theology in which the genius of India shall find expression in Christian terms.[6]

Shanti Shanti Shanti

With prayers

Fr. Dorathick

 


[1] https://digitalcommons.butler.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1103&context=jhcs

 [2] In J.G. Weber, In Quest of the Absolute, 73.

 [3] Abhishiktananda, Swami Parama Arubi Anandam, 1033.

 [4] Jules Monchanin, Pioneer in Hindu-Christian Dialogue, 73.

 [5] Jules Monchanin, Pioneer in Hindu-Christian Dialogue,64.

 [6] Quoted in J.G. Weber, In Quest of the Absolute, 3.

 

September 2019

Climate Change:  A call to Protect and Promote Peace throughout the World.

Dear Oblates and friends of Shantivanam,

Today we often
see and hear about two things that are threatening us all - War and climate change. The UN Secretary-General António Guterres says “Today peace faces a new danger: the climate emergency, which threatens our security, our livelihoods, and our lives. That is why it is the focus of this year’s International Day of Peace.” Human beings are blessed with peace and protected by nature and that is why we call Mother Nature. Mother of all living beings which exist on this planet. Now Mother Nature is in such grave danger that it threatens us in many ways in our life. The human and health influences of climate change are becoming increasingly hard to ignore. Extreme weather events are disrupting more and more lives.  Nature and natural resources are much in trade, for instance, we can see the 5 elements (Pancha Mahabhuta) are in the trade as well as in crisis, Water: We are in crisis, Air: we are in a condition by pollution and we need to get an Air conditioner, Fire: The natural gas, Earth: sand and soil, Space: Aurora Station, the world's first space hotel will be soon. All this makes us reflect whether it is connected to spirituality or any individuals? Yes definitely to spirituality and each individual is affected by this environmental crisis and  climate change. Spirituality means the way we think in order for us to function fully; all aspects of ourselves must be balanced. Our mind, body, and spirit have to be in harmony with each other. It is so important always and that is why all the religions will emphasize the spiritual life. We have a gift of life when we live spiritually, that means beyond religion our life becomes spiritual life, that is the response to our life and our existence in this Universe. It is time to reflect on climate change and take action to bring harmony. “The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change.”- Pope Frances in  Laudato si.  How do we act towards this threat?  not with fear and anger because fear and anger are always destructive. We only react to this problem but start with the present - that is with intelligence - then we will respond to the problem and it will always be productive. To take action does not mean that you have to join in some organization to protect nature or should plant many trees etc… if you do, it is well, but rather we can all start with something very practical - things we consume in day to day life that we use. What is needed is not more than that and makes a lot of difference!  Start with a simple life. In  Genesis 1:28  we see: And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Many times we misunderstand that and we think we have all the control over the world dominion and with this selfishness we act. Dominion also means that we human beings are responsible to protect mother earth and promote peace and harmony to all.  Remember Peace is our natural state. Men and women are essentially soul or Atma which has three essential qualities which are SAT, CHIT, ANANDA or Truth, knowledge, and Bliss.  When we realize this we go beyond all the turmoil humankind has created and we protect nature and promote Peace in the whole universe. It is time to unite together with all the nations, religions, Cultures together to Protect and Promote Peace throughout the World.

 Shanti Shanti Shanti…

With love and prayers

Fr. Dorathick


           


AUGUST 2019

Sannyasa beyond Religion

 


Dear Oblates and friends of Shantivanam,

Today, 30th August, we commemorate the birthday of Swami Abishiktananda. We reflect on Swamis vision of sannyasa beyond religion. In one of his last writings on sannyasa, an article published as a series in the divine life, the journal of Shivananda ashram Rishikesh, Swami Abishiktananda offers a more radical vision of sannyasa.

In every religion and in every religious experience, he says, there is a ‘beyond’ and in sannyasa is the acknowledgement of such a beyond of all symbols, all possibility of being adequately signified by rites, creeds and all signs. It is paradoxically the sign of what is beyond institutions. Expression like Christian sannyasa or Hindu sannyasa has value on the phenomenological level.  The call of complete renunciation cuts across all dharmas and does not mind any frontier. It is therefore normal, affirms swamiji from his own experience, that the monks of all dharmas discover themselves as brothers across the frontier of their respective dharmas in that very transcendence of all signs to which all of them bear witness. A true sannyasi is “the man beyond the realms of signs whose function here below is to remind everyone that the ‘eschaton’ is already present”.[1] One might wonder whether there could be a rite to go beyond rites? And whether there could be a sign to realize what is beyond signs? It is in answering these questions that swamiji shows his deep understanding of the ideal and the real in sannyasa.

The sannyasi, says he, live in the world of signs; and this world of manifestation is in need of him, the ‘beyond – sign to realize the impossible bridging between the two worlds keeping them apart and yet linking one with the other. Besides, there is also the need for society itself of the presence of formal sannyasis in the midst of it. Now, with regard to the type of diksha, he believes that it is normal that the official initiation be done within the religious tradition in which each individual is born and has grown in spirit. For, as long as we remain at the level of signs, the best signs are generally those amidst which we woke up as men and as men devoted to God, even if later on those signs have to be purified and freed from limitations and particularism.  Integrating deeply his experience as a Christian monk with his experience of sannyasa with its upanishadic insights, swamiji presents a kind of ecumenical diksha- a monastic profession of which both a Hindu sannyasin and a Christian monk would be witnesses. The first would transmit to the candidate the initiation he himself received and co-opt him into that mystery of sannyasa which manifested itself all along the centuries by the numerous mahatmas and sadus; the other will initiate him to that no less numerous mass of witnesses who heard the invitation of Christ to leave everything for the kingdom. Then,” beyond the double vamsa, both of them, indivisibly, in advaita, will lead him to the spirit, the unique things which calls that inner light which shines in the heart of all those who are called.”[2]

Shanti shanti shanti..

With prayers

Fr. Dorathick

 



[1] Divine life, nov.1973,450-451.

[2] Divine life, feb. 1974,63.




JULY 2019


Dear Oblates and Friends of Shantivanam


Greetings and Peace to all

Prana- The life Energy and vital force

 

Prana is a Sanskrit word constructed of the syllables praandan. 'An' means movement and 'pra' is a prefix meaning constant. Therefore, prana means constant motion. This constant motion begins in the human being as soon as he is conceived in his mother's womb. Prana is therefore energy responsible for the human life. Prana in a simple term we can understand our breath.  In the Christian tradition Breath of God, revealing God to the world and giving life, not only to humans, but also to the whole of creation. The very first verse of the Bible speaks of the Spirit as a mighty wind which moves over the face of the deep, drawing aside, as it were, the veils of darkness to allow the beautiful earth to emerge (Gen 1:1). Human beings were not a "living being" until God breathed into Humans. The word for breath in Hebrew is ruach which also means Spirit, so man or women only becomes a "living being" when God gives him His Spirit . When God takes back the breath, life disappears: ‘When you take away their breath they die and return to the dust’ (Ps. 104:29).

In Upanishads we can see Prana next to the Self and the Supreme-Self, the most important entity which is frequently mentioned in the Upanishads is prana. The Chandogya Upanishad compares the pranic energy in the body with the energy of the sun. It declares that what is in the sun is the same as what is in prana. The sun is the sustainer of all. The energy in the body is actually similar to the energy present in the sun. Hence in the austerities (tapas), the body is able to generate heat. According to the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, the breath not only protects the organs in the body, but also keeps them free from evil. In the past, it carried all the organs to the ends of the quarters and freed them from the impurities of evil. Thus, as long as prana is present in the body, the organs are safe and the body remains pure. prana keeps the body alive and free from evil. While the body can survive without the presence of other organs, although it may lose some functionality in the process, without the breath it dies. Like the Self, prana is also invisible and subtle. It remains veiled behind names and forms. While the Self is indivisible, the breath is divisible. It divides itself into various kinds and flows in the body in various directions. prana is superior to the organs in the body, including the senses, the mind and the limbs, it has a great significance in the practice of yoga, in the purification of the mind and body and in stabilizing them.

 The most ancient spiritual text of India, the Rig Veda, says about the breath. In the great Hymn of Creation (10:129:2) it says of the Absolute: “That One Thing, breathless, breathed by its own nature.” Before creation the Cosmic Breath was fully internal, becoming external at the advent of the universe. It is the same way with us. In the depths of meditation the breath becomes internal so that we, too, breathe inwardly and perceive that inward movement which is a manifestation of our own essential nature. This is why Breath is so important in our life we can see in many religious traditions and meditation techniques are based on awareness of breath because essentially you know when you are aware of your prana (breath) then you will know how the life is happening in you. Unless we do not know what is our life? We may not know how to respond to our life. So for me it is so important to know the basic what is life then it is easy to respond to life. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.7  says beautifully “When one breathes, one knows him as breath”. This implies that through breathing specifically through observing the breath – God can be known. Two things happen when you know about Prana first you know yourself second you come to know God. As a Christian we can even understand well the prana in John 20:22 Jesus again reminded all his disciples “When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit”. The Prana which we share is the same, so the importance of the prana is to be cared for in our life.  When we are constantly aware of the prana, we will be connected with the creator - this is the link and key for your life. Let us feel that every moment and every breath we take is a Gift of life and feel that it is God who works evidently within us throughout our life.
 
Shanti Shanti Shanti

With love and prayers

Fr. Dorathick



JUNE 2019
Greetings and Peace from Shantivanam

Dear Oblates and Friends of Shantivanam,


Sit in the cell as in paradise

 As we celebrate the Solemnity  of St. Romuald on 19 th June, his beautiful little rule comes to my mind. The beginning of Romuald’s brief rule “Sit In your cell as in paradise”, touched me a lot when I read it for the first time.  This is the advice normally given to Hesychast.  Hesychast is one who lives in golden solitude.  Abba Moses gives a similar command “Go, sit in your cell, and your cell will teach you everything”. In the scripture we read “The Kingdom of God is within you”  Luke 17:21. “You are the Temple of the living God” II Corinthians 6:16. One of the fundamental truths emphasized by Jesus is the immanence of the Kingdom of God, the fact that it is within each and every human being. The Adi Grantha beautifully says “The temple of God is the body, from which comes out the rubies of knowledge”  When we sit in the cell as in paradise in solitude and silence, cast all our thoughts of the world behind. This is fundamental for meditation, then observe within. Then we discover the inner dynamism of love in the depth of our heart.   This Divine mystery represents a dynamic unity in relationship.  The Christian revelation evokes, according to Fr. Bede Griffiths, a unique awareness of the correspondence between the life of the Divine Mystery and of human consciousness. Specially, the movement of human consciousness in returning to a non-dual union with its source, is seen in the person of Jesus Christ and in its symbolic re–enactment through liturgy and theology in the church. Thus, following Christ, the individual and human consciousness itself, may undergo incarnation, death (self- transcendence) and resurrection through its participation in the life of Christ. This process of self-realization culminates, for a Christian, in the experience of the Kingdom of God  in which all the created reality  serves as reflection of the divine reality. To identify the inner dynamism and power, within the Divine mystery, as Love. It is this love which moves the human consciousness towards full integration and full fulfillment. Realizing this Love within us helps us to empty ourselves completely as a brief rule of St.Romuald ends:” Empty yourself completely and waiting content with the grace of God …”. This emptiness frees the mind and allows Gods grace within us. Thus we experience here and now Gods love within us.

Shanti Shanti Shanti

 With Love

Fr. Dorathick



MESSAGE FOR THE 26TH DEATH ANNIVERSARY OF FR BEDE GRIFFITHS 13TH MAY


Greetings and peace from Shantivanam

Dear Oblates and Friends of Shantivanam

Today we commemorate the 26th death anniversary of Fr. Bede Griffiths. We give thanks for the great gift of God to us. Last week a sister from FMM congregation visited our Ashram after many years. She shared her experience with Fr.Bede Griffiths - after meeting him her life was transformed. She was there at the time of Fr. Bede’s funeral - she witnessed the change of nature as she was telling me how much Fr. Bede is connected with nature. This reminded me of the first time I read The Golden String before coming to Shantivanam: When he was in his last year at Oxford, Griffiths had a powerful experience of the numinous, which is often quoted in the secondary literature as pivotal in Griffiths’ spiritual journey:

A lark rose suddenly from the ground … and poured out its song over my head, and then sank still singing to rest. Everything then drew still as the sunset faded and the veil of dusk began to cover the earth.  I remember now the feeling of awe which came over me.  I felt inclined to kneel on the ground, as though I had been standing in the presence of an angel; and I hardly dared to look on the face of the sky, because it seemed as though it was but a veil before the face of God.[1]

These mystical experiences in his early years are crucial as we can see them retrospectively as pre-figurations of his later engagements with Eastern Spirituality. Later Fr.Bede Griffiths came to the realization that a relationship with God is a two way process; that God was searching for him, just as he was searching for God. He saw that Christianity ‘was not just a doctrine to be preached but a life to be lived.’[2] God had brought me to my knees and made me acknowledge my own nothingness, and out of that knowledge I had been reborn. I was no longer the centre of my life and therefore I could see God in everything - Bede Griffiths.


Shanti Shanti Shanti

With prayers

Fr. Dorathick

[1] Bede Griffiths, The Golden String (London: Harvill Press 1954), 9.

[2] Bede Griffiths, The Golden String, 119.


                                           



EASTER MESSAGE FROM FR. DORATHICK


Dear Oblates and friends of Shantivanam…. A warm greeting to you all. Let His joy, peace, and love ascend into your home this Easter and through the years. Truly, He has risen!

On Holy Saturday one of the workers went to clean the chapel. Soon she rushed to me with tears in her eyes. I just asked her what happened. She with tears in her eyes in a feeble voice said that God is not there and there is no light in the lamp! She is a Hindu lady but she did not know that we empty the tabernacle and no light will be there until Easter. But I could see that her belief in God and her feeling towards God is something very profound and meaningful. It is almost the same as when Mary Magdalene went to the tomb. Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.  So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” John 20:1-3. When friends and loved ones die, when we are broken, and when God seems so far away and it seems as though we are left with nothing but to sit in silence and contemplate that brokenness -  Do we do as Judas, who killed himself in great sorrow and despair, or do we do as Mary Magdalen who set out in her great sorrow to visit the grave of Jesus and witness the Resurrection? 

The extract below from an Easter homily by Fr Eugene Lobo, SJ  is taken from the following website:-https://indiancatholicmatters.org/easter-homily-today-is-a-fulfilment-of-his-fathers-will/

Mary Magdalene went in search of Jesus even after the disciples went away. She loved her master and was much devoted to him and wanted to remain close the tomb. She was upset with the events that the stone was removed, the body was missing and she thought that someone had deliberately stolen it. She wept at the loss and with the inner burning desire to be near him, to follow Him, to hear Him, to feel loved, to be understood and to be forgiven of sins. In the tomb she sees two angels who ask her the reason for her crying. At that very moment Jesus too is present and he too asks her the reason for her crying. She thinks that he is gardener and looks for his help but Jesus presents himself to her and calls her by name. Only then she understands who he was and worships him. Jesus indeed accepts her presence but gives her the mission. She was asked to go and tell all, starting from the disciples that Jesus is raised from the dead and she has seen him and he has the good news for everyone. He also tells her that he has to ascend to the Father but she has her task to fulfill here and now, namely to be his messenger.

For Peter and other disciples this was the moment of growth in their faith in the resurrection of Jesus. Immediately after the visit to the empty tomb they may have been shocked. This will soon be clarified to them about the resurrection of Jesus perhaps through Mary Magdalene. Later it is further clarified as he encountered the disciples on the way to Emmaus where he explained the positive meaning of the sufferings of the messiah as found in the Old Testament.

The resurrection of Jesus brought a new hope in the disciples and transformed their emptiness into a fullness of light. The word, “Jesus is alive!” or “I have seen the Lord!” were enough to instantly create a great spiritual hunger in their soul the worldly minds of the disciples suddenly became alerted to the truth. Faith was being reinstated in the Words that Jesus had spoken while He lived on earth. They could now understand what it really means to be raised from the dead. In this resurrection is the new creation by the Father. In the book of Genesis we hear of God creating the Universe. Now in the new creation God creates something more than that. He raises his own Son from the dead and gives him to the Humanity as a new gift and commissions him to remain with human kind forever.

To the Disciples the Resurrection was a new experience. It was something totally unexpected and new. It gave them a new vision of life. They were persons totally transformed with the presence of the Resurrected Jesus. They had seen his suffering and during that time most of them had remained hidden out of fear. For them as it is for us the celebration of Easter Sunday totally reverses the image of Good Friday. It tell us what Good Friday is about; It tells us that what took place on the cross on Good Friday was not just a simple death but a real sacrifice, it was not a defeat but a triumph over sin and death, and it was not an end but a great beginning.

Jesus accepted death in total obedience to his Father. He tells the Father that he is ready to do his will and sacrificed himself for the salvation of the world. His death was not a defeat but a triumph over sin and death. His death in reality was a passage to new life and hence it is no end in itself. Ultimately the Easter is the celebration of the total unending love of the Father for the sake of Humanity. He gave back his son to us for human kind with greater love and with the resurrection Jesus will stay with us forever. The resurrection of Jesus, and later the Pentecost brings change in the disciples. They knew of his presence and Jesus worked many miracles through them. People in Jerusalem too once they saw their work held them in high esteem. The result of their work was that the community increased in numbers.

Today on Easter Sunday the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus reminds us that we have the same mission as Peter and Mary Magdalene and the other disciples of Jesus. This requires as the first reading of today tells us that we need a radical conversion, a radical change on our part.

In the celebration of the Pasch, the Jews used to throw out all the leavened bread they had and replace it with freshly baked unleavened bread. Because of the fermentation process that leavened bread undergoes, yeast was regarded as a corrupting agent. So Paul tells us that we, too, as we celebrate our Christian Passover, are to become “a completely new batch of bread, unleavened as you are meant to be…having only the unleavened bread of integrity and truth.”Further, Peter emphasizes the importance of Jesus’ disciples not only experiencing and enjoying the joy of their Risen Master and Lord but also of sharing that experience and joy with as many people as possible. It is something we must do also to live joyfully in the close company of the Risen Lord. For the true Christian, in fact, every day is an Easter Day lived joyfully in the close company of the Risen Lord. “He has ordered us to proclaim this to his people and to tell them that God has appointed Jesus to judge everyone, alive or dead, that all who believe in Jesus will have their sins forgiven through his name…”

On this day Jesus calls us to be his messengers of peace. We pray that this peace will remain in our hearts always to make us his messengers in the world of today. The celebration of Easter is a call for us to change – and perhaps change radically – as Jesus’ own disciples changed. I wish you all to celebrate this day with peace, love and bliss. Have a blessed and holy Easter.

Shanti Shanti Shanti…..

With Love

Fr. Dorathick



MESSAGE FOR THE BIRTH ANNIVERSARY OF FR. JULES MONCHANIN Born10th April 1895


Greetings and peace from Shantivanam

Dear Oblates and friends of Shantivanam

Today we remember the birth anniversary of Swami Parama Arubi Ananda ( Jules Monchanin).

The Call of Swami Parama Arubi Ananda is so beautiful to reflect on in this lenten season as we are close to Easter.

He became fully aware of his vocation to India during his serious illness on 26 march 1932 on Passion Sunday. His condition of health was so bad just near to death. He promised God that if he recovers, he would dedicate himself to the salvation of India. When his health was restored he just dedicates himself to learn Indian philosophy, culture etc... Swami once wrote “I had always been drawn by India. If you look at the development of a vocation, you will find its roots in the earliest years of childhood. You discern signs which were found in mysticism. As in Heidegger’s concept of time in future which draws the present and the past so there was always within me this attraction of India. At first it was primary intellectual, and it had not yet taken shape in a definite vocation…  The working out of a person’s destiny is always a great mystery. The graces received are bound to many others. There are incarnate graces which make you go from intellectual level to level of life.” In him the intellect found redoubtable strength in the extraordinary strength of his spirit. Right up to the end, with calm, humble, simplicity, he followed the call, so hard, so gentle, which resounded in him. More precisely, his call was inseparably a call to the mission  to communicate the vision of the Holy Trinity , Of Christ  and of the church  a call to the monastic life and a call to India. An Ashram (monastic order) dedicated to contemplation is needed in India. It is needed as  Swami Parama Arubi Ananda often said,” that Christianity be rethought as Indian, and Indian as a Christian.” Today  Swami Parama Arubi Ananda‘s call gives us a great inspiration to move from the intellectual level to a life level experience in our Spiritual journey.


Shanti Shanti Shanti


With love and Prayers


Fr. Dorathick



MESSAGE FOR THE 69TH ANNIVERSARY OF SACCIDANANDA ASHRAM SHANTIVANAM 21ST MARCH 2019


Greetings and peace from Shantivanam

Dear Oblates and Friends …

Today we celebrate our 69 th anniversary of our Ashram.  On the feast of St. Benedict in the holy Year 1950, the mass was celebrated for the first time in a hermitage, Shantivanam, newly erected on the bank of river Cauvary, near the small town of Kulittalai .  Two priests Parama Arupi Ananda and Abhishiktananda  were then permitted by his Excellency the Rt. Rev. Dr. Mendonca, Bishop of Tiruchirapalli, to enter that hermitage and, dressed in the traditional garb of Indian ascetics, to dedicate themselves to the quest of God and salvation through a life of solitude, prayer and silence, after the manner of so many Indian pioneers – but in the light of the teaching of Christ and the examples of Christian monks. Anticipating the second Vatican council and the all Indian seminar – to show that they sought to identify themselves with the “Hindu search for God” the quest of the absolute, which inspired monastic life in India from the earliest times; they also intended to relate this quest to their own experience of God in Christ in the mystery of The Holy Trinity. The ashram is dedicated to the Holy Trinity.

The aim of the ashram is to establish a way of contemplative life, based on the traditions of Christian monasticism and Hindu sannyasa, renunciation of the world in order to seek God or in Hindu Terms - liberation which goes back many centuries before the birth of Christ and continues to the present day.   Our aim at Shativanam is to unite ourselves with this tradition as Christian Sannyasis. Fr. Bede Griffiths led the development of dialogue between Christianity and Hinduism as part of the Christian Ashram Movement. His belief in the brotherhood of all mankind and his attempt to bridge religious differences with interfaith dialogue.  His spiritual understanding transcended many people. The ashram is attentive not only to spiritual seekers but is also conscious of the poor and the needy neighbors in the surrounding villages. Though the ashram’s primary call is to discover “the kingdom of God within,” it is also deeply proactive to the cry of the poor in their milieu through the words of Jesus “whatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters that you do unto me.” 

Shantivanam Ashram is a mother of all other catholic ashrams. Today we must ponder the vision of our founders for ashram .  Ashram must above all be a place of prayer and contemplation, where those who feel a call to a life of seclusion from the world and total commitment to a life of prayer in poverty, chastity and obedience may find the opportunity which they seek. But at the same time we want this spirit of prayer to radiate outwards, so that those who are engaged in the world may be able to come here and discover something of the reality of the presence of God in their lives. It is our belief that no economic or social development can be of any lasting value, unless it is based on a deep awareness of the reality of God, of that infinite transcendence which is known in prayer and meditation, which alone gives any ultimate meaning to human life. We believe that it is such centres of prayer and meditation, which are the greatest need of the Church and the world today.

Shanti Shanti Shanti

With Prayers

Fr. Dorathick

Message from Fr. Dorathick February 2019


Blessed are the Peace makers


Dear Oblates and friends of Shantivanam,

Our world today is not a place of peace and tranquility. Evil in the world is becoming increasingly aggressive and hostile like recent Pulwama terror attack and in many other attacks in other parts of the world. The result is hate and violence exists in our world. In John 15:18 Jesus warns us about this, If the world hates you, know that it hated me before it hated you. The greatest challenge for the peacemaker is to reflect the nature of God in an environment dominated by evil. If we ask What is the purpose of this Universe? What is the goal of life? The Indians suggest peace- Shanti. The Chinese evoke harmony. The Christans dream of fullness- pleroma, the terms may be different, but the vision is the same. We can think of other terms like communion, advaitic or non- dual oneness, “ God , All in all”(1 Cor 15:28), “ That they may be all one”(Jn 17:21) Jesus’ proclamation is set in the horizon of peace. At the very beginning of his life he proclaims: “Blessed are the peacemakers”( mt 5:9).

There are 3 steps towards true and lasting peace:

1. Peace with God – peace I leave with you. In Greek the word for peace is the word EIRENE  and comes from the root verb EIRO which means to join together. In this context, peace is not the absence of something but the joining together of something. Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of grace. Peace is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of God. Before Jesus went away he comforted His disciples by promising that His peace would remain – “Peace I leave with you”. He was leaving them in right relationship with himself. This relationship would last beyond the cross to eternity. When we ask Jesus to come into our hearts He gives the same promise to us – that through justification the relationship which we began will continue. Rom 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through ignorance we were separated from God. That separation leads to a longing in the human heart. People try to fill that God shaped void with many things, but nothing will satisfy. Without justification it is impossible to have real peace. Conscience forbids it. Ignorance is a mountain between a man and God, and must be taken away. The sense of guilt lies heavy on the heart and must be removed. Unpardoned sin will murder peace. The true Christian knows all this well. His peace arises from a consciousness of his sins being forgiven, and his guilt being put away. ... He has peace with God, because he is justified. Gen 3:9 says But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?"  He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid." And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?" The man said, "The woman you put here with me -- she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it. Sin severed our relationship with God. The result was shame. Sin caused Adam to try to hide from God, and sin has been causing mankind to run from God ever since. The results of this broken relationship with God lead to fear (feeling naked) and blame (the woman YOU put here…) It all started with a broken relationship with God, so peace must begin with a restored relationship with God.

2. Peace with ourselves – my peace I give you When we have peace with God then we are able to make peace with ourselves. Feelings of insecurity, guilt and unforgiveness are all dealt with in the cross. It is only when we see ourselves through the eyes of God that we can truly understand who we really are. Paul understood the inner war of the soul that we all have within us: Rom 7:22 For in my inner being I delight in God's law;  but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. Jesus gives us His sense of inner peace – “my peace I give you”. As people we are not “good nothings” but “fallen somethings”. We need to understand that God made us good and that He loves us despite our wrong choices. Peace rules the day when Christ rules the heart and mind. If there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character. If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home. If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation. If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world. -- Chinese Proverb First put yourself at peace, and then you may the better make others be at peace. A peaceful and patient man is of more profit to himself and to others, too, than a learned man who has no peace.

 3. Peace with others – I do not give to you as the world gives There are so many people today that are talking about peace, but the problem is that peace with others is impossible until you have peace with God and peace with self. Peace is not the absence of conflict, it is the presence of grace in conflict. Peace does not mean or avoiding all differences and ideals. It is not appeasement, or pretending conflict does not exist. It is not religious tolerance in saying “you believe what you want and I’ll believe what I want”.

John Stott writes in The Message of the Sermon on the Mount, Peacemaking is a divine work. For peace means reconciliation and God is the author of peace and of reconciliation… It is hardly surprising, therefore, that the particular blessing which attaches to peacemakers is that "they shall be called sons of God." For they are seeking to do what their Father has done, loving people with his love. Making peace makes us God's children— which means we are related to each other as family. Peacemakers actively work to bring about a spiritual wholeness and healing between those who are away from God by their ignorance.  Peacemaking requires time and effort. We must pursue and produce it. God approves and blesses the peacemakers. Paul concludes his letter to the Thessalonians by saying, ―Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways.‖ That is the very best blessing for those who want to be called the children of God.

Shanti Shanti Shanti

With prayers

Fr. Dorathick

 


Message from Fr. Dorathick January 2019

God revealed in Creation  

Peace and Joy be with you all

Dear Oblates and Friends of Shantivanam

How do I know God?  This is a quest we can see from long ago in the history and traditions until today. Obviously there are many different traditions, cultures, religions languages, art, etc.. that God has revealed to us. Creation is one of the best and easiest ways to know God. The scriptures are clear that God’s presence can be found in Creation. This in fact, seems to be one of God’s best dwelling places. Psalm 19 testifies to the revelation of God through His creation: The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat. Bhagavad-Gita 9.19 says I radiate heat as the sun, and I withhold, as well as send forth rain. I am immortality as well as death personified, O Arjun. I am the spirit as well as matter. The Puranas describe that when God first created the universe, He manifested the first-born Brahma and entrusted him with the work of further creation.  Brahma was bewildered by the task of creating the materials and the life-forms in the universe from the subtle material energy. Then God revealed knowledge unto him. There is nothing apart from Me. Shree Krishna reveals that He is the Vedas, the sacrificial fire, the syllable “Om,” the clarified butter, and the act of offering.  No matter what the form and sentiment of our devotion, there is nothing apart from God that we can offer to Him.  Nevertheless, it is the sentiment of love that pleases God, not the material of the offering. God, therefore, reveals Himself to us in the natural world of creation and through the use of our natural reason. We can observe the world around us and draw a logical conclusion that God exists. This is called natural revelation because we are using our native power of reasoning about creatures to "perceive from them how much more powerful is he who formed them" (Wis 13:4).

The creation itself tells us about the existence of God the Creator just as the human person reveals to us God’s existence through the human soul, that “seed of eternity” that can originate only in God (CCC 33). When we look at the created world around us, we have the natural ability to learn about God. As St. Paul tells us, "Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made" (Rom 1:20). When he listens to the message of creation and to the voice of conscience, man can arrive at certainty about the existence of God, the cause and the end of everything. No amount of unaided thinking or observation could lead to comprehension of God CCC 52 …By revealing himself God wishes to make them capable of responding to him, and of knowing him, and of loving him far beyond their own natural capacity.  The Nature is God's gift to everyone. There are people who see and love God’s wonders in creation, but some stop seeing God in it.  There are also people who worship the created world and serve creature rather than transcending from the creation to the creator. God made his Creation in such a way that we could see Him reflected in its beauties, and He wants us to find Him there. This is how Solomon put it “For from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator”(Wis 13:5). The first revelation of God is in the creation it is clear for us.

Today it is a great challenge for us to preserve nature and to keep it alive. Because it has been polluted and maltreated in different ways out of our ignorance. Let us be aware that it is our own responsibility to keep nature safe and clean.  Nature will always be a part of our lives . It's up to us to make the environment clean and safe for future generation. Imagine a world without Nature . Without trees. Clouds . Season . Snow . Green grass . Beautiful flowers and everything that nature is. What would the meaning of life be? Nature is very important for us because  humans have needed to survive and thrive, was provided by the natural world around us: food, water, medicine, materials, for shelter, and even natural cycles such us climate and nutrients etc. We have to  use this wonderful gift of God to unveil the revelation of God in nature. When we love nature we come to know that we are the co creators who have to keep nature safe and make this nature a place for others to see God’s  revelation here and now in this world. As we participate in the creation let us rejoice at every moment of our life, manifesting Gods love for us in nature. 

 

Shanti Shanti Shanti

 

With Prayers

Fr. Dorathick

 

 



REMEMBERING FR BEDE GRIFFITHS


 
ON THE 112th ANNIVERSARY OF HIS BIRTH 17TH DECEMBER 2018



Peace and Joy to all

Today we remember the birth anniversary of Fr. Bede.

As we are preparing our hearts to celebrate Christmas we reflect on one of his letters on Renunciation which began the night of his conversion, before his monastic commitment.

He wrote: I have been telling Mary that my prayer has undergone a revolution through my discovery of the meaning of sin. Of course, I have known it in general before, but this has been a deep, interior experience renewed from day to day. It will take a long time for it to sink in, but I do believe it is what I have been seeking. I have always felt an obstacle between myself and my deepest being, and I am sure that the obstacle is pride. I feel that Jung’s psychology and oriental methods of prayer tend to make me overlook this fundamental matter of personal sin. This seems to be the essential work of Christian prayer. For sin is the offence against God in the sense  that it is an offence against the ultimate law of being. It seems to me that it touches the depths of one’s soul. Only when we have realized this deep, interior sin and repented of it with all our will, can our interior being be open to God. Then God is experienced as love, reaching down into the depths of our being and drawing us to itself. This again seems to be a peculiarly Christian experience - God is known as absolutely other than ourselves, giving himself gratuitously to us, more deeply present to us than we are to ourselves, but still absolutely other. It is a union of love - two really distinct beings united in one. But one must keep one’s mind on the reality of one’s personal sin. One must recall the incidents of rebellion, selfassertion, self-will etc. which have occurred in the past and recognize one’s sin and repent. It must be a completely personal act of acknowledgement and reparation. One must realize that pride, anger, hatred, jealousy, lust and sloth are perpetually active in us and only the grace of God can save us at any moment. This may not mean as much to you as it does to me, but it has to become an interior experience, a grace which needs to be renewed day by day, until the hard shell of pride begins to be worn through. I feel sure that this is the obstruction which keeps one back all the time. Isn’t your desire to be above everything all the time probably due to this? The way lies in exactly the opposite direction. One has to learn to place oneself below everyone and everything. The inmost centre of the soul is the lowest point of our being: it is where we become nothing and God everything. But to reach it one has to go back and back, beyond each point of self-assertion by which the wall of pride has been built up, until one reaches childhood, - then beyond that, because there is sin latent in childhood, until one realizes that there is no good in oneself, and that every particle of good comes not from ourselves but from God, and that it is only by grace that we do not pervert every good thing we find in ourselves.B.G letter to Mary Allen 11/1/53.

Let us take up the inspiration of fr. Bede’s life and his message on this day and make our Christmas very special.

Om Shanti ShantiShanti

With prayers

Fr. Dorathick



CHRISTMAS MESSAGE FROM FR DORATHICK
     


Dear Oblates and friends of Shantivanam

A Happy and blessed Christmas to each one of you. My prayer for each of you this year is that you may be touched and renewed by the message of joy and hope which this special season brings. 

Christmas is a joyous season for all. The very word ‘Christmas’ brings joy and brings out real goodness, in our hearts. It is the feast which touches the hearts like no other feasts. To live Christ is a celebration of God’s regard for this world and our flesh. God became so close to each of us by taking the form of a simple human child in flesh and blood. When the fullness of time came, God sent forth his son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children (Gal 4: 4-5). We all become the children of God. God became human. The greatest moment of human history is when God became man. Incarnation is when divinity bent low over us in love to lift us up Himself. The mystery of the Incarnation empowers us. It teaches us the virtues that generate life and compassionate love. God in Jesus becomes a servant God who washes the feet of his disciples. He identifies himself with every human suffering and complete self gifting love for us.

 Christmas is the bridging of two realities reminding us that God is not just the God of heaven but Lord and Creator of the universe. The Incarnation is not just to save the world, but to bless the world, to bless being human, to sanction being human, to join us in our humanness. Jesus invites us to come to him as a child.  When we look around, and see the children in their many Christmas presentations, that excitement and thrill goes a long way in helping to lay aside, even for a moment, the realities of daily struggle. For children, all the experiences of life are new and thrilling adventures. They take them in and take them on willingly and eagerly. Adults will do well to adopt this attitude of childlike innocence at Christmas, and allow the gift of this sacred birth we celebrate a chance to fill us with peace! joy! and love!

In this Christmas, we open the door of our heart to receive Christ in us.  It is the result of an encounter between two hearts: the heart of God who comes to meet us and a human heart. Our hearts of stone become hearts of flesh capable of love despite our weakness. I come to realize that I am truly a new creation: I am loved, therefore I exist; I am forgiven, therefore I am reborn; I have been shown mercy, therefore I have become a vessel of mercy. Jesus’ coming made it possible to reconnect ourselves with God and with each other. He gave us the tools to break the barriers of separation and division. He wants us to be one family living as brothers and sisters. Obviously, we have a long way to go. There is still division, hatred and discrimination. We are called to overcome the temptation of isolating ourselves from our families or fostering division among God’s people. We are more alike than we are different. We must find and affirm what we have in common rather than what is different. Christ is our peace. He broke the barriers of hostility that kept us apart. “The pleasure of belonging to one another leads to seeing life as a common project, putting the other’s happiness ahead of my own”  (Amoris Laetitia #220).  May the New-born Lord touch the heart of every one and abide in the soul of every human being, so that He blesses and enlightens all of us together with the radiance of the Star of Bethlehem. May He grant us a blessed New Year of salvation illumined by the light of the knowledge of God. Such that the forthcoming Year 2019 may be filled with mutual love, peace and harmony, we invoke upon all of you the blessing and grace of the Holy Night of Christmas, joyfully exclaiming from our heart: GOD'S PEACE – CHRIST IS BORN! INDEED HE IS BORN!

Christmas celebrations are often full of sound. It would be good for us to make room for silence at this time, to hear the voice of Love.”      Pope Francis

Shanti Shanti Shanti…..

With love and prayers

Fr. Dorathick

    



MESSAGE FROM FR. DORATHICK RAJAN FOR THE

45th death Anniversary of  Swami Abhishiktananda
7th December 2018


Dear Oblates and friends of Shantivanam ,

Peace and Joy to all

As we are in the advent season, preparing our self joyfully to celebrate Christmas in a meaningful way. Today we remember the death anniversary of Swami Abhishiktananda. Swami Abhishitanada immersed himself into God experience in himself and He gives us a better understanding to know Christ on this day to prepare our hearts to receive Christ.

In his final illness he had experienced “an inner apocalypse”, “an awakening beyond all myths and symbols” (Baumer-Despeigne, 1983, 327-328), returning him to one of his favourite Upanishadic verses (of which we can find echoes in many mystical works of both East and West): I know him, that great Purusha, Of the colour of the sun, Beyond all darkness. He who has known him goes beyond death. There is no other way. (Svetasvatara Upanishad, III.8.) The knowledge (vidya) of Christ is identical with what the Upanishads call divine knowledge (brahmavidya). It comprises the whole of God’s self manifestation in time, and is one with his eternal self-manifestation. Step by step I descended into what seemed to me to be successive depths of my true self—my being (sat), my awareness of being (cit), and my joy in being (ananda). Finally nothing was left but he himself, the Only One, infinitely alone, Being, Awareness and Bliss, Saccidananda (Abhishiktananda, 1984: 172).

On this day we contemplate and let’s all be inspired by his life and total dedication for the love of God!

Let Swami Abhishiktanda’s Spirit and his wisdom live forever and ever in us.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti….

Fr. Dorathick


   


MESSAGE FROM FR. DORATHICK RAJAN FOR THE

61ST DEATH ANNIVERSARY OF FR. JULES MONCHANIN

10TH OCTOBER 2018



Dear Oblates and friends of Shantivanam,

Peace and joy be with you all

Today as we are celebrating the 61 death anniversary of our beloved Fr. Jules Monchanin. On this day we contemplate on his own words, a strong conviction and faith in God which made a great transformation in his life. He is a great inspiration for us today.

He wrote to his mother "… God has transplanted me… I want to sink myself into this silence, to be only adoration and praise. I have said goodbye to the west and I have come to an unknown land. I am filled with praise for this land that God has chosen for me. I don’t have any idea what I will do, but I have faith in Spirit. How I wish that from my life and from my death, a contemplative life in the Trinity might be born which will assume, purify and transfigure all the thought, all the art and all the millennia of India’s experience!.... I know, I feel, that nothing must be rushed, and I am waiting in patience, for my thought lives almost always in the future."

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti…..

With prayers

Fr.Dorathick





30th August 2018 - 108th Birth Anniversary of Swami Abhishiktananda


Peace and Joy be with you

Dear Oblates and Friends of Shantivanam,

As we are celebrating the 108th birth anniversary of Swami Abhishiktananda - The number 108 is a very important number in Indian culture, Hindu and Buddhist traditions too give it great importance. The number 108 is 1+0+8 =9, and number 9 is related with God. That is why, traditionally, malas, or garlands of prayer beads, come as a string of 108 beads always leading towards a God experience or union with God. 
Today we are called to remember Swami Abhishikananda's life and vision and the God experience in our life today “…To realize the mystery of God in the deepest recesses of our heart, beyond all thought, all imagination, beyond every possible manifestation of His glory. God is indeed present in every one of His signs, and yet He remains for ever beyond all signs, beyond everything through which He manifests His Presence, beyond everything in the mental or material world….Everything through which God reveals Himself to us is a summons to go further, to go beyond.”*(Prayer, pp.50-51) "All that we know or think we know of God is false. There is only one thing to know of God—and that transcends the understanding, it takes place at the sources of being—namely, that this knowledge is a total commitment. It is in the abandonment of reliance on yourself that you know God, existentially. That is faith and brahmavidya (the knowledge of Brahman)."*
(Ascent to the Depth of the Heart p.500)
To have a deeper understanding and to grow towards God is a call on this beautiful occasion and gives us an invitation to be in union with God in our own life.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti…

With love and prayers

Fr. Dorathick


* "The Message of Swami Abhishiktananda - Selected Quotations" http://www.abhishiktananda.org.in/html/message-of-swami-abhishiktananda.php




The Vocation of Being an Oblate is a Call to Holiness in Today’s World



Peace and Joy be with you all

Dear Oblates and friends of Saccidananda Ashram, Shantivanam

Today we live in a world which is rapidly changing and we are busy with lots of work, busy schedules etc. Despite all our busy schedules we have to remember that we are all spiritual beings as well as social beings and are called to grow in holiness and share our love towards God and our neighbor. Holiness is a gift that is offered to everyone, no one is excluded; it constitutes the distinctive character of every Christian. To be saints, Pope Francis said, “we do not necessarily have to be bishops, priests or Religious”, or like those who are able to “detach themselves from ordinary matters, to dedicate themselves exclusively to prayer”.

In today’s World the Oblate ship will help us to remind and help us to grow towards holiness. Are you called to the consecrated life? Be holy by living out your commitment with joy. Are you married? Be holy by loving and caring for your husband or wife, as Christ does for the Church. Do you work for a living? Be holy by laboring with integrity and skill in the service of your brothers and sisters. Are you a parent or grandparent? Be holy by patiently teaching the little ones how to follow Jesus. Are you in a position of authority? Be holy by working for the common good and renouncing personal gain. You will find everything you need to grow towards holiness. The very meaning of the word oblate is for the service of God and neighbor by our life. Oblates are not vowed members of the Benedictine Order. But they are committed by their oblation to a community and seek to adopt its spirit and share its charism. Benedictine Oblate life is primarily a spiritual life. The key to this life is found in the Rule of St. Benedict: "That God may be glorified in all things" (RB 57:9). For the oblate, "all things" encompasses prayer, work, studies, recreation, family, friends and even enemies.

The Oblates of Shantivanam build on the foundation of prayer, study, work that characterizes Shantivanam in its Benedictine Camaldolese tradition as their way of realizing the Divine Mystery as love uniting the world. The oblate truly seeks God in every aspect of life.  Oblates of Shantivanam have to know and revere traditions other than their own and respect all who seek God. Work for the Unity of mankind, promoting inter- religious dialogue and inter religious harmony and to know the Spiritual Vision and mission of Shantivanam is to live a life of the fullness of the love of God and fullness of the love of neighbor. It is also a call to be a peace maker following the exhortation of Jesus, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the Children of God.” 

Pope Francis beautifully ends his apostolic exhortation on holiness document proposing five great expressions of love for God and neighbor: Perseverance, patience and meekness. For example, he laments that Christians use verbal violence on the internet, or that media is an outlet for defaming and slandering others. Joy and a sense of humor. Boldness and passion to encounter others in community. In constant prayers. It is precisely by living with love and by offering our Christian witness in the daily occupations that we are called to become the children of God. It is an invitation to share his joy, to live and to offer joyfully every moment of our life, making it become at the same time a gift of love for the people around us.


"I extend my warm greeting and wishes to all the Oblates and friends. I look forward to meeting them in Shantivanam soon."
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti
God Bless you with love and prayers
Fr. Dorathick





 

 

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