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

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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


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



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





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


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"

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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