WELCOME TO THIS BLOG ON FR DR JERRY ROSARIO SJ - CHALLENGES TODAY

Sunday, 21 June 2020

CHRISTMAS WITH A DIFFERENCE

             It is indeed a CHRISTMAS - TALE of 2018. While India was celebrating its Independence - anniversary on 15 August, a newly - born baby was found in a Chennai - gutter, wailing heavily. His umbilical cord was still found wound around his tiny neck. That morning saw many a people walking over the drain. But, it was a poor and compassionate passer-by, Geetha by name, who came forward to his rescue. Immediately setting aside all other tasks, she rushed him to the Government‘s Children Hospital.   

         The baby was utterly underweight, at just 1.9kg. He had a number of health complications. Tests showed that he had a severe bacterial infection in the blood. Accordingly, he was moved to intensive care unit for further close-care. For over 2 weeks, the baby was put on high - spectrum antibiotics and monitored round the clock by a team of doctors and nurses. Breast-milk from the hospital’s milk bank was processed, pasteurised and fed through a tiny cup.

A THEOLOGISING YATRA

                  It was little over thirty years ago. I was attending, for the first time, the annual meet of the Indian Theologians’ Association held then at the Sacred Heart Seminary of Chennai. It was while participating in its deliberations that I got the spark of taking up a contextual and concrete, challenging and convincing focus for my doctoral study. 

           I had  also resolved to accomplish the doctoral program in our Indian soil itself, as a manifestation of inculturation.  And, that too, in Tamil. Observers note that, back in 1992, mine was possibly the first theology - doctorate in any Indian language. There was a news item then on this in a Delhi - paper since the degree was conferred by the Vidya Jyothi Theological Institute, Old Delhi. All these are for a sole purpose of ‘theologising in an involved, inculturated  and incarnated way.’  

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Human Donation: DHANAM by Jerry Rosario, SJ

Jerry Rosario, SJ, Dhanam, 2018 (click here to open) a book on human donation  in Tamil (Book has chapters on the variety of possible donations such as BLOOD, EYE, SKIN, BONE, CORD BLOOD STEMS, ORGANS AND ALSO BODY AFTER DEATH)

Monday, 13 April 2020

Ever He Beckons, Even via Covid

     
(The Pilgrims of Emmaus on the Road, by James Tissot, ca. 1888.)
This I am penning just after completing a dry Easter Vigil Mass, alone in my room at the midnight of 11 - 12 April. As per the annual Liturgical calendar, we would have otherwise assembled at this hour with our pastoral communities and parish congregations to celebrate and commemorate the glorious Passover of Christ Jesus. What a terrifying turn of events, compared to what we were on the Ash Wednesday, 26 February, just 40 days ago..!  Who would have imagined all this?

       Not that in the past, there were neither endemic nor epidemic. But this time, this novel COVID - 19 pandemic has terrorised one and all, due to its invisible transmission and also, due to its universal spread over 185 countries within a short span of 3 months. The so-called bossy and better positioned nations are all the more hit. Poor countries and continents are relatively spared. Few reasons, though, are forwarded for this striking occurrence.

       In other words, viral infections have been playing havoc on humankind since time memorial. At the end of day, a newly - invented injection and herd immunity that prevailed and protected the people.

       Already it is being observed that, in several countries, after initial peaking, new cases are now on the decline. This means, the virus will pass. Our COVID - EASTER is not too far away. Good Fridays will soon be behind us. Though researchers add, the proved and approved antiviral drug will be available only after 18 months. We prayerfully expect, there will be no repeat performance of the virus in any near future.
  
       In this scenario, we Jesuits can get readied also for the Post Corona Viral Stage. Here are some possibles :

       01. BECOMING MISSIONARIES OF OPTIMISM:
       By the way, not being merely hopeful but, much more. Optimism would mean, 'transmitting hope even in a hopeless situation'. Even when we all of the 8 billion strong humanity find helpless in this given context of a biological danger, the Covid -19 has undoubtedly made us deeply aware of our own littleness and limitedness. Still, we have no reason to let optimism go. In our teaching, preaching and retreat - giving, we should bring in this optimistic perspective of life and history.
         As someone said, "Lift up your hearts, and be ye glad of heart. The Calvary Day and Easter Day, Earth's saddest day and gladdest day are JUST one day apart!" 

        02. BECOMING MESSENGERS OF REALISM:
        In more than one sense, pandemic should not become 'panic-demic'. We are learning now that all anxiety all the time may not be good for humanity. At its best, it sinks morale and motivation. At its worst, it can cause some mental pull down. Here, we Jesuits can become and also help others become more and more realistic. Ups and downs are part of life. A wave - movement is bound to be there in our journey of life. In Ignatian parlance, not all the time, consolation. So too, not all the time, desolation. We need to acquire more of this 'grace of realism'. As it is commented, the social lesson of Covid - 19 is also to accept that it is high time to flatten our own 'ego curve'. This takes us to the next concern.

      03. BECOMING MOTIVATORS OF THEISM:
        The presently accelerated inter- dependence across the globe has to be snowballed substantially into a greater trans - dependence on the God of History. Not just  superficial and devotional trust in the Divine but, an adult and mature Confidence in the Divine Providence. God our Common and Cosmic Parent will never ever let us down. Pope Francis frequently pictures God as the God of Surprises. Now we know He is also a God of shocks.

         Read recently: After recovering from Covid, a 93 old man in Italy was asked to pay for one day's use of the ventilator. He started crying. Doctor asked him not to cry and, if he could not pay the bill, not to worry. The old man said, "No, I can pay all the money. I cry because I have breathing God's air for 93 full years, but I never even thought of paying for it. I wonder how much I owe to God". His words moved the doctors to tears.

        We should, hence, never ever forget that our God is a God of Life who continuously shapes and sustains each and every one of us even via a shock therapy like the Covid. We have to lend our ears to his voice that beckons us to ever grow in Simplicity, Sensitivity, Solidarity and thus, in Spirituality. 

- Jerry Rosario, SJ

14th April 2020

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Passion Week - 2020 Anticipated and Advanced

             Even a month ago, none of us would have ever imagined that the so-called mighty humanity across the globe would get itself infected with this threatening and terrifying obsession of Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19). All have woken up, and that too, all of a sudden. Even those that does include me, who earlier pooh-poohed this apprehension cum anxiety, stand now much challenged.

          Consequently, we are called upon, in a demanding way, to accept our utter frailty and acknowledge our sheer minimality. We have to confess our limitedness and littleness. Down the decades, we have begun to applaud ourselves that we have all the solutions for all the problems. Now, we know we are indeed small, both individually and collectively..!

         Somehow sub-consciously, we have begun assessing ourselves ‘big’ with all our academic and analytical advancements, scientific and technological promotions.     
Suddenly, we find ourselves knocked out..!

           This Lenten Season of 2020 will be remembered, for years to come, for its peculiar uniqueness: getting its obligatory Eucharists and Sacraments cancelled; getting its Lenten schedules and services dismissed; getting all engagements and appointments postponed. Vatican has already announced the negation of the Holy Week- ceremonies in public. So too, in many other Churches,  communities and countries.

           Who would have thought of this sort of scenario even on the Ash Wednesday when we stepped into this season? We all are caught. No escape now. In other words, the Good Friday has come to be ahead of time, this year.
        
           As widely reported in the media, hundreds of millions worldwide are learning to adjust themselves to once-in-a-generation measures to battle this COVID pandemic that is not only killing the vulnerable but also threatening prolonged economic misery. Life is changing, as of now, in 164 nations while coping this crisis. This sickening and saddening situation is going to be the case for over six months, as per some conservative estimate.

         The God of history will certainly have ‘something’ to convey through all this phenomenon. We have to listen to it carefully and learn it convincingly and also, live it courageously. What follows here below is just an attempt to  decipher what could be his challenging message :

01. DEPENDENCE ON THE DIVINE PROVIDENCE :

Wednesday, 26 February 2020