Being Studious and Conscientious

English Mass with Grade XI Canisius College, Jakarta

on the Memorial of St. Claude de la Colombiere – Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Introduction

Claude la Colombiere, was born at Saint-Symphorien-d’Ozon, Dauphine, southeastern France in 1641. He entered the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in 1659. Later he went to the College of Clermont in Paris for his theological studies. In 1675 he made the solemn profession of his final vows and was immediately made rector of the Jesuit College at Paray-le-Monial. During this year, Claude met Sister Margaret Mary Alacoque. She had been the recipient of visions of Jesus’ Heart but was plagued by anguish and uncertainty. She was waiting for the Lord to send her a “faithful servant and perfect friend” to help her carry out her mission: of revealing to the world the unfathomable riches of Christ’s love. Margaret Mary at once opened her inner experiences to Claude and he assured her that he accepted them as being genuine. He told her to put them in writing and promised her every support in the mission she was being given. Claude had only been a year and half in Paray, when in 1676 he was transferred to London. He had been appointed preacher to the Duchess of York, Mary of Modena, who was a Catholic and would later be queen. It was a difficult and delicate assignment in a predominantly Protestant England. Even in the Court Claude lived the life of a religious. On 15 February 1682, Claude suffered the severe haemorrhage which ended his life.

Homily

Once I read a funny status update on one of my fellow students’ bbm. It was written as: studying equals study plus dying. The status reflected her tiredness to school and to being studious. However, as one of the student who studied in a Jesuit’s college, she had a false understanding to the college life.

Being a member of a college, students have been accompanied both by their teachers and peers student to notice and pursue their own goals to live their life. Therefore, the school community should help students to be able choosing their own options. By this objective, every student will live their college life as one of the joyous and unforgettable moments of their life. Reflect more deeply, we should make distinction between things we desire and things we have been tempted. In daily routine, it is easy for us to lose our focus in life and be attracted to things that not important for life. Similarly, very often we busied ourselves with many things we wanted and could not be able sharing our times with other people.

In the gospel, St. Mark, the writer of the gospel, gives us his reflection about being conscientious and awareness of our own life. The story of Jesus who cured a blind man in Bethsaida actually a kind of makeup story which served to make us known that understanding does not instantly shape to one’s mind. It begins with a process of knowing and requires openness of one’s heart to the subject or matters. At the end, it will lead us to what we call as truth. During the process, God’s graces always available and follow us in order to make us arrive to the real truth. To make this grace bears fruit, we should have an open mind and heart also wills to what was going on. Many times in reality, we have no patience to get along with the process to gain truth. We do not open our heart and mind to many possibilities available. We became narrow-minded and believe that things should work and serve ours rather than we serve them. Conversation will stop and demands to provide ours will be rise. On that moment, we have losing our capability to aware and conscientious.

Close to this reflection, St. James speaks about men’s integrity that his belief should appear on his action. In our experiences, many times students boasted that they really proud to be a part of the Canisius College. Yet, they were acting as if they did not. Faint and mellow appearances will make you look like you were burdened and if you felt did; you should noticed maybe this school did not fit you. Here as Canisians, we are trained to be conscientious leaders and as this kind of leader, you were train to be able to make your own decision which also reflecting your openness to the common good. This will bring you to some hardship and struggles since some values and virtues will challenge your own values. The question then, are we going to take this challenge and by this also means we are open ourselves to values of common good and virtues or are we choosing to stay close to our comfort zone and let everything be entertaining and relaxing for our own good?

I will conclude this sermon by remembering you that you have been educated and formed not only to academicals outstanding, but also to gain a well-built characteristic. And like Goethe said about conducting a good characteristic, that talents are best nurtured in solitude, but character is best formed in the stormy billows of the world. We have been driven to reach every goals in our life not by an easy life, but by struggle and hardship which giving us a real understanding what is real living.

We ask grace of our Lord Jesus Christ helps us to stand firm and do not run from any hardship that come from life, and by doing so we are gaining our peace and joy as human being which optimistically believe we still can change this world to a better life. AMDG. 

The Hero Within You

English Mass for X Graders of Canisius College, Jakarta

Wednesday, November 16, 2011 – Memorial of Sts. Rochus Gonzales, Alonso Rodriguez and John Del Castillo; Priests & Martyrs of South America

Introductory

We should be glad and feel joyous since today we are able celebrating our first english mass for this semester. It is a bold move and I really appreciate that you were responding to this offer positively. It is also a good moment for us to reflect and prays, since we are remembering some Jesuit’s priests who had been acknowledged as martyrs and saints of South America. They are: Sts. Rochus Gonzales, Alonso Rodriguez and John Del Castillo. They came to South America, mostly to Brazil as missionaries, but they ended up their life as martyrs in returned to their life witnesses to gospel by raising the life qualities of the natives. Let us pause for a moment, to come to our personal reflection and prayers as we begin our thanksgiving to our Lord through this mass.

Homily

Most people really like hearing stories of heroes and great people. You can check yourself to this idea. Recently there are lots of superhero movies were made and most of them able to reach box offices or gaining millions of money from the tickets they sold. It reflected that most people enjoy stories of people who can safe others’ life. I think it also reflect our own desire to help others or becoming hero ourselves. But for one who wants to become a hero, they should know that to be a hero is not only live their life to help others. They are great because they life their lives as they believed it.

Today, at least we can reflect to three great stories of heroism. First, we heard from the first reading, the stories of the maccabees. They were people who had keep their faith against people who liked them to give up from it and believed that their act of faith till the end of their life worth for the life itself as if martyrdom gave meanings both to death and life. It shows what it is meant that men’s life will glorify the Lord.

In the second story, we heard from Gospel that Jesus told a parable of servants who act differently according to their will against their master’s request. It is their will that made them produce differently. The story give us understandings that heroism does not build only by strengths and physical action, but also by inner freedom to act according our belief and wills.

We can take a look from the Jesuit’s martyrs we remembered today as the third story. They were as human as we are, but greatness come to their life since they were doing what they believe and follow its will. Heroes do not live for themselves, they look for what have happened surrounds them.

Therefore, we should begin to look around and learn what our surroundings need. Heroism were not a talent or just a gift, it is a call and that call have been addressed to each one of us. It is us who should respond, either we are like to accept it or we just refuse it and become like ordinary people did. However, this kind of act of choosing has its rewards too. Even in the parable Jesus mentioned it very clearly: “whoever has will be given more, but the one who has not will lose (even) the little he has.” It means to whom is able to accept their responsibilities and other’s burdens, in return will gain many experiences which were not belong to those who are refuse it. In so doing, I think heroism is about a willingness to accept our life as it meant to be. To life to its fullest and being happy with its nature. Let us ask grace to have courages to accept our own greatness and heroism as we are a hero for ourselves.


 

The Prayer of Fr. Rupert Mayer SJ

Lord, let happen whatever you will;
and as you will, so will I walk;
help me only to know your will!

Lord, whenever you will, then is the time; today and always

Lord, whatever you will, I wish to accept, and whatever you will for me is gain; enough that I belong to you.

Lord, because you will it, it is right;
and because you will it, I have courage.
My heart rests safely in your hands!

Returning home …

Today I decided to visit my “old house”. This page had never been updated since three years ago (December 2007). I wonder that I really was so busy with my study. … ? or maybe, I was distracted to have other things to express. Facebook seems have a better option. It’s easy and instantly I can post anything from anywhere. However, … I rarely posted anything either.

That’s weird. Last Saturday, I met my superior and he has something that make me return to my previous reflection about my life. Therefore, today I think I should return and visiting my old house. there is something here that make me felt I was meeting God here. Something I should take a look deeper. It is a something more …

Memories of Xavier – Miracle that will not fade away

Reflection on the Feast of St. Francis Xavier

Monday,  December 03rd, 2007

Celebrating the feast of St. Francis Xavier today, remind me of a place that I spent for two years for my regency. I spent two great years with people full of spirit and enthusiasm who lived together in one community, namely Xavier High School Community. What unique about Xavier is: people who lived there came from different backgrounds. Most teachers and staff who joined the community as volunteers are coming from different countries. Averagely they are young people since they just graduate from colleges, even there are high school graduates. Similarly the students of Xavier also are coming from different islands of Micronesia. Despite of their differences, the community lived together in a tight bind like a family. 

While I was there, I often thought about this situation. I asked myself: what was it that made us attach between one another so strongly? I found out that most people who left Xavier still miss that place so much, either they are alumnae or ex-teachers. Once I reflected to different motivation that drove them to Xavier. Most of the volunteers come to Xavier, especially the American youngsters who join the Jesuit Volunteer Service, do not choose the place by their own. They come with a motivation to do good things for other people. They simply want to be “men and women for others”. Contrary with their teachers, the students eagerly come to Xavier since they know that is the best place to have education on the region. To come to Xavier means to have opportunities to get higher-level of education. It means they can have a better life. Most leaders of the Micronesian countries are Xavier alumnae. However, even with different motivation, both students and teachers are having same challenges to come to Xavier. They should leave their common, secure and stable condition, and move out to insecurity. They leave their family and friends, change to make new relationship with new people that they do not know, even people that they find have different languages to communicate. There are so many things new to adjust, and there are also risks to be failed to adapt with them.       

I notice from my reflection that God provides miracles to Xavierites, that’s how we called ourselves, instead of disaster because although we are coming with different backgrounds, we have a same spirit. We are coming to Xavier to make a better world. Kids learn a lot from their teachers how they try to give their best while teaching. Their spirit give witness to the students about what it is mean to life and to share it with others.

This reflection makes me believe Xavier is a blessing to everyone who ever experienced it. It reflects the spirit that moved the Saint himself and become a witness to the region of the works of God’s providence. Francis Xavier was an up-and-coming professor at the University of Paris when Ignatius met him. He had the whole world in front of him when Ignatius posed Jesus’ radical question to him, “What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” (Mt. 16:26) The question became a turning point for him. He was gradually turned from fine scholar to dedicated saint and spent his life in bringing Christ to the Far East.

I conclude my reflection today by inviting you to learn from the Saint that we celebrate today. Let God open us to a spirit of availability. Let he give us courage to hear and respond his calling in our everyday life. Let us not prevent our selves from risks and challenges that we may face as long as we are honest to our conscience that what we are doing only for the greater glory of God. Amen.      

Learned more about Xavier High School of Micronesia: www.xaviermicronesia.org    

Dedicated to people from Mabuchi Hill, Chuuk, Micronesia.

PS: to Xavierites, Happy Xavier Day! I miss you all so much …   

I’m Not There (2007): Re-interpreting Dylan

I’m Not There is an unconventional journey into the life and times of Bob Dylan. Six actors portray Dylan as a series of shifting personae – from the public to the private to the fantastical – weaving together a rich and colourful portrait of this ever-elusive American icon.  

(taken from I’m Not There – the official website, as a tagline)

I’m Not There is a biographical film reflecting the life of musician Bob Dylan. It depicts the iconic singer-songwriter through seven distinct stages of his life by using six different actors (Marcus Carl Franklin, Ben Whishaw, Heath Ledger, Christian Bale, Richard Gere, and Cate Blanchett). It was co-written and directed by Todd Haynes.

The film has received a lot of press for telling its story using rather non-traditional techniques, much like the poetic narrative style utilized in Dylan’s songwriting. “The film is going to be inspired by Dylan’s music and his ability to re-create and re-imagine himself time and time again,” according to key producer, Christine Vachon.

The title I’m Not There is a reference to the Dylan outtake recorded during The Basement Tapes (Sessions). It was not included in the studio album The Basement Tapes and, for years, could only be found on the CD bootleg set The Genuine Basement Tapes and the later remastered version (still considered a bootleg) of that set A Tree With Roots. I’m Not There is one of the most famous and highly regarded outtakes, not just of the Basement Tapes, but of Dylan’s whole career. It was never officially released until it appeared on the film’s official soundtrack album.

The production began filming in late July 2006 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It premiered at the 34th Telluride Film Festival on August 31st and won the Grand Jury Prize and Best Actress honors for Blanchett at the 64th Venice Film Festival. It opened in theaters in Italy on September 7, 2007. It was also part of the Toronto International Film Festival and played on September 14, 2007.

The film opened in limited release in the United States on November 21, 2007. 

If you’re looking for an autobiographical film which tells a true life story or sort of this kind, you should not watch this movie. This one is unique, like one review that I read at IMDB. It is a “A film biography that’s complex, like its subject” (by Chris Knipp, 03 Nov 2007). It is complex since it really represent Dylan’s characters which for some may disturbed or felt uneasy by his statement and his music. Therefore, you may find that I’m Not There potrays six characters who resembled Dylan’s characters in different times. However, at the same time, by looking to these people, you may find they can be separated as different people who independently stood as themselves. Not one of them name as Dylan, or Robert Zimmerman, his real name. Their names, status and proffesions are varied. Their stories collide and entwine, adding up to an experience that is as fascinating and inexhaustible as listening to “Blood on the Tracks” or “The Basement Tapes.” 

Devotees of Dylan lore will find their heads swimming with footnotes, as they track Haynes’s allusions not only to Dylan’s own music but also to the extensive secondary literature it has inspired, from books by David Hajdu and Greil Marcus to films, including D. A. Pennebaker’s 1967 documentary, “Don’t Look Back,” some of which Haynes remakes shot for shot. And if you don’t understand or know Dylan at all, you may find this movie a puzzle and complex story which let you leave the theater with headaches. But, … with those mixture that Haynes just made to his film, maybe some of you may enjoyed it as a good movie, which is smart, outspoken and leave you to think a lot about what you had seen in it.

I’m not good at making a film critic, but I just read one that I think you should conssidered to read: ‘I’m Not There:’ The multiple faces of Bob Dylan, reinvented, written by A.O. Scott, who also made a good review for Sean Penn’s Into the Wild. The Article was published on November 22, 2007 at International Heral Tribune, culture column.  

by the way, … there is an interesting article from a “not-so-late” archive at Tablet which related to: how catholics should see and consider Dylan with his outspoken words and musics. The article was written by Bill McGarvey, with title: “Don’t think twice, he’s all right” (The Tablet – 17 March 2007). Read it … it’s good, McGarvey told us that Dylan actually proclaimed the same concern with the Church who see the world in “The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age … these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts.” (Gaudium et Spes)

also check these links:

official website

I’m Not There at IMDB

for more information about Bob Dylan:

Bob Dylan at Wikipedia

the official website of Bob Dylan at Columbia Records

Love will decide

Reflection for Monday Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time – 19 November 2007

Readings: 1Mc 1: 10-15, 41-43, 54-57, 62-63; Ps 119; Lk. 18:35-43

Nothing is more practical than finding God,

that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way,

what you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.

It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning,

what do you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends,

what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart,

and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.

 

Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.  

(Pedro Arrupe)

Certainly we agree that to life is to make choices. As human beings, we are surrounded by a large numbers of options. We have to make decision from things that very simple, like: a colour for your clothes, foods that you like to eat, books or movies that you want to read and watch; to things that very complicated or serious which will effect your entire life, like option to ask your love one to marry, or work harder and harder in order to pursue the career you wanted.  

            As we notice from the examples that I gave you, we know that we cannot grab all choices that we want. Very often when we decide something we have to give up other things as a return. Sometimes it is really easy to find what to choose since we know for sure about things that fit ourselves, but in some critical options, we do not have an easy task to decide since we often confused about what best that we have to choose. They require more from us. At the crossroad, we find pressures and domination from others, which brought us to tension and conflicts within our souls and our selves. Seldom we also have to face risks and dangers which ask ourselves to sacrifice our own life.

The reading from the Maccabees that we hear today does not only describe the struggle that the Jewish should faced during the most heroic times of their history, but also it reflect struggle that we, Christian have to face in order to be a true disciple of Christ. At that time, the Jewish people was divided by hellenization, which brought there along with Greek domination over Palestine. Some were willing to adapt to even adopt certain Greek costums, while others resisted. History made us knew who were made true choices. The sacrifice from those who refused to follow the Greek culture had known to be heroes of their faith and holy covenant. They chose God’s rather than obeyed to Greek rulers. However, if we put ourselves to those times, I think that we might agreed the choices they had were not as clear as we heard today from the reading.

These days, we faced the same problems like the Maccabees. There are people out there that were not really sure when they had to choose between God and wealth. Very often the choices that we have were not as easy as we learned from schools. Corruptions, business manipulations, law malpractices, political games, and false prophecies in religion are only some examples which illustrate the world we live today is a very confusing world.

            Still, we must make choices. But, the way we chose certainly does not as same as the world had chose. In the Gospel, we find an example. The blind beggar exactly knew whom he should follow. He ask Jesus what he wanted and he knew from that moment his request also require option that he willing to take, to follow him to Jerusalem. One thing that made him followed Jesus, he just falling in love at once to the Lord.

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