[{"ID":4514,"post_title":"How can I be Gentle and Meek?","Authorname":"Rev.Fr. K.M. Jose SDB","Sources":"Circular Sep 2022","lead_para":"Most of our institutions are multi-faceted and we are faced with multitasking as well. This can make us hyperactive and tensed in our daily activities. As important as our mission may be, our students, staff, and members of our own community will believe us to be authentic Salesians only if they feel that those around them are easily approachable because they radiate gentleness, joy, and authentic concern for others! When you have to make arrangements, settle quarrels, or win others to your views, take care to be as mild as possible.","post_content":"You will accomplish more, and conquer more readily, by yielding and humbling yourself, than by harshness and disputation. It is a matter of great importance to make our conversation agreeable. To do so it is necessary to appear humble, patient, respectful, cordial, yielding in all lawful things and to all. Above all, we must avoid contradicting the opinion of anyone, unless there should be an evident necessity for it. In that case, it should be done with all possible mildness, and with the greatest tact, without outraging the feelings of the other person. In this way contests will be avoided which produce only bitterness, and which ordinarily spring rather from attachment to our own opinion, than from love for truth.\r\n\r\nIn the Introduction to a Devout Life, the Saint gives advice on how to correct others. He stresses that gentleness, that is reason unaccompanied by passion, is the most effective because passion can tyrannize but reason accompanied by gentleness is much more effective: \u201cBy nature the reasonable soul is subject to reason and therefore it is never subject to passion except through tyranny.\u201d St. Dionysius said, \u201cThe man who would correct others must first take care that anger does not stir up rebellion, sedition, and confusion within ourselves\u201d.<\/strong> In correcting others, Saint Dionysius realizes that there is always the danger of becoming angry. However, we have to make sure that this anger is a just anger and does not create chaos within us so that we exceed the bounds of reason. St. Francis de Sales<\/strong> taught that as followers of the Gentle Saviour,<\/strong> we too are to take up the little virtues of joy, humility, meekness, patience, and simplicity so to conform ourselves to the Heart of God. It is not enough to practice great virtues. They must be performed in the spirit of love. For it is love alone which forms the basis of and gives weight and value to all good works in the sight of God. St. Vincent de Paul used to say, \u201cAt times a single word is sufficient to cool a person who is burning with anger; and, on the other hand, a single word may be capable of desolating a soul, and infusing into it a bitterness which may be most hurtful\u201d. St. Bernard said, \u201cThere are some characters which appear very gentle as long as everything goes well with them; but at the touch of any adversity or contradiction, they are immediately enkindled, and begin to throw forth smoke like a volcano. Such as these may be called burning coals hidden under ashes. This is not the meekness which Our Lord aimed to teach, that He might make us like Himself. We ought to be like lilies among thorns, which, though they come from amid such sharp points, do not cease to be smooth and pliable\u201d.\r\n\r\nPRACTICAL TIPS TO BE GENTLE<\/strong>\r\n\r\n1. Be kind and gentle with YOURSELF!<\/strong> Allow yourself to be moulded by the Divine Master and to change over time. The Lord Jesus, meek and humble of heart, wants each one of us to imitators of his meekness and humbleness.\r\n2. Everyone<\/strong> must be treated with respect, prudence and evangelical simplicity. Be kind and gentle with ALL<\/strong>. Remember, everyone is on the same journey!\r\n3. Always wear a serene countenance and be calm,<\/strong> no matter how tense the situation may be.\r\n4. It is important to give proof of amiability. This is why Don Bosco used to say, it is not enough to love, but to make yourselves loved and to make sure that the boys know they are loved!\r\n5. The man who, looks up to God alone, in whom he trusts, makes trust as the foundation of all he does. Hence, let us often, in practice, ask our Lord for the virtues of gentleness and meekness united to humility of heart.<\/strong>\r\n\r\nCONCLUSION\r\n\r\nSt. Bernard said, \u201cAs without faith it is impossible to please God, so without gentleness it is impossible to please men and to govern them well\u201d.<\/strong> St. Francis de Sales says that meekness and mildness of heart is a virtue rarer than chastity, and yet it is more excellent than that and all other virtues, for it is the end of charity, which, as St. Bernard says, is in its perfection when we are not only patient, but also kind. It is necessary, however, to have a great esteem for this virtue, and to use every effort to acquire it. Far from being weak, the meek possess an inner strength to restrain anger and discouragement in the midst of adversity.<\/strong> The beatitude of meekness is not only a gracefilled power, but a very elevated manifestation of that power. The real POWER of meekness lies in its capacity to diffuse anger.<\/strong> Meekness is particularly meritorious when practiced toward those who make us suffer;<\/strong> only then can it come from God and take us back to Him.","thumbnail":"https:\/\/www.donboscochennai.org\/wp-content\/uploads\/2022\/09\/cir3.jpg"},{"ID":4512,"post_title":"Don Bosco and the Gentle Saint","Authorname":"Rev.Fr. K.M. Jose SDB","Sources":"Circular Sep 2022","lead_para":"When St. John Bosco began his ministry among young people, he chose St. Francis de Sales, who was Bishop of Geneva almost two centuries\r\nbefore Don Bosco lived, as his model. What impressed Don Bosco about St. Francis de Sales was his unbounded kindness and gentleness toward everyone he encountered.","post_content":"Truly, St. Francis de Sales sought to model himself after Jesus, meek and humble of heart. Don Bosco believed that in working with young people, one must develop these same qualities that St. Francis de Sales did. The situation of young people in 19th century Turin was fraught with abuse, immorality,\r\nbreakdown of family structures, and government structures that were amid change. Many of the young people coming into Turin or having to live within this quickly industrializing city found themselves the victims of human trafficking, lack of education, lack of good role models, and an even greater lack of faith. To get them to hope again, Don Bosco saw the gentleness and kindness of St. Francis de Sales as the roadmap to success.<\/strong> It was not easy! To gain the trust of these young people required Don Bosco and his collaborators to show herculean patience, indefatigable gentleness, and the charity of Christ, which knows no limit.\r\n\r\nThe Saints on Gentleness and Meekness<\/strong>\r\n\r\nGentleness is hard to define because it involves lots of other qualities like compassion, wisdom, patience, humility, love, and respect and so on. Webster\u2019s Collegiate dictionary uses many words to describe the word \u201cgentle\u201d: honourable, distinguished, kind, amiable, docile, free from harshness or violence, soft, delicate, moderate and so on. \u201cTake care to practice well the humble meekness that you owe to everybody, for it is the Virtue of virtues which our Lord greatly recommended to us.\u201d (St. Francis de Sales) Do not wish to be anything else other than what you are; and try perfectly to be just that.<\/strong> \"Nothing is so strong as gentleness - nothing so loving and gentle as strength\", says Francis. Gentleness is not weakness. Gentleness flows from inner strength and peace.<\/strong> To be gentle\r\nis often seen as being weak, mild, submissive, subservient, lacking courage, ineffective, passive, etc. If that is so, who wants to be gentle?!!! Such gentleness is not seen as a virtue.\r\n\r\n3 St. Francis de Sales himself often encountered those who were rude and disrespectful to him. Although his personality was such that he could be boiling on the inside, his external demeanour exuded charity and meekness. Usually, the person who was upset with him would leave a friend, amazed at how gently he had been treated. According to his experience, the best remedy against anger is to practice gentleness every day and to put one\u2019s heart on guard<\/strong>: If we\u2019re able to recognize our anger with calmness and gentleness, we\u2019ll be much more apt to control it and not let it explode. \u201cAt the first sign of anger, collect yourself gently and seriously, not hastily or with impetuosity,\u201d writes the author of Introduction to the Devout Life. Gentleness includes true humility that does not consider itself too good or too exalted for humble tasks. Gentleness results from my experience of God's Love for me as I am.<\/strong> When I am sure of God's acceptance and Love, I can afford to be gentle because when God himself considers me worthwhile, there is no further need to assert myself or compete with others and prove my worth.\r\nThe certainty of God's love for me frees me from self-concern and self-absorption. I can afford to be gentle.\r\n\r\nSt. Vincent Ferrer<\/strong> was never seen angry, whatever insult or injury he received. The same may be said of St. Vincent de Paul<\/strong>. He was much inclined to anger, as he himself admitted to a friend, saying that, he allowed himself to be conquered more than once by his disposition to melancholy and to fits of fury. But having seen that God called him to live in community, and that in such a state he would have to deal with people of every variety of nature and disposition, he had recourse to God, and earnestly prayed Him to change his harsh and unyielding temper into gentleness and benignity; and then he began with a firm purpose to repress those ebullitions of nature. By prayer and effort combined<\/strong>, he succeeded in making such a change that he seemed no longer to feel any temptations to anger, and his nature was so altered that it became a source of benevolence, serenity of countenance and sweetness of manner, which won for him the affection of all who shared his acquaintance. As a rule, he received all those who went to his house with pleasant words, full of respect and esteem, by which he showed his regard for them and his affection in seeing them. This he did with all, with the poor as well as those of high rank, adapting himself always to the position of each. St. Francis Xavier treated everyone with great mildness and kindness, which drew to him all----both small and great, won the hearts of all and induced all to do what he wished. St. Francis Borgia, St. Paula, St. Jane Frances de Chantal, St. John Berchmans<\/strong>, were all Saints who knew how to be gentle and meek. St. Mary Magdalen de' Pazzi was never known to assail or oppress anyone.","thumbnail":"https:\/\/www.donboscochennai.org\/wp-content\/uploads\/2022\/09\/cir2.jpg"},{"ID":4509,"post_title":"GENTLENESS: A GENTLEMAN\u2019S VIRTUE!","Authorname":"Rev.Fr. K.M. Jose SDB","Sources":"Circular Sep 2022","lead_para":"Dear Confreres,\r\n\r\nWe are in the month of September, when we fondly remember and celebrate the Nativity of Our Mother Mary on 8th September. The Church has celebrated Mary\u2019s birth since at least the sixth century. Scripture does not give an account of Mary\u2019s birth. However, the apocryphal Protoevangelium of James fills in the gap. This work has no historical value, but it does reflect the development of Christian piety.","post_content":"According to this account, Anna and Joachim are infertile but pray for a child. They receive the promise of a child who will advance God\u2019s plan of salvation for the world. Such a story, like many biblical counterparts, stresses the special presence of God in Mary\u2019s life from the beginning. Saint Augustine connects Mary\u2019s birth with Jesus\u2019 saving work. He tells the Earth to rejoice and shine forth in the light of her birth. \u201cShe is the flower of the field from whom bloomed the precious Lily of the Valley. Through her birth, the nature inherited from our first parents is changed.\u201d The Opening Prayer at Mass speaks of the birth of Mary\u2019s Son as the \u201cDawn of our Salvation\u201d, and asks for an increase of peace in our world and in our hearts.\r\n\r\nPeace is possible only when we are gentle and meek. This year in which the whole Church celebrated the 400th anniversary of the death of St. Francis de Sales, I thought of not only reflecting with you on the \u201cGentleness and Meekness\u201d of this Saint, which we have all certainly heard about, but to also see, how we can be\u00a0 mitators of these two qualities which is very much needed, not just in today\u2019s society, but in our own personal lives as well. \"Learn from me, I am meek and humble of heart\" (Matthew 11:29)<\/strong> are at the very heart of the Spirituality of St. Francis de Sales, because they make our hearts beat in rhythm with the heart of Jesus. Throughout all of his writings, in his life and teaching, the Saint emphasized and reemphasized the two virtues of humility and gentleness. They were for him the two virtues that make us most closely resemble and live Jesus. He firmly believed that: \u201cOur Lord based his whole teaching on these words.\u201d<\/strong> His well-known saying, \u201chumility perfects us with respect to God and gentleness with regard to our neighbour\u201d reveals the interrelatedness of these virtues and their great importance. Francis not only taught gentleness and worked arduously and ceaselessly to instil it in others, he lived it to an extraordinary degree. As he said himself, it took him 20 years to conquer his quick temper, but no one ever suspected he had such a problem, so overflowing with good nature and kindness was his usual manner of acting. His perennial meekness and sunny disposition won for him the title of \u201cGentleman Saint.\u201d\r\n\r\nBiblical Understanding of Gentleness and Meekness <\/strong>\r\n\r\nScriptures give us many examples of God being gentle with his people, restraining his strength for the weak\u2026tending his flock like a shepherd: gathering the lambs in his arms, carrying them close to his heart, gently leading them that are young (Isaiah 40:10-11).<\/strong>\r\n\r\nBy patience a ruler can be persuaded and a gentle tongue can break a bone. (Proverbs 25:15).<\/strong> \u201cBlessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth\u201d (Matthew 5:5) <\/strong>Clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (Colossians 3:12).<\/strong> As Apostles of Christ, we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her children (Thessalonians 2:5-7).<\/strong>\r\n\r\nGentleness is not weakness or cowardice. Gentleness is not passiveness or inactivity. When you think of gentleness you might think of a gentle animal, one that\u2019s tame and placid and easily led. Biblical gentleness is not about being tame, compliant or docile. It\u2019s not about weakness, cowardice, or inactivity. Gentleness is strength. Unlike the movies where problems are solved with guns and ammunitions, we are challenged to be patient, gentle, kind and considerate in solving our problems. Gentleness is strength, but strength under control, disciplined strength, \u201crestrained strength\u201d. It is choosing not to use violence or power or force or weapons or any other means to bring others under control. It is strength that brings harmony. Gentleness is strength, but disciplined strength for the\r\nbenefit of others, for the good of the family, community and society. It is concern for others, especially the weak and the vulnerable. It is putting our agenda on hold to meet the needs of others. Gentleness calls forth self-discipline, self-restraint, self-control, other-centeredness and real humility!","thumbnail":"https:\/\/www.donboscochennai.org\/wp-content\/uploads\/2022\/09\/cir1.jpg"},{"ID":4469,"post_title":"Our Personal Capacity-Building mindset","Authorname":"Rev.Fr. K.M. Jose SDB","Sources":"Circular Aug 2022","lead_para":"We all have, during the long yet memorable years of our Salesian formation, received in abundance, a lot of spiritual as well as pastoral resources.","post_content":"All of this will unfortunately go untapped unless we develop a capacity building mindset. A mindset is our way of thinking, a mental attitude or frame of mind. A mindset is our collection of thoughts and beliefs that shape our thought-habits. And your thought-habits affect how we think, what we feel, and what we do. Our mindset impacts how we make sense of the world, our religious vocation and how we make sense of ourselves.\r\n\r\nPractical Hints of Capacity Development for the Community Mission<\/strong>\r\n\r\nWhen our capacity to give is expanded so is our capacity to receive. However, our capacity to receive will again depend on our capacity to give! The more we give, the more we will be able to receive! In relating with our staff members, lay collaborators and even with our beneficiaries, let us make conscious effort to develop the capacity for:\r\n\r\n1. Showing Tolerance and Acceptance\r\n2. Showing Appreciation and Gratitude\r\n3. Showing Forgiveness and Reconciliation\r\n4. Sharing Hospitality\r\n5. Practicing Humility\r\n\r\nSince the \u2018lay\u2019 factor is quite sturdy in all our institutions, be it in the school or college, parish or nonformal setting, we are also responsible for the capacity building of our lay collaborators. Therefore, the Salesian community or the Management must ensure that sufficient opportunity is offered to them not only for upgradation in their respective fields but also to enhance their understanding and more creative participation in the mission. May I suggest that regular seminars, conferences, workshops, and personal follow up will achieve these goals:\r\n\r\n1. Methodological quality assessment of the individual\u2019s participation in the given responsibility.\r\n2. Promoting personal as well as inter-personal well-being through pedagogy.\r\n3. Collaborative and Network mentality in the workplace.\r\n4. Digital competence in this fast-changing academic and social scenario.\r\n5. Understanding role clarity.\r\n6. Capacity building is not just about ability or capability, but also about responsibility.\r\n\r\nIt is also good to remember that firstly, the actual strategies for building capacity need to be specified and implemented accordingly. As capacity building is a process, the outcome results may vary in intensity and also in duration. Secondly, because capacity building tends to be an evolving process, different measures may be\r\nrequired at different stages of the capacity building process. And finally, capacity may develop in areas other than that which was originally anticipated! Thus, additional measures of capacity building may need to be developed as the process evolves. Finally, for us religious, capacity development for the community mission also means:\r\n\r\na) To come out of our comfort zone in order to make others more comfortable.\r\nb) To broaden our capacity by believing something you previously thought impossible.\r\nc) To believe in God like Abraham who left what was familiar and held onto the promises of God.\r\nd) To trust in God like Noah who had never seen the rain but obeyed and built the ark.\r\ne) To hope in God like the Centurion who knew one word from Jesus would bring life\r\n\r\nNegative conversations will adversely affect our capacity for increase. We can never be motivated by those who aren\u2019t motivated. We can never share dreams with those who aren\u2019t dreamers. We can\u2019t talk about achieving our goals with those who don\u2019t have any. Notwithstanding all this, since the mission is entrusted to the community, if we desire to increase our capacity, we need to make sure that our community members are also with us.\r\n\r\nConclusion<\/strong>\r\n\r\nWhen community members are aware of the needs, beliefs, and emotions of others; when they take predilection in their interactions with them; when they are disposed to seek out and value connections with others; when they feel common bonds with them and are motivated to maintain them \u2013 those personal qualities \u2013 call them spiritual assets \u2013 are likely to facilitate capacity building for the community mission.\r\n\r\nHowever, it is good to remember that while Jesus encouraged the disciples to do the right thing, in the end, he had to do the right thing alone! Eventually, of course, except one, all the others followed him faithfully till the end. Jesus did not allow the disappointment of the situation to keep him from what he needed to do. Sometimes, we must move beyond our hurt feelings and push through to take the higher ground. He asked us to be imitators of his grace, love and wisdom, and he never asks us to do something that he isn\u2019t going to give us the power to fulfil through his grace.","thumbnail":"https:\/\/www.donboscochennai.org\/wp-content\/uploads\/2022\/08\/Screenshot_3.jpg"},{"ID":4467,"post_title":"Capacity building and the Biblical connection","Authorname":"Rev.Fr. K.M. Jose SDB","Sources":"Circular Aug 2022","lead_para":"To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability.\r\n(Matthew 25:15) ","post_content":"Capacity is the ability Christ gives each one of us to carry out His commands. And capacity varies from person to person. It becomes a problem when I compare my capacity with someone of greater capacity. Indeed, capacity\r\nis meant to provide guardrails, not guilt. So how can we use capacity to our advantage instead of our disadvantage? How can we understand our limitations and trust the Lord with the results? It starts by being honest about how God has made us. If we can only execute one project with excellence, then we limit ourselves to only that one. Personal honesty about our capacity is what gives us the ability to do more. Therefore, monitor your capacity in prayer before Jesus. Ask Him for courage to say no to something new so you can say yes to current obligations. Thus, you can increase your intellectual, emotional, and relational capacity, notwithstanding the fact that this will certainly take time, focus,\r\nand discipline.\r\n\r\nCapacity building is also important at work, in the community and in relationships. Yes, indeed! As you remain faithful with small responsibilities, the Lord and others can trust you with additional tasks. When you manage a small amount of money on a budget, you can be trusted with more resources to steward well. When you treat one individual with a full complement of grace and truth, you build relational capacity for more quality friendships.\r\n\r\nThe Lord has unlimited capacity for empathy, wisdom, and character. So go to Him for your capacity building. Does your heart have the same capacity for humility as your mind does for truth? So, build capacity around Christ\u2019s gifts to you. \u201cWe do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the field God has assigned to us, a field that reaches even to you\u201d (2 Corinthians 10:12\u201313).\r\n\r\nJesus and His Team<\/strong>\r\n\r\nIt is not enough that one or two individuals in the community are talented or entrusted with the mission while the others do only the minimum. Each one must be able to give their utmost in whatever sector is entrusted to them. Capacity building is successful only if there is team work and Jesus knew the importance of teamwork. In building a team of twelve Apostles, he made working together to build the Kingdom of God an essential element of the Christian faith,\r\nand a delicate but fundamental task of every consecrated religious.\r\n\r\nSo too must we foster a sense of belonging, community, and purpose. In order to empower his apostles, Jesus spent three years educating them so that they could utilize the knowledge resources that he had provided to them. In doing so, Jesus nurtured them for their mission of enlightenment. If Jesus had sent them out too early the disciples would have been doomed to failure. What does the Bible say about building a team? We read in 1 Corinthians 12:14 that the Body of Christ,\r\nor the people that are the whole of humanity, are a team. The body is not supported by one person, but by all of us. We are one, we are strongest working together in unity. Teamwork is the key to living life in harmony, so that we can do God's will. 1 Corinthians 14:33 tells us that our God is a God of peace and not of disorder. Being organized will bring calmness and peace into our families. Luke 14:28- 30 discusses the process for taking on a project, showing that we must first know what we have and what we need to complete a project.\r\n\r\nOur Spiritual Capacity<\/strong>\r\n\r\nThe term \u201cspiritual capacity\u201d describes the degree to which you understand who you are and what you want most. Building\r\nyour spiritual capacity is a journey of self-discovery; it means taking time to understand your motivations and what makes you happy. It's daunting work, but it's extremely important. Spirituality improves inner working capacity. Individuals who are spiritual are often at peace with themselves. Some who struggle internally may have a more difficult time concentrating on work, engaging with others and handling stressful situations. Spirituality can enhance performance by helping individuals feel a sense of calm and stability in their lives.\r\n\r\nDon Bosco and Capacity Building<\/strong>\r\n\r\nWe are all aware of Don Bosco\u2019s humble beginnings. Working in borrowed premises, he provided boys with education, religious instruction, and recreation; eventually he headed a large establishment containing a grammar school, a technical school, and a church, all built through his efforts. He also achieved a local reputation as a popular preacher. Don Bosco taught that educators should act like caring parents; always be gentle and prudent; allow for the thoughtlessness of youth; be alert for hidden motives; speak kindly; give timely advice; and 'correct often'. Alongside love, Don Bosco stressed the importance of reason and religion. St. John Bosco was an exceptional educator. His acute intelligence, common sense and profound spirituality led him to create a system of education that develops the whole person - body, heart, mind and spirit. It enhances growth and freedom while putting the child at the centre of the whole educational enterprise. Of course, all this was not as easy as we read here! He did have to face numerous challenges. Many poor families lived in the slums of the city and had come from the countryside in search of a better life. In visiting the prisons, Don Bosco was disturbed to see so many boys from 12 to 18 years of age. He was determined to find a means to prevent them from ending up here. This is how the Salesian mission commenced.\r\n\r\nThe Salesian\u2019s mission is making the Salesian school\/college\/hostel\/boarding\/oratory\/youth centre\/formation house, a home where young people are welcome, a school where they learn important life lessons, a parish where they gather to\r\ngrow in faith, and a playground where friendships are built. Hence, the Salesian community\u2019s mission is a congenial, friendly and holistic approach to education. It creates a climate that \u2018draws forth\u2019 the best in the child, that encourages the child\u2019s complete and fullest self-expression, that assists young people in acquiring habits that will lead them to opt in favour of what is good, healthy, joyful and life-enhancing.","thumbnail":"https:\/\/www.donboscochennai.org\/wp-content\/uploads\/2022\/08\/Screenshot_2.jpg"}]