Thursday, October 21, 2010

Jubilee & 10 Lepers!

Sharing by Shibu Devasia a Singapore JY

Dear Family,

I am not the odd one out, if I try to relate all the inspirations & insights with Jubilee, during this year. This thought has been in the pipeline for about couple of week's. Unlike me those who closely hear the gospel, can recall last to last Sunday's gospel reading, it was an ever inspiring gospel of 10 leper's. The reason, the gospel still rings a bell in my head was that I had to frame this mail.
              The scene of me sitting & hearing the priest, do still persist in my mind, more so the gospel theme & how closely we can relate to it. Not because we all were 'lepers', but frankly speaking we were not better than 'one' either, before Jesus & the movement came in my life - the pain of being not 'accepted' & not being one of the 'normal' is quite comparable to a feeling  a 'leper' may have. Though the physical pain in no way comparable, but the emotional pain is somewhat similar and when our LORD heals us we do owe him a lot.
            Today when most of us look back, we may agree that the life we live has been a blessing & what we are today might just be a dream if we had not come close to Jesus through the movement. Today if we have a stable job, its simply because of HIM, never in my life I could have imagined a job that I have now, more interesting is the 'least' of the effort that I have put to get one, its all pre-planned by the one above.
              Today if our talent is show casted through the way we think, or the way we write or the way we speak/sing or the way we deal with people is simply because we learnt from the movement through its various initiatives.
              Today, if we can voice our say pretty articulately, with precision & added flavor of creativity then no denying fact that we have learnt that from our various stages of involvement in the movement.
              I would even say, to correctly discern our vocation & to lead a healthy family life was in a way taught by the movement & still it continues...
              End of the day, if I look back all the mess that was in my life or the wounds as a 'leper' that persisted has been healed by Jesus & mostly these blessing have come through the movement. The gift of a liberal thinking, gift of loving others, gift of good job, gift of a good family, gift of good friends & many more has been freely given to us by the real 'gifter' but in most of the case it didn't fall 'directly' from heaven but I guess through the movement.
               So, sometime I wonder, can any of these 'gifts' has the real 'gravity' or the reasoning to hold back any of the Jesus youth around the globe from not attending Jubilee? Attending it is our simple way of giving thanks to the Lord for what we are today! and the least one can do as a gratitude & acknowledgment for the unlimited grace & blessings that we reap each day & will continue to reap till our death. 

May we as the lone wise 'leper' rejoice & come to the Lord this Jubilee.

Shibbs & fly

Thursday, October 14, 2010

An young historian's take on Jesus Youth

Recently Manoj Sunny began his letter with the question, "What is the difference between JY and other movements?" Interestingly, this is the exact theme I planned to write on. Hopefully I will take it an interesting new direction. It's important for us to realize that Jesus Youth is not simply "another charismatic movement" but, as are all true Church movements, it is a movement with a very specific spirituality, given to us by the Holy Spirit at the time of its founding. As the Jubilee Conference draws near, an excellent way to prepare is to get in touch with this very spirituality.

The core of the Jesus Youth spirituality, is, of course, the six pillars. Prayer, Word of God, Sacramental Life. These three deal with the personal spirituality of Jesus Youth, the interior life, the action in contemplation. One of the defining traits of Jesus Youth is their personal responsibility for their spirituality. Prayer, Bible reading, Mass, Confession, are not something utilized if conveniently available, but rather are actively pursued.

Fellowship, Evangelization, Option for the Poor. These are how we express that personal spirituality; they are the exterior life, the contemplation in action. These external actions will only be as effective as our own personal spirituality. It can be argued that these pillars all build on each other: Prayer fuels Word of God, which helps us appreciate the Sacraments; these three are necessary for Fellowship, which helps in our Evangelization, which draws a variety of people to us so we can create a better Option for the Poor.

Besides these six pillars, there are several other very specific charisms of the movement. Within the movement, our spirituality is expressed through community life, with guidance from elders, pastors, and other youth. This community life often takes place in and around JY families. This life always has the focus of a pathway to holiness, answering the universal call to holiness proclaimed by Vatican II, genuinely seeking to form saints. But perhaps more than anything else, Jesus Youth has been blessed with absolute fidelity to the teachings and Majesterium of the Catholic Church. This is our anchor; this is what keeps us from going astray, as others before us unfortunately have.

Perhaps this fidelity to the Church is what the movement was blessed with first, as Jesus Youth is a remarkable reflection of the entire universal Church. The six pillars are literally a perfect balance of interior and external spirituality. We could dare to say that the six pillars sum up all Jesus recommended to us and commanded us to do, yet without necessarily emphasizing any one aspect over the other. We also find in our expression of this spirituality similarities to the apostolic church recorded in Acts: reliance on the Holy Spirit, missionary trips, following up these trips through various means of communication, and of course, a lay community life filled with prayer, trust, and teaching. Finally, there is a constant link to the Majesterium and especially Vatican II; indeed, I have already quoted from VII documents twice in this letter.

It is this very universality of Jesus Youth that draws people in across all cultures, states of life, and rites of the church. Jesus Youth has spread as far and wide as it has, reaching the hearts of so many people, laity, priests, and religious alike, because perfectly responds to the call of the Church, doing so with our own distinctive charisms: joy; a focus on fellowship/communion and relationships; and total willingness to sacrifice for the cause.

Even right now, we can see the intimate link between Jesus Youth and the heart of the Church. Seeming to almost prefigure our Jubilee Conference, a special meeting of the Synod of Bishops on the Church in the Middle East is being held right now from October 10-24. The theme of the Synod? "Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul" (Acts 4:32), a verse which has always reminded me immediately of Jesus Youth. In his inaugural homily for the Synod, Pope Benedict XVI said:

"Without communion there can be no witness: the life of communion is truly the great witness. Jesus said it clearly: “It is by your love for one another, that everyone will recognize you as my disciples” (Jn 13:35). This communion is the same life of God which is communicated in the Holy Spirit, through Jesus Christ. It is thus a gift, not something which we ourselves must build through our own efforts. And it is precisely because of this that it calls upon our freedom and waits for our response: communion always requires conversion, just as a gift is better if it is welcomed and utilized."

Do we not see a clear reflection of the Jesus Youth lifestyle in the Pope's words? And this is something being addressed to the entire Synod of Bishops!

So please allow yourself to experience the Jubilee grace this year; please do not allow any worldly anxieties, difficulties, or sorrows get in your way. This is the best opportunity you'll have for 25 years to truly experience the universality of Jesus Youth: as if the prospects of meeting Jesus Youth from 25 countries and counting wasn't exciting enough, Cardinal Ryklo (attending the Synod of Bishops as we speak!) and many other archibishops, bishops, priests, and religious are also attending. Please come to the Jubilee and truly experience the universal grace of Jesus Youth.

See you at Rajagiri!

God Bless!
From Bangalore,
Richie Dow, JYA (NJ)
Birthday Boy

About Richie - He is an young dynamic Jesus Youth from New Jersey(USA). Currently in India to help Jubilee mobilization and volunteer for Jubilee Conference. He is currently pursuing his bachelors in Chinese History.

Rhea Shares

Rhea an young thirteen year old sharing her 'Chalo Jharkhand' mission experience in her own words.

These few days of Chalo are very remarkable days of my life. In Bangalore when we had the retreat, I learnt a lot of things. During the classes taken about purification the best thing I liked was that ''If you sin, God will not punish you because God loves you so much, but when you sin, it is you who try to hide your sin and that punishes yourself '', so in other words it is you who punish yourself when you sin.

Then I had a very good experience during Adoration and not only that it was for the first time that I could be a part of the Holy Mass when it was celebrated in the train. And also, I learnt a lot of things in these 20 days, I understood how difficult it is to live in the villages and so I feel that I am so lucky to have so many good facilities and I feel that I am living in paradise, I also feel that I saw the world now.

 I understood that Prayer is so powerful and that our God is so merciful. But still there were some sufferings during this mission but I had actually expected more sufferings. Speaking about the people of Jharkhand I feel that they are so great, especially the people of the villages, when we went to stay in the villages they gave us everything they had, they treated us like their own family members, they were so caring and loving and the best thing I liked was that- when we went to their homes they greeted us saying ''Jai yeshu''. Then I also liked the Jharkhand style of welcoming people, it shows that they are so humble.

Then speaking about the program most of the classes were so different and inspiring. And the games, the team work, and the home visiting were all very enriching. I will never forget all these things in my life. Then speaking about the participants, all of them were so friendly and nice, on the first day when I saw all of them together I never thought that I could be friends with all of them because all of them were older than me but later on I saw that they came and spoke to me and i felt so happy because of their friendliness.

Then when all of us went to the ''Missionaries of Charity'', I really felt that I am so lucky. Then speaking about the Leaders they were so caring, loving and helping. And overall speaking about the whole program it was very, very good and I got to know more about Jesus and about the world in which I am living. I understood that I am so lucky and I got to know about the lifestyle of others and now I am so happy to be a part of this program and I also feel that in these 20 days I have learnt more things than these 14 years of mine.

Thank you  & God Bless 
Rhea Mathew 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Time for beginning another Exodus

Time for beginning another Exodus
we should not allow any of our brothers and sisters to miss this time of Grace
Manoj Sunny (General Convener Jubilee Conference)

What is the difference between JY and other movements? This is one of the questions I used to ask myself whenever I came in contact with other movements. There are many differences, but one that has always inspired me is the purpose and motivation of every Jesus Youth. In many other groups, I find that people go in order to receive something in their life – especially in the form of blessings. But in our groups, people come in order to give themselves to do His will. People are willing to set apart many things; to lose many things in their life in order to follow Him. Some may start this journey for blessings; but soon they understand that JY is all about losing and giving. However, all of us know that our Lord will never stand at the receiving end – He will give it back to us a thousand fold – in His time.
I am quoting from one of the recent mails from Shelton sent to the Rexband:
“Joji Babu, earlier KYCT coordinator, was sharing something important in a recent Jubilee meeting from a scriptural perspective. It made me rethink my approach to the Jubilee. He was talking about Moses and how he approached Pharaoh to let the Israelites go to Israel to celebrate jubilee. At first, the Pharaoh said that all the men could go. But Moses was not satisfied. Then the Pharaoh allowed the families to go. But Moses was not satisfied until the families, with all their children, cattle and possessions left the bondage of Egypt to celebrate Jubilee. Then Joji Babu was talking about his difficulties of how he is arranging to travel with his entire family in spite of the classes of children etc. He was speaking about bondage of our own ambitions and physical and financial limitations that keep us locked in our world - safely far away from the Jubilee, from the congregation, the blessings and the call for the next level of ministries in our lives.
In a sense, it shook me a bit, because in spite of all the buzz about Jubilee, I have also in the back of the mind, thought about it as an important 'JY programme' for which I will need to take leave. Now I am slowly beginning to realize that the Jubilee is for each one of us, like the Israelites, an opportunity to let go of what we are constantly clinging on and direct our journey into the land and mission that God is leading us.
Besides, for each one of us, Jesus Youth has been our Exodus out of the 'Egypts' that we could have gone in our earlier days. We chose to seek God's will not because of our good sense, but because God spoke through our friends in the movement, because of our prayer experiences in the movement and the mission of the Church that we discovered here. So for us the Jubilee is our way of saying 'Jesus, above everything, I value what you have done in my life'. And taking great trouble to come together with our families children, our possessions and our joy is such a beautiful gesture of gratitude.
So, let us encourage and support each other to take the trouble to make this journey. In the Jubilee meeting, I was hearing stories of how pregnant women who deliver in November are planning to travel from abroad with their one month old babies so that the new generation will begin their life with the joy of the Jubilee. So wherever you go and wherever you meet Jesus Youth, please remember to share the Jubilee Story and ask them to leave things behind and start the journey - not individually, but with the entire family. It is not easy. Like the Israelites, someone like Moses will have to intercede for us so that our chains are taken away. And like Moses, it is perhaps the call of each one of us to choose families in the JY and start praying for them so that they might make the journey together”
The Jubilee conference is all about giving oneself and losing many things in our lives; money, time etc. At one point of time in our lives, we all set out on an ‘Exodus’, blindly trusting Him. He has blessed us with more than we want, more than we deserve. I have a fear that many of us are busy taking care of these blessings. Jubilee is the time for beginning another Exodus; to take up a new mission according to the promptings of the Spirit. The entire JY family is going to listen to Him. We strongly believe this is going to be much more than a programme. If we are going to take this as another conference, there is no need for all these struggles. But if we are coming here to share, listen and recommit ourselves to begin a new journey, we should not allow any of our brothers and sisters to miss this time of Grace.
Happy Jubilee.