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67th Anniversary of the Congregation of the Rosarians


67th Anniversary of the Congregation of the Rosarians

Last time when I sent a letter, Fr. General said that I should go in person to the Ashrams and speak. I am not able to do it. Today is the 67th anniversary of our inauguration. It is good that we try to find whether we are living according to our CONTEMPLATIVE vocation.

Fr. General mentioned in his circular letter that we are the only contemplative congregation of men in the whole of Asia. If so, we cannot imitate the other religious congregations that are not contemplative.

Till today I thought that our Mother house at Tholagatty is in the possession of the Sri Lankan army is a misfortune. Even the Holy lands are not in the hands of Christians. We need not consider the loss of the motherhouse a calamity.

Another thing that often worried me is that we do not have even 200 members even after 67 years. In the Church, the contemplatives are the heart of the mystical body. The heart is very small and is completely hidden, yet it is the most vital organ in the body. So are we contemplatives, if we live our life. If the heart stops, the whole body cease functioning.

The church always holds that the contemplatives have an essential function to play in the Church. Pope John Paul II wanted by all means a contempla­tive community in the Vatican itself. We have an important a function as that of the heart. Let us take scrupulous care to see that we live according to the mind of our founder.

In today’s Gospel, it is said that Prophet Anna lived 84 years in the church praying and fasting, which is our vocation too. Woe to us if we ’do not live a life of prayer and penance.

Our constitutions is excellent, it gives us clearly how we should live. If only we live according to it, we are on the royal road to attain our end. What does our constitution say about our life? Rule 1 says that our life is a contemplative and penitential one. The next question is what is to be a contemplative? Rule 2 says that the contemplatives ‘earnestly desire to retire from the world and seek God alone’.

First of all though we are in the world, we should be dead to the world. The term ‘world’ includes everyone and everything that hinders us from ‘seeking God alone’. How to seek God alone, Rule 9 says we seek God alone in ‘silence and solitude’. If we strictly observe silence and are faithful to prayer, all the rest will follow. Rule 51 asks us to observe ‘habitual silence’. Silence is a living force. Those in authority should be a model for all the others with regard to silence and solitude. We can safely imitate our founder. He went out only once a month, for the monthly recollection of the Oblates. He never went out for business. All business affairs were done by the other members. Why not we imitate him?

In order to keep silence, we should keep the rule of solitude. According to rule 46 to be busy with God alone, we do not undertake any form of external apostolate. There are innumerable congregations of Brothers and sisters and yet it is very strange that in the parishes they want the contemplatives to distribute communion? According to rule 53, ‘we never go beyond the precincts of the Ashram or admit any outsider into the enclosure’. This is the most effective way of keeping silence.

The superiors should give the lead. They are the custodians of the rules and they should preach by their example. The rule of solitude is very important for the contemplative. The presence of the superior in the house is a source of inspiration to all. According to 182.2 ‘the superiors are bound by the law of residence and not to assume occupations that impair the effective exercise of their office’. We have a tendency to find excuses to go out when it can be avoided and many are taking too much interest in our family affairs which is great danger not only for our contemplative vocation but even to our religious vocation too.

Rule 47 demands strict fidelity to the exercise of prayer throughout the day. Most of us including the senior members who were with the founder try to find excuses to work leaving our all-important community prayer. This tendency was noted and remarked even during the time of Fr. Founder.

Rule 48 reminds us to imitate Mary the ideal contemplative. Our rule 49 calls us ‘to devote every day a prolonged period of time to mental prayer’. Rule 53 expects us ‘to love our enclosure as a means to foster the spirit of solitude and as a sign of our withdrawal from the world’. This directive is simply ignored though it is said exceptions to the above rules may be granted by the Prior General rarely and for grave reasons.

Rule 59 says that we are supposed to fast every day. That rule is ignored. Night vigil is a very important penance, which we should keep. Many are trying to eliminate it as Fr. General has remarked.

Yours lovingly in Jesus and Mary

Fr. C. Bernard CR

(Spiritual Animator)

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