GLOBALIZATION AND CAPUCHINS
Two year ago we concluded our 83rd General Chapter at Rome and the themes discussed had a scent of globalization and its effects on us as Capuchins. our Father and Founder St. Francis of Assisi who had a globalized face because he welcomed all creatures into his fraternity of brothers and sisters. Today he is a globalized saint who has been accepted by all for his openness and simplicity in relating to all as brothers and sisters. As Capuchins we are living in a globalized world and we have seen that our world is no longer the same. It is interconnected and interdependent. Globalization has changed many things in our human lives by the revolution of technology and communication. The word ‘globalization’ is a word heard in everyone’s mouth these days, but what are we to understand by ‘globalization’? ‘Globalization can be defined as the ongoing process of worldwide integration in the world of work. It is therefore primarily an economic phenomenon, but one that is extending its influence into all areas of human life, into politics, into society, into the world of science and into cultural life.
We need to look at our Capuchin vocation in such a globalized world and examine this globalized world with its positive and negative aspects. As Capuchins with our own spirituality, can we contribute to making our communities and Indian society a better place while we live in this global village?There are many positive aspects of Globalisation, it has helped to create jobs and improve income; it has provided the disadvantaged and deprived fragment of society with hope. It has accelerated social mobility; it has made it possible for members of different communities, countries, cultures and religions to meet and know one another. It has advanced communication and information technologies; communication is becoming easier and cheaper. It has assisted in the dissemination of knowledge. It has made it possible for human beings to demonstrate sympathy and compassion for the victims of natural calamities and human-made tragedies thousands of kilometres away.
There also some Negative aspects: It is largely responsible for the rapidly increasing environmental degradation. It has contributed to uneven development at the global level. In this process many important human values are neglected like the equitable distribution of food, water and electricity for the rural poor and proper sanitation for the urban poor.
Globalisation has popularised a consumer culture and the consumer becomes addicted to shopping to the point where the spiritual, moral and intellectual dimensions of his/her personality do not grow and develop, with the worth of a person being measured in terms of his/her material possessions.
As Capuchins we know that we are struggling to find a way that will help us to live in a better way our commitment in this globalized world. We need to cultivate a consciousness in ourselves through relationship to Christ and to the other. We can find examples of this in the life of St. Francis of Assisi. He developed a global consciousness through conformity to the Crucified Christ; Francis transcended the boundaries of culture and tradition and found God precisely in the other who was different from him. As Capuchins in Maharashtra, what we can offer our society today is to witness by our life and ministry to those who are affected by globalization. Eight hundred years ago, St. Francis identified with every living creature as an intimate member of his family. He was able to call all creatures, his brothers and sisters, acknowledging that all are of the same family of God.
As Franciscans Capuchins we need to look for the causes of present injustices and violence and search for solutions in view of changing the present situation. We need to remind once more ourselves of the preferential option for the poor.
As poor Capuchins we to need to develop a critical thinking with regard to the mass media and its use in our personal and communitarian life. We should resist the consumer culture and promote among ourselves and others the value of enough. As Capuchins we have a responsibility to build peace and make peace; to be mediators in conflict situations; to promote dialogue and reconciliation between opposing parties and groups. Educational institutions in our vice province need to re-orientate the educational system in our schools in view of promoting value education and a culture of peace. In and around our parishes, friaries and missions we need to create awareness among others, that respectable work and a decent salary are integral to human rights.
Our vOrder is blessed with vocations from different communities and cultures as brothers we need to appreciate and promote cultural diversity. The negative influence of globalization should not allow us to develop “Ghetto mentality” among ourselves. Most of our parishes are vibrant but we need to rethink the contents of pastoral work, catechesis, and education but should never compromise with honesty, truth, and transparency.
As you are reading this without exaggeration that many people will die of starvation. Many will die today from preventable, waterborne diseases and over the next few minutes good number of children under the age of 15 will become infected with the virus that causes AIDS. Globalization is having profound effects on everyone’s lives. It’s being formed constantly in new and deeper and wonderful ways. At the same time we have the bad news. Political instability, food insecurity, poverty and disease still plague the poorest countries in the world. Though the suffering of millions is great but globalization can motivate you, me and others to make a difference in the lives of the world’s most vulnerable people.
We capuchins, are committed to the ideals of St. Francis of Assisi and we are called to serve the poor and marginalized. Our Capuchin vision of compassion and service to others can change many things in and around us.
St. Francis and St. Clare re-imaged Religious Life and the vows: they proclaimed poverty as a privilege and as justice, chastity as tenderness and compassion, obedience as minority and humility. St. Francis gave up the world, which was secular; however, he never left society, and rather wanted to be with and in society to transform. Moreover, he wanted to offer himself for the world. He left the world behind in order to live more freely in the world. So our goal and aim in the vice province should be to promote peace, to have a preferential option for the poor and concern for creation.
We are being called to renew our missionary and Franciscan vocation, to promote the Kingdom by globalising the Kingdom of God and the Franciscan values of justice, peace and joy.