I went to my old parish where I was baptized and celebrated my first Mass, Holy Cross Church. It is in this parish that I did my schooling too. I was loitering around in the church and school campus. I was so happy to see the same building, ground and even the trees that brought back sweet memories to my mind. Nothing has changed in 40 years. But one thing surely has changed and that is the discipline and standard of education. Today it is more sophisticated and modern not like our days when we were ask to screw ourselves and rely on the intelligence we had and possessed. Today a lot of external help and the students have to rely on the wisdom and intelligence of the teacher and tutor. The discipline today is only a word that is being spoken of. Many of the students don’t want or appreciate it because it demands a lot from them. As I was sitting on one of those benches in the school compound, an old parishioner who recognized me immediately and whispered words of wisdom into my ears. He said that it is the same old school and a lot has changed except what you see. He went on to say that a lot has changed in the Capuchin Order which i have experience and witnessed in my younger days. He shocked me with his knowledge of the Capuchin spirituality and charism. He quoted some great names of the Indian Capuchins. As I wondered at his wisdom, he whispered again into my ears and said that the church wants Capuchins to be what they were. He requested me to communicate with the capuchins that the church and world loves the simple and humble capuchins. Remain what you are and don’t hesitate to challenge us with your simplicity, poverty and fraternity. We are all looking for it. We are all hungry to see holy and godly me. We want to see the old Franciscans who gave us faith centuries and centuries ago here in Vasai.
I believe in his words of advise that we can be guided by our true identity as Capuchins and that is our simplicity, minority and fraternity. The old people do still remember the brown habit capuchins whom they loved. Our prayers and efforts should be geared towards being humble and minor capuchins. The world and society at large is trying to be big and bigger, we can give a counter witness that being small we can move and shake the world with our life of witness. We should be small and little which will make us men of the Gospel, believing in the mercy and support of the Lord. We do understand the blessings that come on our way when we are little and small. Being minor leads us to those who are small, little, hungry, thirsty, needy and who have no name and face because they are poor. We can be brothers to these nameless and faceless people if we are aware of being minors and vulnerable. St. Francis did recognize that this reality in his life. He surrendered to God seeking his mercy and compassion. He received God’s grace and light in being humble and minor. By doing this act of being little he came out of his own world and that of his father’s world, the plans and agendas of his and his family. He totally surrendered his person, plans, views, wisdom and understanding and went beyond his own world, world of God. Being minor, he had to sacrifice many things in his life…comforts, food, popularity, friendship, and warmth of family, securities. What he did not like first, he embraced all that in his being minor. His closeness to the poor and needy was clear enough of his intention of sharing his life with them.