ധ്രുവദീപ്തി : Christianity- Chavara A Saintly Person //
Loving Words of a Founding Father
to his Community:
A Commentary on his Testament.
to his Community:
A Commentary on his Testament.
The word testament is used chiefly in the phrase " Last will and testament"a written document providing for the disposition of all that belong to oneself after death. Some aspect of covenant is also implied here, for it is an agreement made by two or more persons or parties to uphold and effectively discharge all that is stipulated in the testament.
The latest revised text of the Constitutions of the CMI Congregation published on March 19, 2014 incorporates, in accordance with the resolution of the General Synaxis 36(2008), the following testament as epilogue with the title Testament of Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara to his Brethren. It is regarded as his authentic statement on the way his brethren should live in the congregation.
1. Submission to God's will:
Dear Children, by the special grace of God, we have been called to be members of the congregation, dear to the Mother of God. This has been so, because willed it so and notbecause man planned it thus. I am sure of this as I am sure of this being paper. The founders of theis congregation, Rev. Fathers, Thomas Palackal and Thomas Porukara, had sought and arranged for this being Dominican order. That is why we stared unprecedentedly wearing the the white cassock and took other steps. But our blessed Mother, seeing our frailty took us into her special love. But so far, neither you nor I have become true monks. The sign of a monk is complete surrender of self and practice of obedience, as if he had no eyes or ears. If one has that, he is true religious. Realizing this make strenuous effort to practice it, for we must offer ourselves to obey in all things our superiors, thus practicing the virtue of obedience to perfection. Don't be discouraged. Although in the begining, you may find it difficult and against your inclinations and tendencies, after sometime you will find it good and you will begin to feel that this is the right attitude. Beside you will also enjoy great peace of mind. We owe the same obedience to the other Sub-Superiors and finally to one another. He who practices perfect obedience in all these spheres will enjoy heavenly peace in this monastery itself(Vol.4,70, 71, English edition,1990).
2- Mutual love and Concern :
My dear brethren, let the Vicars of each of our monasteries foster real charity amoung themselves and maintain a true bond. However numorous the monasteries are, all must be like the members of one family, children born to, nursed and brought up by the same mother. Never let this love weakens, but let it grow stronger from day to day. Bear this in mind as an important piece of advice.,in order that this love may not weaken. Let the vicars of the monasteries vie with one another and show greater interest in meeting the needs and request coming from the other monasteris rather than those of one's own. When you assemble periodically to discuss different matters, settle your mutual financial account till that date. Lest this love weaken in course of time, let the vicars of the monasteries, though not compelled by necessity or circomstances,exchange letters amoung themselves communicating the good news here and enquiring about the needs of other others and render any help that might be required (vol. 4, 100).
3- Not man-made:
a Beloved brother, this congregation of ours is not man-make. You are witness to the truth that God has nurtured it with genuine care and helped it to grow. Persecution by men or discourgements from them cannot destroy it. But one thing can cause its distraction. It happens if we forget our holy vocation and neglect the sacred duties of our state and fail in humility, charity, religious modesty and genuine devotion and are satisfied with valuing them only in spirit and not in deeds(vol- 4, 90).
Seeing that a lot of good has not been done due to the absence of Thapasa Bhavanam (House of Discipline) in Kerala even for the priest, it was desired by all means to start a Darsana Veedu (House of Vision) at least for priests.(vol-1,1).
5-Purpose of our call:
Jesus Christ, the Divine Master has called you to follow his footsteps, by purchasing your soul and the souls of your brethren with His precious blood, to save you from sin and make you an instrument of salvation for othres; and make virtuous and through you to make other virtuous, thus to unite you all with him.
6- Model of the first Christian Community:
As there exited a deep spiritual brotherhood among us and because we wanted to have fellowship also in the things of the body similar to the spiritual fellowship, we decided to put together all our material earnings and the fruits thereof belonging to us, following the example showed by St. Peter in the beginning as a replica and foundation stone (Vol.1, 208).
7- Spiritual Reading and Mystical Union:
I wish that all of you listen to and learn this little advice. The straight way to the summit of perfection and the means not to tumble down from the hight is simply this: avoid wasting your time in useless conversation. The time you save after your proper work and recreation should be spent in spiritual reading. It nourishes a religious with love and enables him to enjoy solitude and when a soul delights in solitude, Jesus Christ will come to converse with it. At first you will not understand the language. Then it is the Lord himself who will lead you to the wine -celler and pour out some wine for you- a little at first. In the course of time you will begin to understand the language. When your spouse sees that you understand his speech, he will speak more and more distinctly and show you the magnitude of His love. Then the bride will love him more and the bridegroom will rejoice over it and adorn her with ornaments. Thus commences the divine union. Consider how sweet the voice of your loving spouse is. He is always accompanying you wherever you are, looking for all your needs and watching whether you love him more than anything else. Then on there will be nothing to fear. This is the clear way to spiritual life and perfection ( Voll.4,116,117). //-