Pastoral Message
Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,
May Christ, the King and the communion of saints bless us and help us to mature in our holiness. May the Souls of faithful departed intercede for us and souls in purgatory rest in Eternal peace! In the Christian liturgical calendar, November is entirely devoted to pray for the deceased faithful. We, the members of militant Church pray for the members of Souls in Purgatory (Suffering Church), they, along with the members of Triumphant Church in Heaven pray for us. In this way we live in communion with the Saints which we profess in our Creed. Hence, this month gives us scope to renew our call to grow in holiness.
As we are going to have our Annual Retreat, I invite every one of you to pray more and more for our spiritual maturity and conformity in and with Christ. In line with the words of Teilhard de Chardin “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience,” let us try to make use of this retreat to have a strong spiritual experience which will enable us to go ahead in our pastoral ministry. Let us also spend our time to meditate upon the communion of Saints and pray for departed souls of our dear and near ones and also recall the warmth of Our Christ, the King who grants all the necessary blessings for our spiritual nourishment. Definitely, I hope this retreat will rejuvenate our priesthood.
May our hearts glorify God for the great life of Saints. The Church offers the life of saints to us as the glorious example of our faith. We should be interested in the life of saints as they are normal human beings like us who lived a life in perfect commitment to Jesus. It is much easier to relate to the life of saints or learn from them as they are like you and me who strive to follow Jesus. Saints, in general, lived a good life. Some had to struggle through their own weaknesses. St. Peter denied Christ three times before he professed his love for Christ thrice. St. Paul was persecuting Christians before he became a zealous preacher who travelled the world to proclaim the good news. It is the conversion story of the lives of saints that causes an impact on us.
“Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord; and let the perpetual light shine upon them.” It is my prayer to our departed Bishops, Priests, Religious and the people of God who worked for the betterment of our Diocese. In a special way I pray for the repose of the souls of our beloved mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters. On All Soul’s Day, we are called to remember our loved ones who died and to pray for their joyful reunion with the Lord.
Throughout our lives, we must happily say goodbye to those who go before us to their eternal rest. Though we mourn our loss, yet we seek ways to maintain their legacies by honouring them in special ways. “Death” literally means ‘separation’. When our soul separates from our body we die physically. Similarly we are even now separated from God spiritually. So what we naturally try to do is to build bridges to take us from our side (of death) to God’s side. We do this in many different ways: going to church, being spiritual, being good, helping the poor, meditation, trying to be more helpful, praying more, etc.
Soon we will begin the Season of Advent; our time for Christmas starts with the reflection upon Christ our King. When Jesus was asked by Pilate if he was a king, Jesus said that he was a king. So, what sort of King was Jesus? Jesus was born in a small, poor and unimportant village. His parents were not famous, powerful or wealthy. His first visitors were the poorest people especially shepherds. He didn’t dine with rich and powerful people. He never led an army into battle. He did ask people to take up their cross and follow him. He didn’t surround himself with politicians, soldiers or bankers.
He spent his time with the poor, the sick, the broken and all those who were in need of love, healing and compassion. Our king always prefers to be found in the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the homeless, the poor, the rejected and those in prison. We are to turn our attention to each other if we want to find Jesus. This feast asks us to draw on the presence of Christ who dwells within each other.
I am happy to express my thanks to Rev. Fr. Vincent, the Parish Priest of Gengapattu and Rev. Fr. J. Jeyaprakasam, the Director of Pious Association for organizing the Diocesan Rosary Convention in a systematic manner. May Christ the King and the communion of Saints strengthen our spirituality to mature in our faith.
Yours in Christ Jesus,
+ Most Rev. Dr. P. Soundararaju, SDB.,
Bishop of Vellore