I am immensely pleased to be able to reconnect with you after a period of seven years. Much has happened over these past years and many of you have moved on in life and advanced in your careers. That is a matter of great joy for me! As I write these few lines I am aware that, like many others, you are braving the present pandemic with its anxieties and insecurities. I often remember you in my prayers to the Almighty for your safety and well being.
“An unexamined life is not worth living”, said Socrates. The current Covid-19 situation has forced us, in a sense, to reexamine our life and its priorities. What is the purpose of this short, uncertain period that we spend on the earth? Is it to get or to give; to consume or to contribute; to move into oneself or to move out of oneself? I guess it is all these. William Blake in his poem The Little Black Boy wrote,“ And we are put on earth a little space, That we may learn to bear the beams of love.” That ‘little space’ maybe your home, your workplace or your society. We have been told ‘stay home, stay safe’ and we did. As a result, did home, that ‘little space’ become a warmer, gentler, kinder place to live? Did some ‘beams of love’ reach the neighbour next door?
Rick Warren, in his book The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? says that no one is born into this world by accident. There is a purpose, a role that each person is ordained to fulfil. He adds, “The only really happy people are those who have learned how to serve.” No wonder ‘service learning’ is highly recommended and promoted in most centres for higher education. Let serving begin at home but let it not end there. The time and season call for multiplication of kindness and compassion. As we learn to think and analyse, we ought to learn to feel and empathize. The Buddhists say sunyata-karuna-abhinnambodhicittamitismrtam (The fusion of knowledge and compassion is enlightenment). The Bhutanese teach us that happiness is the true index of progress and quality of life. Happiness happens when we learn to bear the beams of love. The Bible says, “Be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.” (1Peter 3:8) My wish and prayer for you is that your life be truly happy. Sarvebhavantusukhinah!
I take this opportunity to congratulate Ms. Priyamrita Chatterjee, the Alumni Coordinator and her team for this issue of the Alumni news. God bless you all!
Fr. Tomy Augustine, sdb