Letter from India

 Peace. I had a lovely opportunity to travel to Lucknow, the city of Nawabs, to be with the novices of our Delhi Region to direct a retreat for them. I enjoyed their company during their spiritual journey. Loyola Sadan, the Jesuit novitiate is built amidst a lush green garden, which has variety of fruit trees: mangoes, amroodh, plantain, chikku, and papaya. Onions, and lahsoon are cultivated in abundance in the garden. Good grass is grown for buffalos in the farm. Green fields and a few villages ring the Loyola campus. It is a beautiful rural setup. Here, five men are doing their novitiate training. I focused on the mission aspect of our Jesuit vocation in the retreat. The Jesuit vocation is deeply rooted in Inigo's experience of being called to mission, to be with Christ at La Storta. The Spiritual Exercises teach the larger context of the mission: the Father, Son and the Spirit looking, observing the circuit of the world and compassionately deciding to mission Son to build His Kingdom on earth. It is so ennobling to be called to be Jesuit and remain in the mission. Our reflections and sharing on The Contemplation of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ which is called as the Second Principle and Foundation in the Spiritual Exercises. Helped us to renew our fundamental choice, Comigo (with me) with Christ. This renewal led us to contemplate on the mystery of incarnation. The challenge of this mystery is to empty oneself and to trust the Father who has gifted us the grace to be with His Son on mission. While these two contemplations (The Contemplation of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ and Incarnation) were on feeling level, the Meditation on Two Standards, required us to choose to be poor, humble like Christ. I found directing an Ignatian retreat is a beautiful experience. It gives one an opportunity to revisit the Ignatian heritage and treasure. It's a time to listen and see how the Spirit works in the lives of the retreatants. I felt overwhelmed at the marvellous ways in which the Spirit leads each retreatant. I learnt to be alert and appreciate the movements of God's Spirit. I deeply felt humble to live such delightful moments. The retreatants felt that contemplating the life, sufferings, and cross of Jesus graced them with strength, joy, faith, and perseverance. The resurrection was indeed increased in them hope and joy. Most importantly I was impressed by their silence during the retreat. They prayed, worked in the farm, prepared the refectory, mopped the floors, provided feed for the chicken, gave Toby and Zulu (the watch dogs in the campus) bath all in silence. I felt they grasped the importance of retreat in their lives. For me this is the second retreat I have directed. It's a graceful experience. I am looking forward to deepen my own personal life through the Sp. Ex. during tertianship; I am slated to begin in Shembaganur, a hill station near Madurai a south Indian provincial town this June. I request your prayers. With love Victor Edwin SJ

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