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Fr. Joe Eruppakkatt SSP

Fr. Joe Eruppakkatt SSP is a Catholic priest of the Society of St Paul. He has been engaged in media activities for several years as General Editor of ST PAULS Mumbai. He believes in God's gift of beauty and goodness in every human being, in nature and in every religious tradition, and shares his views and opinions with others.

The Spider Mark

A Tibetan story tells of a meditation student who, while meditating in his room, believed he saw a spider descending in front of him. Each day the menacing creature returned, growing larger and larger each time. So frightened was the student, that he went to his teacher to report his dilemma. He said he planned to place a knife in his lap during meditation, so when the spider appeared he would kill it. The teacher advised him against this plan. Instead, he suggested, bring a piece of chalk to meditation, and when the spider
appeared, mark an “X” on its belly. Then report back.

The student returned to his meditation. When the spider again appeared, he resisted the urge to attack it, and instead did just what the master suggested. When he later reported back to the master, the teacher told him to lift up his shirt and look at his own belly. There was the “X”.

By Fr. Joe Eruppakkatt SSP on 18-11-2017

Gratitude is the Best Attitude

Nobel Peace Prize winning writer and social worker Albert Schweitzer wrote: “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep “gratitude” of those who have lighted the flame within us”. Gratitude is one of the fundamental traits of being human. All what we are and what we
own are gifts and blessings from God. The air that sustains us, the water that refreshes us, the food that nourishes us, the shelter that protects us, the sun that shines over us, the rain that enlivens us – all these are but God’s
blessings. Our life itself has its origin and end in God Almighty.
And so it is to Him that we owe our gratitude first. In the story of healing ten lepers, Jesus asked the question: “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” (Lk 17:17-18).We need the help, support and encouragement of our parents, siblings, teachers, mentors, leaders, soldiers, doctors, nurses, friends and even unknown persons for our survival and growth in this world. Can we ever forget to thank them for their role and influence in our lives?
Henry Ward Beecher says: “Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.” Thanksgiving Day, as a harvest festival, is celebrated in many cultures and countries around the world.  Family members and friends get together to enjoy the bounty of the harvest and thank God for all the gifts and blessings. However we need not wait for a 'Thanksgiving Day' to thank God and our benefactors. If one has a grateful heart, it expresses itself in gratitude every day, every moment.“For each new morning with its light,For rest and shelter of the night,For health and food, for love and friends, For everything Thy goodness sends”.- Ralph Waldo Emerson.

By Fr. Joe Eruppakkatt SSP on 28-10-2017

Work at chance.com

A jobless man applied for the position of the ‘office boy’ at Microsoft. The HR manager interviewed him and said, “You are appointed,” and asked for his E-mail ID. The man replied,”But I don’t have a computer, neither an
E-mail.I’m sorry”, said the HR manager, “If you don’t have an E-mail, that means you do not exist. And the person, who doesn’t exist, cannot have the job.”
The man left with no hope at all. With only $10 in his pocket, he did not know what to do. He then decided to go to the supermarket and buy a ten pounds tomato crate. He sold the tomatoes in a door to door round. In less than two hours, he succeeded to double his capital. He repeated the operation three times, and returned home with $60. The man realized that he can survive this way, and continued the tomato business every day. His money kept on doubling and shortly, he bought a cart, then a truck, then he had his own fleet of delivery vehicles.
The man slowly became one of the biggest food retailers in the US. Then, to secure his family’s future, he decided to have a life insurance. He called an insurance broker, and chose a protection plan. At the end of the conversation, the broker asked for his E-mail. The man replied, “I don’t have an Email”. The broker asked curiously,”You don’t have an E-mail? Yet you have succeeded to build such an empire. Can you imagine what you could have been if you had an E-mail?
The man thought for a while and replied, “Yes, I’d be an office boy at Microsoft!” (We have withheld the real
names).

By Fr. Joe Eruppakkatt SSP on 16-10-2017

Spirit of Sharing

One evening when the sun was setting in the horizon, I noticed a rare occurrence outside the windows of my room. Two black crows flew into one of the branches of a Neem tree that stood tall. One of the crows carried a piece of flesh and it began eating it while the other crow sat watching. After sometime the crow that was eating the meat stopped, looked around for a while and then passed the remaining piece to the one that was sitting and watching! The second one took it and started eating while the other sat watching.

The incident would seem simple and insignificant to an ordinary onlooker. But a more curious observer could draw a lesson or two from the behaviors of those birds – lessons in harmony, spirit of sharing, patience, peaceful coexistence and concern and care for one another. One notice that there was no quarrelling over the piece of flesh, no animal instinct at work, no snatching away and no restlessness on the part of either of them. If we learn to care and share, be patient and trust in the goodness of the other like those birds, our world would be much better than what it is today.

Yet, what we see around us is precisely the opposite: impatience, mistrust, selfishness, greed, quarrelling, fighting, wasting and destruction of the natural resources. There is so much hunger, poverty and famine in the world. The solution to these could be found on the branches of that Neem tree.

By Fr. Joe Eruppakkatt SSP on 02-10-2017

The Vision of an Unknown Netizen

One of the most important lessons you can learn on your road to success is that failure is not a final destination, but rather a place you pass through on your way to achieving your goals. Remember these points:
1. There is only one road to Success City

2. The road to Success City passes through Failureville

3. People are so afraid of driving through Failureville and they never begin their journey. So what does this mean in the real world?

It means that failure is not the opposite of success as many people assume; on the contrary, failure is an important part of achieving success. In fact, it is usually through the process of trying and failing that we learn the lessons we need, in
order to ultimately achieve our goals in life.

My favourite  quote regarding the relationship between failure and success comes from the legendary basketball player Michael Jordan:  “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to
take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.”
When you understand the fact that success lies on the other side of failure you will be much better prepared for the journey that leads to achieving your most important life goals.

By Fr. Joe Eruppakkatt SSP on 14-09-2017

Inner Strength

A ruthless Chinese general in Tibet would mercilessly kill all the Buddhist monks and destroy their places of worship. All the monks would flee when they heard he was coming. One day he arrived at the gates of a well-known monastery.  The general was pleased to hear that all the monks had fled. However, an officer reported to him that in the inner courtyard
there remained one solitary monk. He strode off into the cloister and went right up to the monk who was sitting there peacefully and meditating. “Don’t you know who I am?” shouted the general. “Without blinking an eye, I can run you right through with my sword”. The monk gently, but firmly responded: “Don’t you know who I am? Without blinking an eye, I can let you run me through with that sword”.
Nothing, not even the fiercest sword, can frighten us or destroy our inner peace if we discover and recognize the presence of God in us. Our inner strength comes not from the swords and guns, but from the power of God who resides in us. We can withstand and endure the persecutions of any sort if we trust in Him who is the source of life.

By Fr. Joe Eruppakkatt SSP on 29-08-2017

It’s You

One day when all the employees reached the office, they saw a big notice on the door in which it was written: “Yesterday the person who has been hindering your growth in this company passed away. We invite you to join the funeral in the room that has been prepared in the gym”. In the beginning, they all got sad for the death of one of their colleagues, but after a while they started getting curious to know who was that man who hindered the growth of his colleagues and the company itself.

The excitement in the gym was such that security agents were ordered to control the crowd within the room. The more people reached the coffin, the more the excitement heated up. Everyone thought: “Who is this
guy who was hindering my progress? Well, at least he died!” One by one the thrilled employees got closer to the coffin, and when they looked inside it they suddenly became speechless. They stood nearby the coffin, shocked and in silence, as if someone had touched the deepest part of their soul.

There was a mirror inside the coffin: everyone who looked inside it could see himself.

There was also a sign next to the mirror that said: “There is only one person who is capable of hindering your growth in this company: it is YOU.”

By Fr. Joe Eruppakkatt SSP on 16-08-2017

Suicide – The Common Killer

Suicide has become a common killer today. Reports suggest that nearly 1 million people worldwide commit suicide each year. And
those who attempt to commit suicide number anywhere from 10 million to 20 million annually. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for people 10-24 years of age. Suicide is the process of purposely ending one’s own life. In some societies suicide attempt is considered a crime. However, in most cultures and religious traditions, killing oneself is considered negative, immoral and
even sinful. It also brings far reaching repercussions and untold grief, guilt and shame to the immediate family and friends of the one who killed himself/herself.

People today develop suicidal tendency, as they identify themselves with a materialistic society where success is measured in terms of recognition, wealth and power. When these are threatened or denied, they lose meaning for life. Real or imagined losses can trigger suicidal thoughts, especially among the youngsters. Break up of a relationship, loss of a friend or a family member, some mental illness, extreme disillusionment with oneself for some failure in life, monetary losses, poverty, etc., can lead a person to taking his/her life. Human mind is a delicate faculty and it does not need much to lose its balance, especially if it is not trained to be strong and happy. However, most cases of suicide are preventable by taking effective precautionary measures. Those who undergo stress and emotional struggles due to failures and losses as well as those with mental illness need strong support system. They need to have someone like a trusted friend, a parent, a sibling, a counsellor, a spiritual advisor to talk to and share their
concerns. If they show some warning symptoms, it is important to prescribe professional treatment.

The best and most effective preventive system for suicide is a happy and united family. This, of course, is not to deny the
suicide incidents among people who live with strong family ties. It is possible that even while living in an intact family, one can lose hope and meaning for life. However today there is no better system in existence than a family that shares, supports, encourages and prays together. It is in and through family that children learn the values of life, faith in God, spiritual practices and hope for life which are essential for a happy life.

God is the author of life. He alone has the right to take life away in the manner and time he decides. Through belief in God we
understand that life is precious and it is worth living.

Suicide is an act of self centeredness. Taking away one’s life is in a way running away from others and showing disregard for their
feelings and needs. Conversely, to be other-centred, to be sensitive and helpful to others and to be involved in the affairs and problems of the society are sure insulations against suicidal tendencies.

A person with good habits such as wholesome reading, sports and personal prayer are less likely to harbour suicidal thoughts ever in life. “The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be
greater than our suffering.” Ben Okri, Nigerian Writer.

By Fr. Joe Eruppakkatt SSP on 05-07-2017

The Death of a Man

A great warrior did not return from the hunt. His family finally gave him up for dead. His youngest child but each day would ask, “Where is my father? Where is my father?”

The child’s older brothers, who were magicians, finally went forth to find him. They came upon his broken spear and a pile of bones. The first son assembled the bones into a skeleton; the second son put flesh upon the bones; the third son breathed life into the flesh.

The warrior arose and walked into the village where there was great celebration. He said,

“I will give a fine gift to the one who has brought me back to life.”

Each one of his sons cried out, “Give it to me, for I have done the most.”

“I will give the gift to my youngest child,” said the warrior.

“For it is this child, who saved my life. A man is never truly dead until he is forgotten!”

By Fr. Joe Eruppakkatt SSP on 20-06-2017

Saying Goodbye

“Goodbyes are not forever; Goodbyes are not the end; they simply
mean I'll miss you, Until we meet again!” (Author Unknown)

Saying goodbye to those whom we love is one of the
hardest things to do. That’s why someone rightly asked: “Why does it take only
a minute to say hello and forever to say goodbye?”  We meet people in order to part one day, and
sometimes we part in order to meet again. But what if the people who have somehow
become part of our lives never cross our path in this life again? Flavia Weedn
says: “Some people come into our lives and quickly go, some stay for a while,
leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same.”  Thus when we bid goodbye, we are at a loss to
explain how much those people meant to us and how much we are going to miss
them. The real treasures we posses in this life are the people who have come
into our lives and made some difference to us by showering us with their
genuine love and helping us grow. George Eliot says: “Only in the agony of
parting do we look into the depths of love.”

Monday Musings came to you through Indian Thoughts’ Share
& Learn uninterrupted for more than two years now. With this issue of
Monday Musings, I am taking a break from sharing my thoughts through Monday
Musings. Many of you have been constantly encouraging me with your comments and
suggestions. This exercise also has made me grow in many ways, and I came to
know many people through this great programme called Share & Learn. Thanks
to Indian Thoughts and to all of you, my readers. I hope to come back to you
with another form of sharing in future, if God wills. I am also bidding goodbye
to one of the greatest cities of the world, London, and its people, as I am
given a transfer back to another great city, Mumbai, which always remains
closest to my heart. God bless you all.

“May the road rise up to
meet you, may the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your
face and the rain fall softly on your fields. And until we meet again, may God
hold you in the hollow of his hand.” (An Irish
Blessing).

By Fr. Joe Eruppakkatt SSP on 24-10-2011