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 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

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

Fidelity for Success and Happiness

Recently a married couple celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. It was a vivacious and joyous occasion. Their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and all other close relatives seemed to adore them for their fidelity to each other for 60 long years! It appeared as if such fidelity for thus long period of time is a rare occurrence in this modern age. Everyone appreciates fidelity as a noble virtue, essential for health and happiness, but hard to put into practice. Fidelity requires commitment. In simple English language, Fidelity is the quality of being faithful or loyal. The word is derived from the Latin word fidēlis, meaning “faithful or loyal”. It also means adherence to a vow, promise or commitment.Life itself is an act of fidelity at various levels:   Fidelity to God, who created us, sustains us and leads us to our eternal destiny: He is always faithful to His creation, more so to us, His beloved people. He expects us to be faithful to him, in keeping his commandments and being loyal to him. In a world that is constantly changing and evolving, God is the only one who remains changeless, but always faithful. “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (I Cor. 1.9). Fidelity to one’s life partner whom God has chosen and placed alongside the person: Marriage vow is not a promise to be broken, but a covenant to be honoured until death separates them. It has its unpredictability, risk factor and incompatibilities. However, the fact that they are chosen and joined together by God makes it possible to stick together for life, in good times and bad, in plenty and want, in sickness and health. Infidelity, on the contrary, is dangerous and destructive. “Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Mk 10:9). Fidelity to one’s cause, one’s duty, one’s family, one’s chosen way of life: Such fidelity is essential for success and happiness, order and progress. Life without fidelity leads to chaos and destruction. “True happiness is not attained through self gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose,” says Helen Keller. Fidelity to oneself. This means to be true to oneself, one’s beliefs and convictions; it is the act of knowing who and what we are, and what our purpose in life is. When we make all out efforts to fulfill this purpose we experience true happiness. Knowing our weakness, we also acknowledge the power of God working in us. Says Jesus: “And you shall know the truth and the truth will make you free” (Jn 8:32)“Fidelity is the
sister of justice”.

By Fr. Joe Eruppakkatt SSP on 17-10-2011

The Power of the spoken word

God created the universe by the power of his Word.
Through the power of his words Jesus was able to heal the sick, raise the dead
and destroy the evil powers. The writer to the Letter to the Hebrews in the
Bible says: “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any
double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and
marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Heb 4:12). Great
leaders like Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. had marvellous persuasive power
to their words that their opponents surrendered to them.

            The words that we
speak have incredible potential. We are able to speak sweet words, tough words,
simple words, compassionate words, loving words, forgiving words, gracious
words, appreciating words, grateful words…. These words have the power to
build, to nourish, to strengthen, to energise, to enhance, to heal, to cleanse,
to change, to transform, to regenerate, to recreate, to raise up….

Sometimes our words also have the potential to weaken,
to tarnish, to downgrade, to insult, to discourage, to destroy and to kill. Our
bad words, angry words, dirty words, ungrateful words, intimidating words,
untruthful words, hurting words, gossiping words, uncharitable words,
unforgiving words… all these can bring unthinkable harm, not only to the
people they are spoken to, but to the whole of 
God's creation.

The words that we speak can never be taken back and they
are sure to hit their target. Often we regret having spoken something, but the
harm has already been done by that time. It is said that our words never get
lost or destroyed, but are deposited into the atmosphere around us. They fly
around and make the atmosphere good or bad, depending upon the quality of the
words. In a place where words of prayers and praise are uttered, there we feel
a type of positive energy and enthusiasm, and where negative words are spoken,
we experience negative energy enveloping our body and mind.“So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth: It shall
not return to me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall
prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Is 55:11).

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

The Virtue of Patience

Someone once made this short prayer: “Lord, give me
patience, but please hurry!”  The word
“patience” is derived from the Latin word pati, which means to suffer, to
endure, to bear. Patience is the level of endurance a person can take before
any negative reaction. It is also used to refer to the character trait of being
steadfast. Arnold H. Glasgow says: “The key to everything is patience. You get
the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.” Often in life we
encounter situations that test our patience:

– Delay in getting what we want, when we want and where we want

– Sickness, fatigue, hunger, thirst, etc.

– Conflicts, disputes, irritation, pain, temptations, bad behaviour,
bad habits, etc.

– Contempt, insults, accusations, etc.

Each of us can sit back and recount the occasions that
tested our patience. When we lose patience, the consequences can be
unmanageable and disastrous. Many serious quarrels start with impatience over
little things. That's why it is so very important to train oneself in this
virtue from young age. It is in fact the taming of our passion and is developed
through difficulties and troubles that we encounter in life. It helps us
encounter frustrations, disappointments, sickness, privations and hardships
without losing our serenity. The virtue of patience gives a person greater
advantage over others in every situation, as Thomas Jefferson says:
“Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain
always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.”“Be patient with all. See that no one returns evil for evil;
rather, always seek what is good for each other and for all”
(1Thessalonians 5:14-15)

By Fr. Joe Eruppakkatt SSP on 03-10-2011

The Power of Positive Attitude

Recently I was in a video conference with a team
regarding the launch of an online newspaper as part of a social network
site.  Initially most of the team members
approached the idea with scepticism. Why should there be another online
newspaper? Can we compete with the already existing giants in the field? Will
people patronise it? But there was one person, the founder of the network site,
who displayed tremendous optimism and confidence in the idea. His remarkably
strong positive attitude changed everyone's outlook and soon the entire team was
convinced that the idea will work and that it was the need of the hour.
Everyone agreed that there was no going back on the project. That's the power
of positive thinking.

Positive thinking is an important ingredient for
success. Any successful person in any field would tell you that, among other
things, his/her positive frame of mind contributed to reaching his/her present
status. Positive attitude is directly linked to optimism, self confidence and
success. Winston Churchill had said: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every
opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” An optimist
sees the invisible, tries the unreachable and achieves the impossible. It has
its contagious effect as one person's positive thinking affects others and
helps them change their pessimism into optimism, defeatism into success,
impossible into possible. It's an essential staple for the success of any

People with a positive attitude always get many good
friends around them as they generate positive energy, instil confidence and
help achieve success and happiness. Negativism, on the contrary, creates
negative moods, unhappiness, frustration, failure, disappointment and
loneliness. Says Willie Nelson: “Once you replace negative thoughts with
positive ones, you will start having positive results”.

It is important that we clear our minds of all
pessimistic, defeatist and negative ideas and thoughts and pump in positive
ones in their place. The difference between success and failure can be a fine
line and that is often determined by our positive or negative thinking, as W.
Clement Stone says: “There is little difference in people, but that little
difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big
difference is whether it is positive or negative.”

By Fr. Joe Eruppakkatt SSP on 19-09-2011