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Sr. Dr Lilly

Realms of value contains short thought provoking stories from Sr. (Dr) Lilly SJL who is presently Vice Prinicipal of Fatima College, Madurai. She has chaired many international missions and her works belong 'Geneder discrimination in Indian Societies' and 'Education and Empowerment of women'.

Planning

“When planning for a year, plant corn. When planning for a decade, plant trees. When planning for life, train and educate people.” Chinese Proverb
Planning needs vision and foresight. Only a visionary can do perfect planning which requires experience and expertise. God has designed everything in such a way that the whole   universe lives in unity and harmony. But we find imperfection in His designs because we want to customize it for our convenience. Imagine how meticulously God has planned the creation and left it for regeneration by itself.
We can only plan for non-living things and not living things. That is the difference between our planning and God’s planning. Because living things have life and life is the essence of God.  A mango tree produces mangoes of different shapes. If we were to do it we would have got the same type of products from the same machines. Planning is of vital importance when it comes to achievement of a goal. Even if one has an excellent goal, timely planning and implementation is necessary to achieve   the goal.
Appu was taking a visit in his field in the hot afternoon. After walking for sometime he got tired and thought of resting a while. He sat under a gooseberry tree looking at the pumpkin wines over the field. He said to himself: “How foolish God is! Here He outs a great heavy pumpkin on the tiny wine without strength to do anything but lie on the ground. And He puts a tiny gooseberry on huge gooseberry tree whose branches could hold the weight of a man. If I were God, I could do better than that.” Just then   a breeze came and a gooseberry fell exactly on Appu’s head. Appu rubbed his head, and suddenly became sad and wise. “Suppose,” he mulled to himself “there had been a pumpkin up there, instead of gooseberry? Never again I will try to plan the world for God.”

By Sr. Dr Lilly on 08-04-2014

Zeal

All true zeal for God is zeal also for love, mercy and goodness- R.E. Thompson
To bear up under loss; to fight the bitterness of defeat and the weakness of grief; to be victor over anger; to smile when tears are close; to resist disease and evil men and base instincts; to hate hate, and to love love; to go on when it would seem good to die; to look up with unquenchable faith in something ever more about to be — that is what any man can do, and be great. G.K. Chesterton says the contentment is real, even an active, virtue–not only affirmative but creative. It is the power of getting out of any situation all there is in it. The effective person is seen as being able to commit himself to projects, investing time and energy and being willing to take up appropriate economic, psychological and physical risks. He is seen as being able to think in different and original, that is, creative ways. Finally, able to control impulses and produce appropriate responses to frustration, hostility and ambiguity.
Fire is the chosen symbol of heaven for moral passion. God is love, God is fire. The two are one. Spirit-filled souls are ablaze for God. They love with a love that glows. They believe with a faith that kindles. They serve with a devotion that consumes. They rejoice with a joy that radiates. Love is perfected in the fire of God. The purpose of life is not to be happy-but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you lived at all. What is a plan? A plan is a method of action, procedure, or arrangement. It is a programme to be done. It is a design to carry into effect an idea, a thought, a project, or a development. Therefore, a plan is a concrete means to help you fulfil your desires.
Thomas Carlyle once received a letter from a young man which read like this, “Mr. Carlyle, I wish to be a teacher. Will you tell me the secret of successful teaching?”
Carlyle immediately wrote back “Be what you would have your pupils be. All other teaching is unblessed mockery.”
Someone ought to do it, but why should I? Someone ought to do it, so why not I? Between these two sentences lie whole centuries of moral evolution – Annie Besant.
Zeal is very blind, or badly regulated, when it encroaches upon the rights of others- Quesnel

By Sr. Dr Lilly on 01-04-2014

Thoughts

“Change your thoughts, and you change your world.”- Norman Vincent Peale
Thoughts manifest the reality outside.  Your each action is the externalization of the internal thoughts. If you don’t think, there is no action outside. Descrates says, “I think, therefore I am.” The very existence of a human being is because of thinking. Thought comes first, then action. A thought is not an accident. People who undergo a miserable life experience miserable thoughts. The moment they are able to change such miserable thoughts into happy thoughts, transformation happens internally and externally. Thus, researchers declare that we are the makers of our own destiny. If we are able to empower positive thoughts in our mind, undoubtedly the external reality will change. It has to change.
It is said, “People see what they want to see; people hear what they want to hear; people experience what they want to experience.” So try to reprogram your thoughts by being aware of them at every moment. Let your thoughts be natural, expressing the genuine desire of the heart which is the pure centre and source of everything.
There once, was a bunch of tiny frogs… who arranged a running competition. The goal was to reach  the top of a very high tower. A big crowd had gathered around the tower to see the race and cheer the contestants…. The race began… Honestly, no-one in the crowd really believed that the tiny frogs would reach the top of the tower. They heard statements such as: “They will never make it”, “The tower is too high” “It is too difficult” etc. The tiny frogs began collapsing one by one. At the end the tiny frog after a big effort reached the top. A contestant asked the tiny frog, how could make it.  I never listened to the comments of the people, I thought of the power and strength I have.
Be Positive in your Thoughts and Actions.

By Sr. Dr Lilly on 25-03-2014

Inter-Connectedness

“I think what makes us human—is our interconnectedness among people. It’s our ability to form and maintain relationships. It’s the barometer by which we call ourselves human.”- Thomas Jane
Life is a chain of events –Life is an inter-connected whole. It starts from womb and ends in the tomb. Each event is inter-connected to the previous one. It is like a movie—each scene is related to the previous and gives birth to the future.  Your tomorrow is born out of the present. It is said that when you are happy the world around you seems happy and when you are sad the world around you too looks gloomy and sad. So the first step in building a happy world is to lay the foundation stone within you. Then you experience the world as a rainbow of colours in all facets of life. Life is a chain. Wherever you go whatever you do—you will remain part of the inter-connected chain of life.
An American soldier wounded by the Japanese owes his life to the Japanese scientist Kitasato, who isolated the germ of tetanus. A Russian soldier is saved by a blood transfusion, which came from an Austrian. A German soldier is shielded from typhoid with the help of the Russian. A Dutch marine in the East Indies is protected from malaria because of the experiments by an Italian. A British flier in North Africa escapes death from surgical infection because of a French man, Pasteur, and a German called Koch and their work with bacteria. Need knows no language or language barriers. Or as someone put it: “We are all brothers and sisters under the skin.”
“Each form of life supports all others, together they weave the grand web of life. Thus there really is no happiness for oneself alone, no suffering that afflicts only others.’’- Daisaku Ikeda

By Sr. Dr Lilly on 18-03-2014

Concentration

“For he who has no tranquillity  there  is no concentration.” –Bhagavad Gita
Pre-occupation is the greatest or biggest enemy to concentration. Often people ask; why am I not able to concentrate? Or why can’t I just do it? It is simply because we don’t give serious reflection about ourselves. For most of us worldly worries and daily problems are bigger and they are immersed in it. We have to concentrate on one problem and exclude everything else – so much so that we almost become unmindful of the rest of the world. We are preoccupied with many other activities that we forget what is our priority.
We start doing things without awareness and focus. We get entangled and engaged in numerous activities that we have no time to go deeper into our own self. The only problem that we are concentrating upon is our world. However, remember that if you cannot focus or concentrate, then all through your life you face the same daily problems. It is important to be strong internally and then face the world without fear. Sort out the internal issue and experience the bliss and joy of every day and every moment.
Once a Zen master summoned four of his disciples and said, “It is time for you to go to the mountains and sit in silence for at least seven days, and then come back.”
They went with the vow to sit   there for seven days, in absolute silence. After just few minutes the   first disciples said, “I wonder whether I have locked my house or not.”  The second disciple said, “You fool! We have come here to be   silent and you have spoken!” The third disciple said, “You are a great fool! What has it to do with you? If he spoke, at least YOU could have kept silent!” The fourth disciple said, “Thank God, I am the only one who has not spoken yet!”

By Sr. Dr Lilly on 04-03-2014

Prompt Action

Many fine things can be done in a day if you don’t always make that day tomorrow. Prompt action is important in life and that leads people to succeed in life. Opportunity waits for none. If you don’t take a decision at the appropriate time later on you will have regrets. Timely action is like a rupee saved. Because a rupee saved is a rupee earned. Prompt action requires awareness and vision. It is not a blind decision, instead a calculated, well thought and mature decision. Each time you delay your action you are lagging behind and when you take timely action you travel hundred miles ahead of future, sowing seed of better opportunities. If you don’t utilize the opportunity then there is someone else to take  your opportunity somewhere in the world.
Why delay your decision? Be quick and act timely. So no regret can haunt you. Life is possible only out of decisiveness, commitment and involvement. If not, you are always a spectator- you never participate in anything. Decide for yourself whether you want to be spectator or a doer?
A pretty young woman approached Immanuel Kant and asked, “I would be immensely happy if you could accept me as your wife.” He listened to her and he said, “I will think it over.” And he thought for three years- all the pros and cons. He wrote long treatise- what are the advantages and disadvantages of being married. And finally he arrived at a poor conclusion—almost not a conclusion at all. There was one more point in favour, and that was the point that by being married you will know what marriage is-good or bad. So he went, knocked on the woman’s door. The father opened the door and asked, “Why have you come?” He said, “I have decided, because one more point is in favour of marriage. There are three hundred points in all: three hundred against, three hundred and one for- so I have decided to marry.”The father laughed. He said, “It is too late. She is already married- and not only married, she has a child too! You came a little late.”

By Sr. Dr Lilly on 25-02-2014

Confidence

“Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong.” Peter T. Mcintyre
When we chase things they elude us. When we are confident and ready to face the reality of life, it comes to us. Because we are not bothered or shaken by it. When you are strong like a rock nothing will shake you. So be firm in whatever you do and leave the rest of your life to God and let Him control it. Being strong and confident in life as well as in whatever you do is a sign of success. Most of us are weaklings who have no guts to face reality. Our confidence starts shaking as we get closer to reality. We only speak and when it comes to the real test get away faster than the speed of lightening.  Certainly you must have come across a number of such characters in your life! What is your reaction to them? Are you comfortable with such characters? Now let us check- am I also such a character? Do I run away from the realities of life? Am I ready to take the responsibilities and challenges of life? It is always better to be confident and face problems than hide like a coward. The option is left to you!
Some of us have a good case of the “can’ts” too. Stop being bitter,  “I can’t!” One of the devil’s greatest tools is to try  and   erect a stronghold in our minds to make us think we can’t do something, God has told us to do. Do not give the devil a foothold. Stay true to yourself! Be faithful to the talents you are blessed with. Be positive in your attitude. Indeed you Can do many things that you think you Can’t! You CAN!
A mad solider came in to the village cutting down men, women and children, and terrifying everyone .Arriving at the doors of a Zen monastery, he smashed down the door with the hilt of his sword. Striding up to the Master who was sitting in ZAZEN, he raised his sword and was just about to kill him, when something of the Master’s stillness touched him. And angrily he shouted, “Don’t you realize that standing in front of you is a man who can cut you in two without the blink of an eye!”
The Master quietly said, “Don’t YOU realize that sitting in front of you is a man who can be cut in two without the blink of an eye? So go ahead. Don’t be restricted by my silence, do whatsoever you have decided to do.” These words of the Zen Master transformed him. He surrendered his sword at the feet of the great Master and became a disciple.
“If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it, I know I can achieve it.”-  Jesse Jackson
Sr (Dr) Lilly Thockanattu SJL

By Sr. Dr Lilly on 18-02-2014

Generosity

Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote, “All that is not given is lost.”
Nothing speaks to others more loudly or serves them better than generosity from a leader. True generosity isn’t an occasional event. It  comes  from the heart and permeates every aspect of a leader’s life, touching his time, money, talents, and possessions. Effective leaders, the kind that people want to follow, don’t gather things just for themselves; they do it in order to give to others. .Cultivate the quality of generosity in your life.
Give something away. Find out what kind of hold your possessions have on you. Take something you truly value, think of someone you care about who could benefit, and give it to the person. Genuine charity does not evaluate an action by its bigness or smallness. It evaluates it as an act of love, an act that makes us discover the greatest good: God Himself!
Put your money to work. If you know someone with the vision to do something really great- something that will positively impact the lives of others-provide resources for the person to accomplish it. Give generously and you will receive much from your giving. Give a smile to everyone you meet and you’ll receive smiles. Give kind word and you will receive kind words. Give appreciation and you will be appreciated. Give time for a worthy cause and you will be richly rewarded. Give hope and you will be made hopeful. Give happiness and you will be happy. Give encouragement and you will be encouraged. Give prayers and you will receive blessings.
When an earthquake happened in China, a farmer was standing on a hilltop surrounded by his rice fields. Suddenly he saw the ocean rush away from the shore like some large animal crouching for a leap. He saw his neighbours working in the low rice fields, and when that tidal wave came back, they would be swept away by its force. Somehow he had to call them to the safety of his hill. So without thinking twice, he set fire to his straw stack furiously rang the temple bell. His farmer neighbours thought his farm was on fire and rushed up the hill to help him. They had  hardly   reached the top, when they heard and saw the swirling wall of water swish through the field they had just left. Then it was that they realized how the farmer had saved their lives. From that day on, they went to the temple to pray for their neighbour to whose generosity they owed their lives.
God in his generosity really loves us, cares for us, heals us and watches over us.

By Sr. Dr Lilly on 11-02-2014

Respect

Respect is a gesture of deep reverence, gratitude and
gratefulness to the Creator. When we respect our fellow beings we are in fact
respecting God himself because each of us is a part of God. Every culture has
different gestures expressing respect and reverence for a deity or to human
beings.                 Respect is the
acceptance of the other as they are. So respect should start from the heart and
not to be an external show. If it is a show, then it becomes an imitation and
pretence. Respect human beings- respect their individuality, respect their
differences. And that is possible only if you respect your own individuality.
Great people are respected anywhere without demand. Rich people are respected
for their money power and influence. In our context people living in the lower
strata are not respected. So they need to be respected and made comfortable.
Being friendly and hospitable to such people always imprints a feeling in them
that they too are part of the system and they are wanted in the society.
Everyone likes to be respected and likes to get importance. It is the game of
the ego.

One day a kind visited the Zen master. The Zen master
did not even get up when he saw the King coming. The King felt very strange and
surprised. However the King asked, “Which is higher, a worldly king, or the
king of dharma? The Zen master replied, “Among human kings I am higher; among
the kings of dharma I am also higher.” Hearing this surprising answer, the king
was very pleased.

The next day a general came to  visit the Zen master, who not only got up
from his seat when he saw the general coming, but also showed him more
hospitality in every way than he had shown to 
the king. After the general had left, one of the disciples asked him, “Why
did you get up from your seat when a person of lower rank came to see you, yet
you did not do so for one of the highest rank? The Zen master replied, “You
don’t understand. When people of the highest rank come to see me, I do not get
up from my seat; when they are medium quality, I do; but when they are of the
lowest quality, I go outside of the gate to receive them.”

By Sr. Dr Lilly on 04-02-2014

Providence

Providence is the care God takes of all existing things- St. John of Damascus
The well of Providence is deep. It’s the buckets we bring to it that are small. We may rest assured that nothing whatever happens on earth without God’s permission. What a source of consolation to know that even the sufferings and adversities which God send us are for our very best, and have in view  our eternal salvation. Do not look forward to what might happen tomorrow; the same Everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of your tomorrow and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations. Praise Him therefore, whether in His gifts or in His scourges. The praise of the scourges is the medicine for the wound.
God sends us nothing that is too hard or painful to bear. He proportions all to our strength and abilities. Our trials are suited to our needs as the glove to the hand of the wearer. All things will contribute to our sanctification if we but cooperate with the designs of Divine Providence. The farewell address of Abraham Lincoln upon leaving Springfield, for the White House, contains this touching testimony to his trust in God. “I now  leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of that Divine Being who ever attended him I cannot succeed. With that assistance I cannot fail. To his   care commending you, I bid you an affectionate farewell.”
The great St. Teresa of Avila, who did big things with small means, once wanted to build a large orphanage. She had only three shillings to start with. Some friends told her that she should be more wise and wait for more funds before beginning the construction. This is the answer Teresa gave: “With three shillings Teresa can do nothing, but with God and three shillings there is nothing that Teresa cannot do.”
Please, dear God, do not bless us as we deserve, we couldn’t along on so little.

By Sr. Dr Lilly on 04-02-2014