Fervor versus Indolence

By Fr. Joe Eruppakkatt SSP on 14-06-2010

A brutal
religious persecution took place in and around Kandhamal in Eastern India about
two years ago. Hundreds of people were killed and their houses and places of
worship were destroyed in planned attacks against the poor and defenseless
people. Archbishop Raphael Cheenath of Cuttack-Bubaneshwar wrote in a brochure
titled: 'Resurrecting Kandhamal' : “As I began to interact
with the victims at the relief camp and elsewhere, I was deeply impressed and
inspired by the faith of the people; no complaints, but full of trust in God.
The general attitude of the people was, believe it or not, 'we have lost
everything, but we shall not give up our faith; God is with us, and if we have
to die, we shall die for our God'.” 

Recently I met two
affluent women – one a doctor and the other a sales executive from Argentina,
but holidaying in London – who happened to talk to me about their religious
faith. They proudly declared that they used to be very faithful in their
religious practices when they were children, but as they grew up and became
adults, they did not feel the need to pray or attend any religious
service any
more. They have everything they need, even without praying and attending any
religious ceremony. I was immediately drawn to compare the change these
affluent people have undergone with the ardent faith of the poor and oppressed
people of Kandhamal. The latter were ready to give up everything they owned,
even their very lives, for safeguarding and visibly expressing their faith.
There is such fervent faith in God on the one hand and indolence and apathy on
the other. While in the materially poor regions the places of worship are
filled to capacity while in the richer regions they are converted to pubs and
theatres. For many people God is a dispatcher of free gifts and favours. As
long as we need favours, we keep knocking on His door, but when our kitty is
full, we don't need Him anymore and can afford to ignore His very presence, and
He becomes an unattractive burden. The Psalmist reminds: “As for man, his
days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind
passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. But the
steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear
him, and his righteousness to children’s children. (Psalm 103:15-17)

About The Author

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.