by BISMumbai Correspondent

Even as a major populace of the maximum city that never sleeps was chugging on into the New Year 2020, after extended festivities, Father Ashley Miranda – Mumbai Salesian Vice-Provincial animated a motley yet recollected group of 15 Salesians from the communities of Don Bosco Matunga, Shelter Don Bosco, and Don Bosco Provincial House on a “Scrutiny of Consecrated Life and an Evaluation of Evangelical Poverty,” in the calm and serene forested precincts of Shalini Bhavan in Sion, on 02 January 2020.

This exercise of individual and community introspection generally happens on a monthly basis, across all Don Bosco institutions across the globe, with a once every three months day-long exercise termed as the ‘tri-monthly recollection’. Modelled on Don Bosco’s ‘exercise for a happy death’ in which he prepared his boys and collaborators through introspection and self-examination of conscience, this monthly and tri-monthly feature helps the Salesians of Don Bosco review, renew and revitalise their spiritual quotient amidst the tremendously hurried hustle-bustle of daily activities.

Father Miranda then, was the ‘preacher’ invited to help the assembled group of Don Bosco’s sons spend quality time in prayer, reflection, and self-examination. He began with “it is very easy and nice to evaluate someone else, but this day spent in review is for each of us to examine in what way have I been making compromises and in what ways I can change, in the light of God’s love, not making excuses, but making a smart decision to initiate small life-changes, perhaps even one small adjustment,” setting the tone for the remainder of the day. The opening talk was replete with pointers to reflect on “our human vocation, and our Christian vocation which is only a further specification of our human vocation, without any either/or, and that is why we need to work on ourselves, challenge ourselves and demand from ourselves.”

Even as the noonday sun shone in its resplendent glory, accentuating the green environs of Shalini Bhavan practically torching the souls resting in peace beneath intricately decorated tombstones in the adjoining cemetery plot, the Salesians trooped back in taking refuge in the chapel for another 20-minute talk. Father Miranda pointed out how “Pope Francis states time and again the need to live the prophetic character of religious life, making present through our life-witness the relationship that we share with Christ, helping others discover and experience the same.” He further enumerated the different approaches to consecrated life, inviting each one to “be rooted, and flower, in and through God’s love, and share that love with all whom we encounter.”

Post-lunch more-than-adequate time for personal reflection culminated in the exposition, adoration and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, following which each one dispersed, returning home to their communities in order to ‘start again’ rejuvenated by the introspective exercise. Father Goyal Anthony arranged the logistics and thanked the Carmelite [OCD] fathers for their cordial hospitality.

Even as the Mumbai Salesians are into a month running since the launching of the Golden Jubilee ‘Called, Consecrated and Commissioned’ preparations, this exercise is envisaged as one of the important moments of individual and community renewal and revival.