My younger sibling died at the age of 54 in 2014. He leaves behind a Widowed Mother and his own widow and 3 children. All should have been flourishing in this land of dreams of his Father, who heard and read about the wonders of this abundantly Blessed country America where there was much honesty and hard work among communities sprawled across this vast continent.
It was inspiring as a young child to be told of this country where his friend resided after joining his wife, who was a Nurse, a much sought after vocation for many young women from Kerala as it gives them opportunity to not only earn but to be able to travel and reside in other countries. So even as my Father left Kerala, it is not that all Men and Women who left Kerala chose to live or abide as teaches the Bible. So we lived in the metro city of Mumbai surrounded by people of many Faith. It was then sad to see Christians differentiating among themselves based on their wealth, skin color or their ancestry. While we learn to grow among these to pursue one’s education and life, the impact of these came out strongly in my married life after we moved to what seemed a Miracle then, as so today…a home right opposite a Catholic Church in Chembur, Mumbai. Knowing it to be a great Blessing, I was consciously keeping myself mindful that this was a Blessing for me to hear and attend Mass without having to wade through chaos of traffic and where inevitably we would be late for Mass……But God has His reasons and Plans as He did for me….and a time for everything.
It was tough being a young Mother with the duty to raise two daughters mostly on my own as my husband worked in Abu Dhabi…even though financially we were comfortable to meet our Needs and some. I strove to see that I made good use of this Blessing and so would reach with my children a good 10 minutes early before Holy Mass so that I could be composed to settle myself to HEAR as also get seating place in the front so that my children could hear and understand better with fewer distractions. The walk back home would be followed by gentle prodding to see whether they heard or understood the sermon by the Redemptorist Priests. While my children were in their early adolescence, I could do so because they were not that young as to disrupt the Service during Holy Mass.
It is sad to see many young toddlers being slapped or knocked on the head in the midst of Mass as sometimes they are forced to remain quiet and seated in the midst of so many adults and yet are so innocent to know any different. These days many Churches have a separate Sound proof area so that families with babies and toddlers can use to come for Holy Mass as a family, for it is important for young ones to see and learn from their parents and the community of coming together to pray.
In the Church we are then told to go out at the end of the Mass to share and spread the Good News of the Gospel. And obviously we start always with our family. My reality was that most of our siblings had migrated to other countries in search of better pastures. Here I will talk of my sibling ‘Joy ‘ as he was affectionately called by all. He was a year and three months younger than me and after I graduated, he too graduated as a Commerce graduate to pass the bank entrance Test to be offered a job in a Nationalized Bank in Mumbai. At an era where not many had heard of the Computers as yet in India, he saw the opportunity when he on his own took the initiative to learn and then be transferred to the Computer Section in the Bank.
In a Nationalised Bank at that time, working was a leisure and a paying job because one could finish one’s job on time and leave. There were enough perks and also interest free loans available to enable one to buy a home, car or other necessities. So generally people would stay with the bank till retirement as it would ensure a lifelong job as there were strong unions favoring the employees. But Joy chose to leave this job and join a Private firm to help him learn and know more of the Computer Industry slowly revolutionising life at all levels. In due time he got a H1B visa and in 1990 just after his marriage, he came first to the US followed by his wife and son a year later. His battles and rise to being one of the top IT earners in 10 years and then the phone call in 2000 to me in India asking for financial help was the beginning of the tragedy that could have been averted with timely help from family, community and the Church……
The wringing of one’s heart through years of such intense sufferings at the sight of one sibling floundering and the other siblings unavailable to talk or help …I have seen and borne it with the able guidance of the Church….but if the same help was sought by all the Christian members in the family, then obviously I would not have to share this horrible tragedy which cost my Mother – her son, us – a brother and uncle to my children and his own children left without a father.
The Church taught me and this brother would often call up on weekends through the Computer and sharing the wisdom of the Church was often the topic we talked about because spirituality interested him as it did me. So I shared all the Wisdom that our Redemptorist Priests taught with regards to life. Morally I am expected to share this with others and I did gladly so as we spoke when we had the time. He would talk with the speakers on for he wanted his family to hear what these Priests taught explicitly with regards to applying the Scriptures to family life. He wanted his 3 children to be similarly taught by the Church and since his wife was also a Catholic, it should have been ideal for her also to seek and learn…for we do today know that the Catholic Church has the same Readings and Gospel each day across every Church in the World. And so as such there shouldn’t have been opposition to what was ‘sharing’ as was my moral duty as a Christian and I was available to hear and be enriched with what was being taught in the US.
What ensued since then was a deliberate and conscious attempt to then block me off from my siblings to stop the Church’s Wisdom in their lives. While my other two siblings have submitted and have no communication with me because they derided that I speak of the Church, Jesus and Holy Spirit which then was apparent of no consequence to them in their daily lives…..and we see its effect of the lack of application for the common good of the families and communities. It was conveyed that I was of no consequence because I am a Woman from an inferior Christian family !! Latin Rites, Roman Catholic…..and just a housekeeper with two daughters, living in India and as such did not count to be worthy to be a sibling or an aunt to these spouses or children of my siblings…I was an inferior to all of them! But is that what my Church or my Father taught me..?
This brother Joy was also compelled to cut me off – but he did not, as he loved all his family, his friends and his community. But my other brother did and who sent me an email 20 years back asking for my ‘understanding’ as his Christian but ‘Superior’ Syro- Malabar wife made him PROMISE to do so… We will come to this matter of making a unholy ‘promise’ which opposes the very teaching of the Church – some day later.
So while this wife comes from a Christian family whose Mother and the elder sister are Counselor and Preacher in Mumbai Churches, it was my contention that this was Hypocrisy because we were all Christian family and neighbours and as such if there was any matter which caused disagreements we had to talk and reconcile for lack of it caused problems be it for our parents or our children. But till date this ‘unholy promise’ stands and I have no communication with these siblings and in this unholy battle my brother Joy was intentionally neglected instead of being supported to go to the Church and opt for Christian counseling to help his family to come together and heal. My religion has been relegated to being a ‘brand of religion’ because I am deemed Inferior!
Every Church and the American system teaches of the importance of sharing the household chores and raising our children to chip in at home to learn so that in the coming years as adults they are able to stand up and take on their responsibilities.
Joy wanted his children to learn and share the chores at home, his wife didn’t agree to it. Normally then other Elders in the family should be able to come together and help this couple to go in for Christian counseling…but what emerged was a battle of egos of ‘superiority’ along with baseless and needless issues where it was not the Conformity of the Church that led us but traditions and cultures imbibed be it Syro – Malabar, the Mangalorean or the Anglo-indians – even though all are Baptized Christians. Satan came in through unrestrained pride and egoism as the religion of many in our midst swayed away by one’s own vanity. No heart in our midst was ready to be humble and serve as taught this humble mighty Lord, going down on His knees..!
This situation about raising the children in obedience to the Church then upset the equation to such an extent that it affected the Work of Joy and instead of thriving at a business he started from home after resigning from his job where he flourished to reach the top…he found that he was forced to take the children to school, buy groceries and cook for the family and concentrate on setting up his business. He was unable to do so. Normally one would have thought that his younger sibling in the US would have stepped in and averted the tragedy unfolding. But he was unavailable for this brother as he was for me….and as he is today unavailable for our Mother. Our sister has similarly cut herself off from all of us while she is very much involved with the family of her husband.
So as an Elder sister I saw how this brother Joy was systematically left to be neglected than come together as family to help build up, by supporting and encouraging them to seek help from the Church. His wife would not agree to Church counseling or be there for therapy for mental issues as advised the many doctors where she was taken for treatment for myriad of illnesses which caused her to be laid up during the day ….but in the evenings she was fit to be out with friends..!
Normally her Parents and sibling as so others genuinely concerned should have seen this duality in nature and advised strongly to go for Counseling, but it was strange to see that they would not. And so eventually the truth came out that this was pressure tactic to see that this brother of mine would CUT ME off to stop the message I carried forth from my Church… Why was I to be blamed for I only did my duty of sharing with a brother who wanted to hear and had every Right to do so, these TRUTH of the Church is Universal that children ought to be taught at home and Parents do so by being good examples of the same. But what about Elders being lured more by the affluence of celebrity cultures than by being obedient to the Church..! And so we can understand how I was perceived as a thorn to be discarded, for the Light of the TRUTH to HIS WAY does hurt blindingly.
The same culture that was imbibed by many in Kerala in India who claimed in ignorance that they were Ancient and Superior Christians to deny conversion in hearts and minds…can also be seen here today in the US where in the last century some liked the ‘new celebrity culture’ rather than the Divine Truth for Humanity. So the culture of ‘I’ was opted against the ‘WE’ taught by the Church for the Good of All.
In effect what was to be a true Blessing for our Mother Mercy on account of her hard work to raise 4 children to be standing on their own two feet, has been thwarted by the lack of Christianity of the families who came in…and so even as we see all these other Christians coming together as ‘family’ for birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving or Confirmation of children in the family….it is revolting to see that this Mother as so her elder daughter and family being intentionally cut off and neglected because they are deemed Inferior..! I could live with it, but what about the children in our midst..?
And so it was traumatic for this young girl, our youngest daughter who came to the US in Nov. 2013 thinking that she would have family to visit occasionally as does most of the Americans for – Thanksgiving, Easter or Christmas…. but she was denied communication with her Granny and her other Uncles and Aunts or cousins…Whose decisions are these? Uncle Joy wanted to keep in touch and when I came to visit my daughter we went twice to visit this ailing brother in a ‘Recovery Centre’ as he was in and out of hospitals. The sad reality of who was once upon a time one of the top IT earners reduced to this pitiful condition of being penniless and being dependant on the Welfare of the US system and deprived of visits or calls from family or siblings, it was hard-hitting especially as his own Mother living with her younger Son in Boston, then was forced to leave the US in May, 2014. She was the only one who would call him up daily for as his financial earning capacity reduced so did friends and community stop, to drop by or help to give good Counsel.
Joy was heartbroken when he realized he was unable to help his Mother or stop her from leaving the US and then was hospitalized after that again in June, 2014. He never went back home and in Dec. 2014 we got a call from the other brother who had not responded to any of my daughters’ calls, to tell her to convey to me that our brother was nearing his death. Well, at least then he knew that I was his sister or that this man was our brother…but as yet we have not yet been able to help this Mother Mercy who since then has been battling loneliness, sorrow and the deep Divide in her remaining children and their families…
Seeing all these needless tragedies in her family instead of being able to commute and visit people who were her family, this younger daughter of ours was diagnosed with cancer in March, 2016. The doctors were baffled and asked if she had suffered ’emotional trauma’ because they said that this kind of Cancer was generally among people much older and who had abused susbstance of some kind. This child is known for her discipline in health matters, of being diligent in her education as so her job. But we cannot control the emotions and deep sadness children feel when their Elders behave in Ways other than taught by the Church for the common good. This is Divide and so I have decided to Sacrifice some time to bring HEALING in this family with recourse to the Church for I can see how lack of listening and Obedience does have deep impact especially on the Innocent among us…..I rose to use my Voice through the gift of the Internet.
The Widows and children are the weakest among us. So when Our Lady of Fatima stated that – ” She also revealed that the children would suffer, especially from the unbelief of their friends and families, and that the two younger children, Francisco and Jacinta would be taken to Heaven very soon but Lucia would live longer in order to spread her message and devotion to the Immaculate Heart…” I cannot fail to see how many have left the Ways of the Church in the midst of our own families and communities when they refuse to even communicate, leave alone help come forth to talk and resolve or repent and then Amend as teaches our Lord.
We do see why this Heavenly Mother suffers on seeing the suffering of her innocent Son Sacrificed for the Sins of others…and they continue to Sin and live unrepentant. I understand then that these sufferings of my innocent brother Joy or own Mother Mercy or our young daughter will not be in vain. We can all join and pray that Mother Mary and HER Son Jesus have mercy and joy for this Mother Mercy and her son Joy….and our dear obedient child.
God rest their humble Souls in Peace along with our father, in the Kingdom of God, Our Heavenly Father. We also humbly ask all for continued prayers for unity and thereby peace in the family. We pray for the forgiveness and conversion of all those who have strayed away from the Narrow path shown by Jesus. May Mercy and Joy be with us all on this Earth before we stand for the inevitable Judgement in front of our Lord Jesus.