Jesuit life · Reflection · Studies

The Bear and the Nun

The story of the Bear and the Nun was written in response to a view that the world is becoming so secular that the notion of a religious life is not considered as a better form of life. Two contrasting symbolic representation of the world today, the ‘Bear’, a strong and fierce animal, which represents the worldly modern view of seeing a meaning of life in which career, consumerism and wealth are the keys to survival, and the ‘Nun’, devoutly singing in front a Paschal Candle at the Easter Vigil Mass, encountering God in every situation in this chaotic world. The story of bear and the nun was an eye-opener for me. I have been living as a ‘Bear’ for most of my life and it moulded me into being ‘individualistic’, so as to survive the world where I am. My character has subtly formed me towards the wrong side of life where it gave me the notion that life has to be lived in this kind of way. It led me to become selfish, egoistic, paranoid, sensitive, proud and perfectionist.  God was around, but only in the periphery of my vision. I would try to turn towards Him every time the outcome of my stubbornness became blurred and disastrous through listening to the world. Each time I reached out for Him, he was always there, but my feeling of closeness to His presence has always been half-hearted, a lukewarm relationship as it was. One of the great blessings in my life was being involved in the health care profession, where, being exposed to the needs of people and able to reach out, help, comfort, ease the pain, be a part of their sufferings, has changed my outlook in life and led me towards becoming ‘the Nun’. This initiated my deeper relationship with God. Patients under my care would ask about the presence of Transcendence regardless of any faith they had. This allowed me to search for answers and so my understanding of my faith grew deeper. The presence of God is real, and most of the conscious dying patients under my care were searching and yearning for His love. I could sense their state with God in that liminal moment as discussed in one of the other books we have been reading. Those moments of conversation with them while they were in their liminal state allowed me to experience the actuality of God within us. Ever since, it has become my yearning as well, to experience this liminal moment with God. I wanted to become ‘the Nun’ who sees hope in the flickering light provided by the candle in the midst of darkness. I wanted to become closer to God than before and be a light that would help enlighten the darkness in the world. My experience as the ‘Bear’ had helped me realize the other side of light, and I believe it will be an immense help to me in bearing the light, to lighten up the darkness around as I start this journey following the footsteps of Jesus Christ each day of my life.

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