Thrice Happy Birthday!
This is in continuation of the correspondence in CCV about publishing Happy birthday wishes by the editor to Mar Alencherry caught in troubled waters!
For me he is a friend who used to call me back after 9 pm, if I fail to connect with him. Which other cardinal in India could care to do such a thing? While visiting him, when going up the stairs to his room he used to ask me: “Shall I hold your hand to help you climb the steps?” Such niceties from a Cardinal?
He used to do more similar delicacies to me, but no place to recount them here! So I could not let go his birthday without wishing him appropriately, in spite of the terrible tug or war going on within me.
So I ended up writing what is given below, unthinking about getting a reply either. But I had to write and I did it as an honest “know-nothing” could. All I request humbly from you readers, is to do me the service of a ‘Devil’s Advocate’. God bless you my esteemed masters! james.
Alencherry birthday wish
HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY – THRICE HAPPY BIRTH DAY
My Dear Younger Brother in the Lord Jesus,
This is to wish you, a VERY HAPPY BIRTH DAY April 19th today, from your elder brother james kottoor, who always signs himself in the lower case, to be the lowest among ordinary people Jesus befriended, as opposed to the ‘Ordinaries’ of the world with a capital “O”. He also instructed “you are all brothers” only and not to call anyone Rabbi, Father, Master or Teacher.
May the Good Lord bless you with his choicest blessings of joy, peace and serenity this day and all the days of your life, in spite of the many trials and tribulations you and I are going through, all part of life, none of which can or should break my brotherly attachment, which I promise, I will not till my last breath.
This is not to deny that I am also one of your fierce critiques on many ideological issues of church governance but with no ill-will towards you as my brother. The parable of the Pharisee and the publican praying in the temple finally drove me to sever myself from a Syromalabar church long ago, to become a part only, may be the last in the line, of the CATTLE CLASS, meaning, part of that company of Jesus born in a cattle shed, lived homeless serving the lowly placed poor till he died on Calvary.
It is my deep desire to see you imitate Him, that prompted me even to write that you resign until you are cleared of all charges instead of clinging like a leech to power, position and office. The tug of war going on in you is tormenting me even more and I have been and still praying for light from above for a happy resolution of this on going conflict both for me and you.
At the age of nearly 84, I have no desire to live even for one more day. It is more than ten years, I started living just for one day, from dawn to dusk only, unsure of the morrow. So I cannot have any ill-will towards any, especially to a dear brother like you. But I have to be honest to myself, honest to God and honest to others, which for me is speaking out from the house top without fear or favour as Jesus did, which is what spreading the Good Word or bearing witness to Truth is all about.
Once again I prayerfully wish you a Happy Birthday of joy, peace and God’s grace in abundance. May your patron St.George, help you to vanquish the dragon that may be tormenting you and make TRUTH triumph for everybody’s benefit. May the Lord Jesus alone lead you, guide you, protect you and take good care of you all through life. james.
NB. This is a private, personal letter for Cardinal George Alencherry only. jk
I received your birthday greetings. I thank you very much for the greetings and prayerful wishes!
It was very kind of you to remember and wish me. Kindly continue to pray for me and our Church.
I wish you all the blessings of our Lord and pray that God may shower His abundant blessings on you!
With every good wish,
+ George Cardinal Alencherry
Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church
Major Archiepiscopal Curia
Mount St. Thomas, P.B. No. 3110
P.O. Kakkanad 682 030 Kochi
Tel: +91-484-2424780, 2424768 (Chancery)