My already three months’ journey at the Spiritual Formation Centre, Kasama 2015-2016

Peter Bwire Jan 2016b_modifié-1By Peter Bwire (from Kenya)

The three months have been a period to establish my inner relationship with God in the person of Christ. This has partly been achieved through prayers, actually the journey continues. I have discovered that my spiritual strength is entirely dependent on my regularity in prayer. Prayers, especially those personal ones, have become not just a routine but a necessity for the success of the day and other events. I have discovered that without a short prayer or a reflection before undertaking my day`s activities, these seem heavier if not complicated unlike when I prayed, they seem easier and sometimes I truly experience God`s intervention. I have had this experience in three areas of my formation here.

The first area is my family and life story. The guidance of my spiritual companion, reflection, meditation and pondering on my past, all this has really bared fruits; I experienced a forgiving and a healing God. I experienced a relief as the pain, resentments, memory of bitterness and guilt left my heart. This indeed was one of my personal objectives – to learn to forgive myself and other people, whom I feel, added some dirty water in the flow of my river of life.

Another area was, in my daily activities, the programme within the house and the apostolate at the hospital. Whenever I have a short reflection or prayer before I set off for mass and then the hospital, I encountered an enriching day of apostolate. Sometimes I even wondered how I managed with my limited Bemba language. At times the fears disappeared; patients were welcoming and opened up to me and shared their conditions` experiences, unlike when I rushed or even left the house without any kind of reflective or prayerful envisioning of the day. In this second case, the apostolate seemed boring, tiresome, patients looked indifferent and sometimes unwelcoming. I even contemplated leaving the apostolate before time (11: 00 am).

The last area is the significant experience of my relationship within and outside the house. In the house, I have accepted each individual’s uniqueness and therefore my approach has been that of awareness both of the self and others. Through awareness, I have at least been able to learn and understand how my brothers wish to be related to. This was also one of my personal objectives and it coincides with the community`s third objective (i.e. to build an intercultural Missionaries of Africa’s community based on the Gospel values). In my relations outside the house, I have tried to keep a lower attachment to friends and families in order to keep the balance between the kind of comfort I get from outside and within the house. I am certain that whenever I feel more comfortable outside this house than within, then I am likely to seek more life outside than within the novitiate. This can affect my formation all together. I strongly believe that this balance has worked and I am convinced that the three months have been beneficial to me both within and outside the community. My family back in Kenya may be far but more present in me together with the family within this community of the spiritual year. I therefore continue to pray to God that I may be able to hold on to him as I deepen my relationship with him and may he help me to be true till the end of novitiate and thereafter.

Three months’ spiritual journey

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The clothing ceremony Mass at the spiritual formation Centre, Kasama, 2015-2016

Kasama 2015-2016 01cBy Angelous A. Kabika (from Tanzania).

Angelous A_d PNGOn the 8th December 2015, our community of Lualuo celebrated the feast of our Society. On the eve,  we had already celebrated the Silver Jubilee of Fr. Francis Bomansaan; we had a moving liturgy and his testimony at the end of the Eucharist boosted our spiritual lives. We wished him more jubilees to come. In these few lines below, I am going to focus just on the clothing ceremony which, according to the house custom, is celebrated on the same day as the feast of the society, that is, 8th December.

In an explosive Mass presided by Babaine Venerato, we were able to explore what means to put on a gandoura, rosary and burnous, what qualifies an attire to be right, and finally how ought we to aspire and inspire with our attire at the service to the African world.

Starting by sharing his experience whereby he had to put on a mechanic suit in order to help a stranded driver, he went on explaining how our right attires (gandoura, rosary and burnous) are just external symbols which stand for the internal symbol, meaning our attires should “inspire and aspire” others. It is a call to live our rightful vocation and our lives to the extent that we create positive impact on those we meet on our vocation journey. People need to see peace and contentment in us. If we always do good, we show people the way, the truth and life of holiness. “Embedded on right attires, commitment becomes a commitment, a vow becomes a vow and obedience becomes obedience”. Obviously, none of us alone can change the world but each one of us can make a difference in the life we are choosing. At least we are called to make a contribution in our community through acts of charity to one another. A simple gesture of charity can be fetching water when there is a shortage, working in the garden, cleaning around, passing on drinking at table; all those simple gestures we often ignore, yet have an impact on the community’s daily life. We have the ability actually to help one another around us before we can reach out to others. Therefore these simple acts of charity have enormous impacts on our own lives and on other peoples’ lives.

In addition, right skills and adequate information will qualify our right attires. If we are equipped with information and skills for the job we are called to do, we shall fit into the service to the African world. In other words we cannot give what we do not have. It is a call to know God’s love in our personal experiences and share this love to others. This knowledge however is personal and it is never read from books. The knowledge and skills about God’s love are extraordinary important in order to come up with what we can give to the African world.

It is from this point that Fr. Babaine touched the final question. How ought we to inspire and aspire with our right attire? How we live our right attires will be defined by availability to the job we are called to do. In other words Father Babaine invited us to be available to the service and to listen to the people we are sent to. No wonder Paul to the Romans puts it clear for us that we should weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice and finally to this we should help them (Romans 12,15).

Clothing ceremony

Some photos of the community and the teams (Spiritual Formation Centre, Kasama 2015-2016)

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