Thursday, 9 November 2017

WE BELONG TOGETHER

It is a great feeling to be with people. Many individuals prefer being in the company of friends whom they understand each other to greater extends. However, the people whom we surround ourselves with, always have a way to our day to day life. Their influence comes to us in both positive and negative bearings, but because it is happiness that matters, I find more heft in the positives rather than the negatives. I cannot imagine being in a society where persons exist in individualistic communities among themselves; people who consider their own affairs vivacious to the others.

It was not until when I come to experience the joy of being together, the warmth that comes with friendship, brotherhood that I show the meaning of togetherness. Belonging to each other is a possible experience but hard to find most often outside our homes. Survival in a community with a completely different setup from ones family is a challenge to many. A challenge which is possible to overcome if only one will recognises the beauty that comes with the presence of the other in whatever circumstance one maybe in.

Seeing the other as special and whose presence is as a gift from the creator, is the starting point of recognising the importance of togetherness.  It is through togetherness that we derive the meaning of our own lives as having the mystic power of Him who brought us into existence. The joys and sorrows we share as a people keep us going. In one’s low moment, he/she needs the other for consolation and in high moments still the presences of someone to share the joy which is very invigorating.

Friendship in any society is of great importance. It is unity that creates harmony and respect of each other. A community built in the spirit of love and togetherness lives in peace and happiness. Members in such a community experience that sense of belonging and of responsibility to one another. Living with concern of each other, love each and respect of one another establish a strong and firm community. Hence to have a potent community, we are entitled to work towards the building of a community/ society in the spirit of oneness.  For we all belong together.
By KUCHIO OKELLO EDWIN

SILENCE, A WAY TO SELF AWARENESS AND TO GOD

The world today is experiencing a remarkable technological advancement. Due to technology, peoples’ life styles have greatly improved. Aspects such as industrialization, transport and communication have been simplified. However, it is important to acknowledge the negative effects of technology such as excessive noise. I will focus my attention on the counter part of noise, silence. In fact, silence is the absence of noise. Many of us associate quietness to events such as death and sorrow. Personally, I consider it as a precious gift from God because it is not only important for the religious, but for all humanity. Silence is essential in listening to one’s self, paying attention to others and above all listening to God.

Silence helps us to look deep into our selves. When one looks at calm water, it acts as a mirror. Like calm water, silence is a procedure to introspection. In Lavigerie community, we have retreats, monthly recollections as well as daily meditations. These aspects are vital for our personal reflections as a Christians. It is through quietness that we may come to a deeper understanding of ourselves. We then recognize our worth in the eyes of God, as his beloved children, though we have shortcomings. Aware of ourselves, we can control our feelings, emotions and share them more freely with our brothers and sisters. If a stone is thrown into calm water, it ceases to act as a mirror. Noise therefore hinders our inward journey.

We need to pay attention to our brothers and sisters whom we encounter in our places of apostolate. Before going for ministry, Jesus had a retreat when he fasted in the desert for forty days and nights (Mt 4:1-11). A desert is a place of lack of food, water, communication, music and friends. It is a place to listen to God’s voice. As aspirants to Missionary life, we are invited to go out and encounter our fellow Christians. Equally, as I go out, whose message am I carrying? Therefore, this is an invitation to listen to the Lord who sends us. Effective listening involves meditative silence.

Silence provides a favorable environment for encountering God (1Kgs 19:11-13). We can discern God’s message in our lives if we can listen to him. However, we are not Monks to live in silence but a few minutes of silence everyday makes a difference in our lives. A lot can be discussed about silence.  As St. Augustine says “You made us all for you, Oh Lord! And our hearts remain restless until they rest in you.” May God bless us all.  
By Kunta Philip.

COMMUNITY LIFE AT LAVIGERIE HOUSE

A community is a group of members who share common resources with the same vision or goal. The perfect community is that of the trinity and a natural community is one to which everybody belongs. Community living started long ago from the creation where God was with the word and the spirit. It is also in the letter to the Hebrews to stay as community (10:25) which also applies to the Acts of the Apostles (4:32). Here at Lavigerie house community life covers three aspects that include: pastoral work, academic life, and prayer life. Lavigerie house is a community with various nationalities and cultures united by Caritas and understanding of each other’s personality. Our greatest concern is to remain in God’s love which flows from the spirit. I will try to share my experience at Lavigerie.

Prayer life is very fundamental as the common say: “A missionary who does not pray is a dead one”. It bridges our relationship with God. This is in two parts: community prayer and personal prayer. Community prayer guides personal prayer and the reverse is true. Prayer is all about changing our minds not God’s mind because prayer helps to listen to ourselves, reflect on our lives, and time to check on areas which need attention. St Ignatius of Loyola also said that “we are created to serve, love, and revere God” which can only be done in prayer. Jesus himself constantly prayed to the father and as his followers, we need to imitate him. Furthermore in John it is written that “never can you bear fruits without Christ” (15:4-9) whom we encounter in the Eucharist today.

Pastoral work helps us to connect with God’s people. This takes place in different areas such as out stations, orphanages, homes of people with disabilities, and prisons. We experience God’s love through the encounter of these people. This requires quality of presence to the people. Pastoral work helps us to share experiences of life among God’s people since some are abandoned from the communities. We give them hope, courage, and the body of Christ especially the sick.

To sum up everything, life is what you make it.  Community life requires humility, patience, love, trust, respect, attention, and openness to listen to each other. Mother Theresa remarked that “I can do something which you cannot do and you cannot do what I do”. This suggests the different gifts of each individual in the community. Let us accept the giftedness of each other since no one person has ever made a community. All this, works well in love, without love you are nothing (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).

By JohnBosco Magezi

FREEDOM OF CHOICE

Choice. How exactly can this term be defined? In the Oxford student’s dictionary, “a choice is an act of choosing between two or more people or things”. Jean Paul Sartre, A French philosopher, speaks about the freedom of Choice. According to Sartre, human beings are free to choose. We are not determined, which implies that we are what we make of ourselves or what we choose to be. However Sartre was an atheist, his philosophy can apply to many, if not to all human beings. It is good to keep in mind that the presence of choice is parallel to commitment. When one makes a choice, he/she should be committed to it.

Whatever one chooses, it is good. But let it be clear on the other hand. By saying individual’s choices are good; one should also consider the other person. This is very evident to us. By the fact that we are striving each day it shows that we make choices including the choice to planning the future.

We can all agree that being in Lavigerie house it is a choice. Choosing to follow Christ is a choice. We are all invited to follow Him but it is upon oneself; each one of us to accept Him into our lives. We believe that God called us to proclaim his gospel to the entire nations and this choice invites us to be committed and responsible for all involved.