Dec 13, 2019 Last Updated 11:01 PM, Dec 11, 2019

Sharpening our Souls

Letto 386 volte
Vota questo articolo
(0 Voti)

“First saints, then missionaries!” This is no doubt one of Blessed Joseph Allamano’s principal mantra. Holiness indeed is a fundamental requirement for a missionary to face the mission work. But sometimes it normally goes down like a low battery after having worked in mission for certain period of time. Hence the missionary’s need for a spiritual exercise, preferably in common as a religious family, cf., Constitution 68, General Directive 68.1.

In fact, there are three traditional annual events that normally bring us together as a Region. These are, the Regional Assembly, the Regional Conference and the Regional Retreat. Therefore, from the 11th November 2019 till the 15th November 2019 forty-three of us from Kenya-Uganda Region gathered in the Bethany House, Sagana for our Annual Regional Retreat.

17 INMD1 01 kenya ritiro 1

The theme of the Retreat was: Sharpen your Soul.

The task of helping us sharpen the soul was given to Rev. Fr. Charles Bwalya Chilufya, SJ. He is a Jesuit priest of Zambian origin and currently the Director of The Jesuit Justice and Ecology Network Africa (JENA).  

To help us sharpen our souls, Fr. Charles, a part from various biblical texts used extensively the Interior Castles, a book written by St Therese of Avila in 1577. He outlined four major principles from this noble writing of an ordinary nun to provide hope and encouragement during hardship and sufferings which make our souls blunt. These are the Mindset; the Heartset; the Soulset and the Health/Bodyset.

17 INMD1 02 kenya ritiro 4

Primo, talking about the Mindset, Fr. Charles, SJ, inspired by the dialogue between Nicodemus and Jesus, cf., Jn 3: 1-21, and the histories of the Late Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela(18/07/1918 - 05/12/2013), Bl. Joseph Allamano (21/01/1851 – 16/02/1926), St Francis of Assisi (1181 - 03/10/1226) and St Mother Teresa of Calcuta(27/08/1910 - 05/09/1997), journeyed with us through a thought changing process which is geared towards the production of new imaginations. This, he insisted, is achieved through the following three steps:

ü  First, Self-awareness: a capacity to visualise a new beginning. To achieve this, we must treasure silence in our life. For it is in silence that new way of seeing and doing things are generated. (e.g., the prison period in the life of N. Mandela).

ü  Second, Negative experiences of life: a capacity to grow from challenges or crisis in life. Pain brings an opportunity for growth.

ü  Third, Narration of life: a capacity to read stories and events of life. Since events and stories have meaning and can be interpreted, they excite our imaginations, hence be born again.

Consequently, the mindset helps us to give purpose to our lives. It is here where we live in the capacity of choosing. It focuses on not living with the toxicity of the past negative experiences which condition ourselves; but rather it transforms us, cf., Rom 13 and help us forget about the former things, cf., Is 43: 18-19.

17 INMD1 03 kenya ritiro 5

Secundo, speaking of the Heartset, our preacher of the day took us through the episode of the Samaritan Woman, cf., Jn 4: 1-45. To pick up our lives once again, Fr. Charles insisted on having an opportunity minded character rather than the problem minded one. To him, some of us never grab the opportunity God is giving them. We rather always see negativity in everything. It is through the conversation with Jesus that will sharpen ourselves, hence grab the God-given opportunities just as the Samaritan lady did.

To grab the opportunity, the heart must be ready to forgive. Yet forgiveness can never be institutionalised rather it is a gift that comes from on high. He gave an example of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission established in 1996 by the South African government to help the victims of the Apartheid. This institutionalisation of the process of reconciliation did not work.

Tertio, on matters Soulset, our preacher told us that this is influenced by the first two, that is, the Mindset and the Heartset. He was inspired by Saint Paul’s first letter to the Church in Corinth, 1 Cor 2: 12-16. Since we are spiritual beings in a human nature the things God give us are spiritual in nature. In this category, inspiration is very fundamental to growth. An inspired person is a joyful, happy fellow. He engages in life with a positive attitude and sees beauty in life. It is only the word of God that will give that inspiration, cf., Jn 15: 3.

17 INMD1 04 kenya ritiro 2

Finally, quarto, on a very lighter tone intertwined by his personal life history, Fr. Charles took us through the fourth aspect; the Health/Bodyset. Here, one has to reclaim back his own life! Since the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, we should constantly thank God for the gift of the body by taking good care of it. We shall only take good care of ourselves if we discern the things we are to do going by the table below.

Urgent and Important

NOT Urgent / VERY Important

Urgent / NOT Important

NOT Urgent / NOT Important

In conclusion, he gave us eight wisdom of the Gospel to help us in life. These are:

        i.            Leadership: be a leader with no title like Jesus; your work should be beauty and an art focused on human beings and not things.

      ii.            Humility: be servant of all

    iii.            Integrity: be truthful to thyself

    iv.            Originality: stop competing with others

      v.            Professionalism: have plans in life

    vi.            Daily Rituals: set specific time for specific activities each day

  vii.            Beatitudes: make them yours, own these wonderful virtues

viii.            Recreation: have fun, and take life easy

His parting shot: “Claim back your life, by sharpening your soul”.

17 INMD1 05 kenya ritiro 3

Devi effettuare il login per inviare commenti

Recenti

L’intelligenza artificiale può rivoluzionare la medicina, ma solo se guidata da un’algor-etica

L’intelligenza artificiale p…

12 Dic 2019 Finestra sul Mondo

Giornata dei diritti umani: abolire l’odio religioso e le discriminazioni

Giornata dei diritti umani: ab…

12 Dic 2019 Finestra sul Mondo

Fr. Gordon Okoth, imc; Smiling with Angels.

Fr. Gordon Okoth, imc; Smiling…

10 Dic 2019 I Nostri Missionari Dicono

Il cardinale Tagle è il nuovo Prefetto di Propaganda Fide

Il cardinale Tagle è il nuovo…

09 Dic 2019 Finestra sul Mondo

La proposta del Papa e del Grande Imam di Al-Azhar: il 4 febbraio sia la Giornata mondiale della fratellanza umana

La proposta del Papa e del Gra…

09 Dic 2019 Finestra sul Mondo

El Sínodo Panamazónico ha sido un verdadero kairós para la actividad misionera

El Sínodo Panamazónico ha si…

09 Dic 2019 Missione Oggi

Intenzione preghiera: L’avvenire dei più giovani

Intenzione preghiera: L’avve…

09 Dic 2019 Preghiere Missionarie

III Domenica Avvento - Anno C

III Domenica Avvento - Anno C

09 Dic 2019 Domenica Missionaria

Ikonda: “una straordinaria opera di carità che vogliamo continui a dare conforto a tanta gente”

Ikonda: “una straordinaria o…

06 Dic 2019 I Nostri Missionari Dicono

Pastoral work as assistant Parish Priest at Eunhaengdong Parish (EN-IT)

Pastoral work as assistant Par…

06 Dic 2019 I Nostri Missionari Dicono