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Tuesday, February 25 2020  - 14 User Online  

17.05.2019 16:10:50 1136x read.
Our Witnessing through Prayer.

Our Witnessing through Prayer.

(The participants and facilitators of the OASIS 2017 are praying at the prayer room in Red Lion House)


In the just ended FIC General Chapter 2018, it became very clear that a deeply felt experience or awareness of God’s presence in our lives is the source of our religious life. Therefore the quality of our life as religious requires more attention than the number of members we have.

Based on the theme of the Chapter "We consecrate ourselves to be witnesses of God's Love", we tried to explore ways to make our apostolate a more practical way of expressing our love for people.

To be oriented toward God also means to grow as a contemplative in action, to grow as a person who more and more joins with God (in contemplation) and also loves the neighbour (in action). A closer look at the life of Christ, the apostles, and the saints of active apostolic life, suggests that there is an inseparable bond between the spiritual and the apostolic dimensions of Christian living. Vincent de Paul told the Sisters of Charity to "leave God for God. If the poor arrive even during prayer, the Daughter of Charity should feel free to leave the conversation that she is having with the Lord in prayer in order to converse with the Lord in the person of the poor". Even our Founder, Louis Rutten, was an incredibly active man, but he was also a man of deep prayer.

(Candidates and brothers are praying at the chapel of formation house in Muntilan, Indonesia)

A person imbued with an apostolic spirit views prayer as a means, an instrument to enable the individual to more discerningly and fully serve the neighbour. As indicated in "The Apostolate of the Laity", Pope Paul VI said "The greatest temptation for brothers is that we become so caught up in our apostolic work that we lose contact with the energizing vision, the driving force that animates those works. Of course our apostolate is important. We must love God "with the sweat of our brows and the strength of our arms, but our apostolate must flow from our experience of God, of his Spirit, bursting out of the very heart of human existence ....". In other words, our spirituality must be fully alive through works of mercy.

If the Spirit is fully alive in us, the apostolic activities will surely be a striking sign in the world that the Kingdom of God is at hand. As Chittister says, "The religious who does not attend to the spiritual life does not have one. The religious whose life is bound up in the spiritual quest never knows failure and never expects success, never knows success and never gives in to failure. It is finding God in what we do that is the measure of success. It is walking with God wherever we go that makes failure impossible".

(Brothers, Sisters, associate members and friends at the chapel of de Beyart during the recollection time)

Apart from prayer, our apostolic life has a number of supporting systems which are closely linked. Apart from it being spiritually rooted, apostolate should be done in the spirit of Jesus who is the source of it and entrenched in the spirit of our Founders. To be deeply infused with an apostolic spirit, we first of all need to have the personal experience of being sent to be a witness of God's love among God's people. Therefore prayer, in whatever form is “the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.” It renews the strength of the apostle on his missionary journey of apostolate. The active worker who has no interior life does something else and not apostolate. Prayer and action should go hand in hand. Divorced from action, prayer tends to be an escape route.


(Raphael Besigrinee,  member of General Council 2012-2018 and 2018-2024

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