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10.03.2018 15:56:53 10460x read.
Brothers of One Another.

Brothers of One Another.

From my first years in the FIC Congregation I have experienced being a Brother as a beautiful ideal for life as well as a road to travel.

Our Constitutions always supply the ideal. From these we can learn how to be Brothers. Every time I reflect on the community of brothers, my goals become higher and at the same time I evaluate my own actions as a Brother and adjust. 

I want to thank my family for being my first school of fraternal life. Brotherhood wasn’t taught, but it was experienced. This has given me images and experiences which I believe developed my sense of brotherhood. In my siblings I saw differences in character and I have always admired my parents for directing us towards living together in balance, giving us guidance along with our daily bread. The older siblings took care of the younger ones and we all became strongly attached to one another.

During my formation with the FIC Brothers I noticed that we had older Brothers who were our examples and so infused in me an ever stronger sense of brotherhood. I remember one sympathetic Brother who spoke few words but said much with simple gestures of closeness, and a Brother who taught us our duties and was admirable in his consistency of action. And I know that the Brother who was patient, cheerful and loyal to his mission taught me those same virtues.  

We call ourselves Brothers and we form communities to live together. To be a Brother requires continuous effort. I have dreams of an ideal community, where we could live happily and in unity, a community where I can feel safe, where mutual trust generates a communal growth. But I have to accept that we are all different, with life experiences of our own. It is necessary that we know each other well, and that we understand the reality of being Brothers, so that we can create a climate of mutual trust and respect, know each other’s joys and griefs and deepest ambitions, in order to be able to find shared community goals and establish collective aims and actions. Often we need to evaluate the motivations for what we do, in order to take decisions which really are constructive for the community.

For example, I am fascinated by the idea of being good and doing good for the people around us and for my fellow Brothers. But at times I have wanted to do good for one Brother and I ended up doing something not so good for another fellow Brother. And I was given to understand clearly that that was wrong. And then I wonder: How could this happen? Did I perhaps not listen to that person carefully enough? Was I trying to please only one and not the others? Such things make it necessary for me to question my own movitations.

We say “Our life is guided by the well-being of our fellow Brothers in the community”, but more than once I have wondered how close I really am to them, whether I support and inspire them enough, whether I thank them enough for what they do for me. Does it cost so much to ask forgiveness, to show recognition of their brotherly actions?

I always strive to see the good in my fellow Brothers, I apologize if they are not happy with me, but I find it is not always easy to recognize their strenghts and much easier to notice their weaknesses, so I make an effort to comment on their positive qualities and to appreciate their values. But I also need to be able to express criticism in a constructive manner, without completely hiding my feelings when someone among them does something I can’t live with.

At the moment I feel grateful and contented with the human wealth of my fellow Brothers in the community, and thankful for their efforts in working for God and His people.

For me it is not difficult to take care of a sick Brother – what is difficult is doing it in an organised way, involving others in the community as well. A sick Brother or a Brother with a problem is a matter of shared responsability. Again, I have to examine my motives for taking care of such a person. I can remember Cornelio Joore with his complicated complaints telling me that he did not derserve so much of my time and attention, and that too made me reconsider motives. I then realized that he thought he was making a nuisance of himself with his needs, and it stung me. I told him I saw him as a kind of sick parent who needed me. But his question made me look again, to see if that was the truth of my motives. I could have said he represented the suffering Jesus I wanted to give succour to, as people sometimes say in such situations. Or that it was my duty to take care of him, and that was closer to the truth.  

It is important to recognize with humility that being a Brother to others is sometimes as complex as the differences between the personalities of Brothers. And there are times when community life is not so attractive. I can’t complain, I myself am only human, with my own weaknesses and faults, I can be as uncomfortable to live with as the next man. But recognition of our own faults can lead us into transforming dynamics. God may intervene to our benefit. He can give us hope and the faith that after winter, spring will bloom again, that communal life may bring us humanity and warmth, inside and outside ourselves, not in praise for ourselves but so that we will recognise the living Jesus in all. I believe and trust that this is so.

Diego Izquierdo, fic

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