GENERAL COUNCIL F.I.C. - Prins Bisschopsingel 22, 6211 JX Maastricht, The Netherlands  Phone: *31 (0) 43 3508373
Monday, December 16 2019  - 9 User Online  

21.07.2016 09:37:37 5300x read.
Commitment to The Mission of Our Congregation.

The purpose of our call as Christians is two-fold: “to be with Jesus” and “to be delegated to spread the Good News". The first and main purpose is “to be with Him”; to “stay with the Lord”. As followers of Jesus, we encounter Him through prayers, meditation and contemplation. We meet Him when serving other human beings, and we unite with Him in sacraments, especially in Eucharist. The second purpose is “to be delegated to spread the Good News”. The disciples were called to spread Jesus' liberating message: To make His life their own and his Mission their mission. Christian faith is not individualistic faith. Our faith allows us to accept the responsibility to serve our fellow human beings as sons and daughters of one Father. Thus, the true light of faith and the Good News we have heard must be passed on to our brothers and sisters. 
One of our commitments as members of the FIC congregation is be fully responsible for the apostolic mission of the congregation and able to pass it on to other brothers in order to preserve the legacy of the preceding brothers. The involvement includes aspects of creation, feeling, and intention to keep developing the apostolic possibilities of the congregation, while adhering to the spirit of our founders, Mgr. Rutten and Bro. Bernardus. The commitment of our brothers to the apostolic mission is a form ensuring the existence of congregation’s mission and being loyal to it. The FIC congregation will continue to exist and survive if FIC brothers live the early spirituality and charism creatively; also if we respond to the signs of the times in a transformative way and continuously renew ourselves radically in deep prayer, faith and experience of Christ.
As members of the congregation, we need to reflect on many aspects of our consecrated life and also our apostolic life in terms of our brotherhood in community, reflection on our vows, leadership, apostolic forms, forms of services, preaching and the formation of our candidates. We have to ask ourselves: Do we really embrace our spirituality and continuously re-invent the original spirit in creative ways?  Are we open to the signs of times and able to respond to them in a transformative way? Do we renew ourselves continuously in deep prayer, faith and experience of Christ? An example of re-interpretation in creative ways is interpreting our mission of “missio ad gentes” as “missio inter gentes”. 
1. Consecrated Life Challenge
Every era has its own challenges. I would like to mention some reflective issues that I have discovered: attitudes or life styles related to the vow of poverty, recent global consumerism that seduces us to have lazy yet joyful life, abuse of public property or money, selfishness while ignoring efforts to defend the underprivileged and fighting to improve their lives. Attitude or life style related to the vow of celibacy has two main challenges. On one side, people do not dare to develop personal love for others; rather, they become cold, frozen, and closed individuals. On the other side, people cannot resist the temptation of the current life style and they play love in sexual affairs and other entertainment as substitute for love. Sexual harassment committed by priests and religious published in mass media is a warning for us. In terms of loyalty, there is a threat of individualism in which people admire personal interests based on individual plans and wills rather than seeking God’s will in community. Besides, consecrated life suffers when people ignore prayers and meditation as holy moments to meet God because people are too busy with other kinds of business. From the point of view of fraternal leadership, the biggest threat for the leader is if he is tempted to abuse power and does not serve his brothers and sisters in modest ways. In fact, Jesus once said: “Your leader is one” and “all of you are brothers”.
2. Consecrated Life in the Future
Generally, members of a fraternity are divided into three groups. The first group is small and consists of people with a pioneering spirit; they have a deep and radical understanding of consecrated life and fraternal apostolic spirit. The second group, the biggest, is the mediocre group who live better lives in community without being militant or having a fighting spirit. The third, a small group of people, who have always been the troublemakers for themselves and community. Fraternity will move forward if some of the mediocre type are endorsed and pushed into those with the pioneering spirit.
Judging from some demographic factors, in the future members of religious congregations will decrease because the number of children in new families is only two or three. For this reason, we should work together with the laity to inspire them with spiritual fraternity, and make them partners of our consecrated life and mission. The laity forms 99% of Church members in my country. If we succeed in inviting and actively involving them as our partners, consecrated life and fraternity missionary work will be uplifted. 
As Church, there are many religious fraternities. However, all of us actually work in the Lord’s one and same vineyard. Therefore, the collaboration among us need to be strengthened, either for the interest of all the Church members and for our own fraternity. By working together creatively, we can sharpen the awareness of our charism and contemplate more authentically.
Every fraternity has roots in the local church. So, fraternity members need to interpret their charism and spirituality in the context of the local church, work together with the church leaders and all the existing church members, while trying to figure out what our fraternity can contribute in concrete terms to the larger church. Members of consecrated life should, as much as possible, work together with everyone from all religions and groups who possess good will to help human beings, for example, in areas related to justice, peace, and the existence of universe. 
On top of all, we should realize that we are called to be with Christ and to resume His work, so that His life becomes our life, and His mission becomes ours. This is the secret that decides the future of members of religious congregations. We are called to become witnesses of Christ in His Almighty Spirit. “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8)
According to Pope Francis consecrated life should embrace the future with full hope, not only because of our strengths and achievements, but because He who calls us is faithful. “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Mat. 28:20)

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