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08.06.2023 20:41:16 1723x read.
Flowing water my journey as a brother Gratitude (Br. Justin Rev. Bintarto FIC)

Flowing water my journey as a brother Gratitude 

Br. Justin Rev. Bintarto FIC


I was born to Mr. Albertus Marsono and Mrs. Fransiska Xaveria Suratilah. My parents are from Kulon Progo, Yogyakarta. I studied at State Primary School in Jatiroto, Kanisius Junior High School and Sanjaya Senior High School in Nanggulan. I was educated as a candidate for the brothers FIC after graduating from high school in 1994.

My fascination with the brothers FIC began when Br. Herman Yosep Sagiman Seno Susilo came to my school and introduced the brothers FIC to us. Br. Herman, who was living in Boro Community at the time, held a vocation promotion rally. When I heard the brothers were going to have a recollection in Boro Community, I decided to take part. There, I met several other young men. The brothers in Boro Community introduced us to the brothers’ Congregation and their apostolate. At the end of the activity, the brothers also invited us to join the second recollection in Semarang.


Taking into account the experience of the recollection in Boro Community, I finally decided to attend the second recollection in Semarang with two of my friends. There, I met other young people. Apparently, the recollection was organized by several congregations. The FIC Brother who attended the recollection was Heribertus Iriyanto Mulyono.After participating in the recollection activities, I become more interested in getting to know the FIC brothers. I took part in the entrance test to become FIC brother at the Van Lith Senior High School in Muntilan. 

Like Running Water

As the youngest high school graduate, I participated in the orientation activities smoothly. The courage to complete the orientation period is a form of learning to be responsible; responsible for my own decisions without being forced by others to become FIC brother. I remained the same during the postulancy and novitiate periods. Of course, the process of adapting to the environment and my friends and various teachers was also a positive experience. I went through a lot of growth among my group mates during this period.

The thing that kept me persevered through the postulancy and novitiate is the role of my group mates. Through them, I became more mature; mature in thinking and patient in attitude. In addition to this I was strengthened in carrying out tasks. My personality has also developed a lot. This is where I feel grateful to have colleagues who helped me grow in my formation.

Not all of my colleagues continued their vocational journey. One by one my colleagues reduced in number and chose other ways of life. I felt sad when they left their initial formation, one after the other. Nevertheless, I still wanted to continue my journey. They offered support in my growth, but I felt living this life was my choice; that it did not depend on the decisions of others. I likened my call to a stream of water. In the book of Sirach, it is written "I only flow like a ditch from a river, and like a drain to the great garden (24:30).

Like small sewer water that flows and goes with the current, I let myself flow with various processes and stages within the congregation. A congregation is a "botanical park" that contains fields of rice, gardens, ponds, rivers, etc, that require the presence of water. It appeared I was directed by God to keep flowing and not know where this flow was going to stop. I believed that it was the Lord Jesus who was supporting me. "Whosoever believeth in me, as the Scriptures call it: Out of his heart shall flow streams of living water" (John 7:38).

After the period of initial formation, I was accepted to make my first vows in 1997. My first assignment as a junior brother was to be an administrative worker at Pangudi Luhur Primary School, in South Jakarta. I carried out this task from 1997 to 1999. Then, I was given the assignment to continue my studies in Yogyakarta. I majored in Bahasa Indonesia Education at Sanata Dharma University and live in Kidul Loji Community, Yogyakarta. When I was a full time student I was full of creativity and enthusiasm. Living with other students in the Kidul Loji Community added a lot of insight. My brothers and I have several agendas such as visits to the brothers' families, religious joint activities of various congregations, development as juniors in the community, and various other mentoring activities. Living in the community was for me a stimulus for continuing my journey as a brother. I was like running water that has just passed through a winding but gentle path. The challenge occurred when the river was winding, but I lived it with hope because of the support of my brothers in the community. 

Finding Gratitude 

In 2022, Bros. Simon Andrus and Br. Anton Hardianto my group mates, and I celebrated 25 years of religious life.Humanly, the 25-year journey as a brother flowed like water. It didn't feel that I was going to get that far. On the occasion of the “triduum” and the Medior Course at the Khalwat Roncalli House, Salatiga, I was led to discover the meaning of my journey. Thus, 25 years of living as Brother is not limited to meaningless running water along the river, but water that can irrigate various plants along the river. Some of my experiences are interpreted as gratitude, such as learning to live as a brother, being responsible in my duties, and bearing witness as a member of the Church.

First, I learned to live as a brother. Then I learned to live with other brothers who are not related to me by blood. In this way, I am confirmed by the FIC Constitution article 36 (Brothers of One Another), which states "we call one another 'brother' and try to live up to this word in our community life”. Encounters with my fellow brothers in several communities provided me with a variety of social wealth, for example, living together, working together, and obeying various rules in the community. In addition to cultivating social attitudes, I also gained the wealth of understanding other people’s personalities with all the advantages and disadvantages of being a human being. Here, I realized that the uniqueness of individuals was God's intention that my brothers and I are meant to complement one another. It was this idea that led me to the realization that human beings cannot live alone. 

Secondly, I learned to be responsible for tasks. The task given by the congregation, especially in the province, I interpret as a form of learning to be responsible. The concept of learning makes me feel like being among other colleagues. I learned to be self-knowing and humble. I was aware that the task was given to me because I was a brother. Personally I appreciated the presence of my colleagues in each school and institution. They had longer task experiences in that school compared to me, so I learned a lot of responsibilities such as, time sharing, management, attention, and various types of official reporting. Inside tasks such as those in the provincial secretariat and outside tasks like those in schools still have consequences and responsibilities. If I have any difficulties, there is usually some help given. This is where I experienced a lot of support. “... the community supports and inspires the individual brothers in their ministry; not only by means of faithful communal discernment, but also by practical assistance and interest , by empathy and understanding, and by special attention to brothers who experience problems in their work.”(FIC Constitution article 32).

Thirdly, I learned to be a witness of the Church. The awareness that I am a member of the Church becomes the basis for interpreting my life. The FIC Constitution article 27 states: "the personal tasks of each of us should be seen in the light of our corporate apostolic mission in the Church." I strive to do this by engaging in activities of the local parish. It is not easy to take part in church activities when apostolic activities are already consuming a lot of my time. However, I was challenged to think of family members who also have responsibilities in the church. They too have to divide their time between the two. 

I am truly grateful to God for my calling which has entered its 25th year. I can remember the level of happiness of my family members at the celebration. Till now, I remain a joyful brother especially as I was entrusted with some duties of the Provincial Council. Also being able to live in several communities together with fellow brothers is a source of joy. However I know the struggles of my life are not over. Reaching the 25th year of my religious life, I still have to prepare myself to walk the path forward. "Strenuously, step by step, by trial and error, we attempt to achieve this. Thus we try to grow in love, faithfully, and hopefully. In this way we shall experience the joy of our union with Christ, with our fellow brothers, and with many others" (FIC Constitution article 99).


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