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31.01.2020 03:22:08 789x read.
INSPIRATION
COMMUNITY LIFE.

COMMUNITY LIFE

 

We call ourselves brothers and earnestly desire to be brothers to one another and to all humankind both in receiving and in giving love.”(Essential reflections)

 

We want to remember what Bro. Bernardus said: ”Brotherly love is the queen of the congregation.” He has left it to us as our heritage. Have we honoured this heritage in the course of the years? (Bro. Bruno: FIC Heritage 1990)

‘The Superior General (Bro. Bernardus), although heartbroken, spared neither trouble nor sacrifice to inspire the brothers with courage, confidence and submission to the will of God. Thus he arrived in Hasselt (Belgium) late in the evening on foot and, after having stayed with the brothers for some hours during the night, went back again on foot to Maastricht, not having enjoyed a moment’s rest: just in order to comfort the brothers, who truly needed consolation and encouragement.’ (Annual Report 1858)

“Brothers! You find it difficult, raising many objections, to deny yourselves smoking for all time and offer it to the Lord as a sacrifice; well then, you know that I myself at times indulge in the habit, when I am travelling perhaps or visiting people or on other occasions. Well, I too shall give it up from now on, and we shall offer it up to the Lord in honour of the Immaculate Virgin Mother. You know that I love to share joys and sorrows with you.” (Bro. Bernardus, 1860)

“And I beg herewith all members of the Congregation to forgive me for any scandal of offence I might have given them - for the little care I may have shown in respect of the Congregation and of each one in particular - for the displeasure I may have caused them, perhaps willingly and knowingly. I forgive everything and everybody for the love of Jesus and Mary - and I command myself humbly to the prayers of the brothers. Let us be one in the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.” (Bro. Bernardus: During the celebration of the Silver Jubilee of the Congregation 1865)

Nothing is more necessary for the purpose of fruitfully governing a community than love. Ah, if only every superior, or whoever he may be who is charged with the direction of souls, understood this well and was imbued with it: “Those who love God must love their brothers also.” An ordinary love is not sufficient for a Superior: along with the love of a fatherly heart he must also have the deep tenderness of a mother.

Love does not demand that we waste our time or spinelessly give in, for this would rather presuppose weakness of character. Try to have the same love for all; this does not mean that for some you may or should not have special concern, as e.g. for novices; be especially considerate for them, since - as you know - they struggle with many difficulties and temptations; be for them like a compassionate mother; instil in them courage, patience and trust; encourage them to come and talk about their difficulties (Bro. Bernardus)

I may well say: I will always be ready to give love and I will always be ready to receive love, but I do not always manage, sometimes I fall short of my own ideals. My love is not perfect.

My love is deficient. I am and shall always be a weak and broken human being. I may be like that. God knows I am like that and still He loves me.

I dare say that in all those years that I have been a member of the FIC, I have met with many, many beautiful and good experiences from fellow-brothers. I am very grateful for it, and maybe as weak human beings we sometimes make life difficult for one another, but we go on with each other, we do not let one another go, do not abandon one another, hold on to one another, learn to forgive, and go on together again and again. (Bro. Bruno; FIC Heritage 1990)

(Collected by Bro. Maarten Bouw)








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