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30.04.2024 18:40:10 278x read.
Ongoing Formation in an Anxious Space (By. Michael Sidharta Susila)

Ongoing Formation in an Anxious Space

Life as a brother is often intertwined with complexities of anxiety. The continual growth of our apostolate and the increasing demand for the FIC's presence in various Church initiatives and places present ongoing challenges. Despite the limitations imposed by the declining number of brothers and the discouraging low rate of new memberships, requests for our apostolic presence in many parts of the church persist. The rise in the number of retired brothers also raises concerns. This, in no small way, also affects leadership succession in the Congregation.

In response to the looming challenges and undue anxieties, many brothers find themselves shouldering multiple leadership roles, and some feel compelled to persist in their work, extending beyond anticipated durations of working time and age limits. Consequently, the ceaseless nature of the brothers' responsibilities can lead to a loss of focus on the initial motivation of the choice to be a Brother.

The essence of ongoing formation therefore becomes evident when the brothers continue to embody the core values of their religious life. Drawing inspiration from St. Paul's teachings to the Philippians (3:20-21), we are reminded that, as citizens of heaven, our ultimate anticipation is for the transformative power of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Embedded in the tradition of our Congregation is the pursuit of the salvation of souls. It is a supernatural value that stands in contrast to worldly aspirations. The parable of the wedding banquet in Matthew 22:1-14 underscores the importance of ongoing formation in continuously aligning ourselves with the expectations of the king's feast.

The dynamic nature of appropriateness in joining the king's party necessitates ongoing adjustments, mirroring the constant changes in living conditions and psychological and physical transformations. However, a significant oversight has occurred in recognizing the need for ongoing formation among medior brothers, with many facing challenges and some departing from the Congregation. The truth is echoed in Matthew 22:14: "Many are invited, but few are chosen." This biblical text reinforces the necessity of ongoing formation. People who give up on maintaining their formation run the risk of being left out of the celebration of their brotherhood in the future. This process is vital for ensuring the certainty of our potential for obtaining for ourselves and others the salvation of souls.

Paul's words to the Philippians (3:7-11) highlight the transformative power of ongoing formation. The desire to unite our lives with the knowledge of Christ, allows us to shed worldly concerns and attain righteousness through faith. Ongoing formation becomes the catalyst for a profound transformation, enabling us to align our lives with the sufferings and resurrection of Christ. Responding to St. Paul's invitation in Philippians 3:13-14, we are urged to forget the past, strive toward the future, and run toward the goal of God's call through Christ Jesus.

In conclusion, ongoing formation is not merely a religious duty but a manifestation of our deepest longings as FIC brothers. It serves as our pathway to liberate ourselves from the anxieties that threaten to obscure the true purpose of our lives and our noble vocation.


Bro. Michael Sidharta Susila

(Vice Provincial Superior, Indonesia)

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