GENERAL COUNCIL F.I.C. - Prins Bisschopsingel 22, 6211 JX Maastricht, The Netherlands  Phone: *31 (0) 43 3508373
Saturday, April 20 2019  - 7 User Online  

07.09.2018 16:25:34 616x read.


Apart from my family, I have received my basic education from the FIC Brothers. Through this General Chapter, I have received an ongoing education. Thank you very much, for inviting me to have this three weeks course: not only intellectually, but also affectively and spiritually. Theology, especially that of Innsbruck, Austria, about which I have written a dissertation, does not consist primarily of  studies in the laboratory or library, but in the life experience of the Children of God. Once more, thank you.

When I first got in contact with the FIC Brothers (1949), I was still beginning to be a student of their elementary school and more than half of the Brothers were Dutch. The Brothers served in their schools and gave also religious education. There were only some Catholic schools in my home-city, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The economical and political, as well as cultural situation was very simple: educational needs were also very simple. The Brothers taught in their schools and helped much in their parishes. That way, the Brothers have become Witnesses of the Love of God in a very simple organization, with a simple method and worked according to their traditional way. They live as an internally and externally friendly community. Their Vision was build by their Founders: building a loving community of the Children of God, as witnesses of Jesus Christ, full of the Holy Spirit to proclaim the Will of the Father. Through their educational services they have tried to do their Mission: helping people to know the world and one another to come to an open friendship, deep relationship and intelligent life.

Nowadays, the FIC Brothers have grown and the situation in the world has changed significantly. The persons in the Congregation received much more education, with different disciplines, among a very secularized and technocratic society. To be witnesses of the Love of God, they need new understanding of the world, people of their time, universal relationships and ways to build a new communion with one another and with the partners in life. To be witnesses of the Love God, the Brothers need a new theology of the religious life.

Prerequisites of a good and contextual religious life are a good affective life and an intelligent one, through which we become more religious nowdays. There we can find

  1. 1.     The meaning of creation of God the Father. With the times, from the Brothers I have learned to more and more understand always better, what has been given to us by God: the world and its natural law etc. We have learned about electricity, industrial development and in the last decades “IT”. Like in the first centuries, we had challenges and we fear much to the nature, but afterwards, we can find the Will of the Lord through finding the good sides of the nature, our environment. Through the Information Technology, we have found not only challenges and dangers, but much deeper than that, also the new way of understanding nature and even human beings. In this way of seeing things, we do not pay too much attention to possession, castes and to chairs in the high organizational or political positions: a basic foundation to renew our way of living our vows.  There lies the meaning of our love to the little in the world, our love to the most needies and environment. There are much deeper aspects and meaning in our nature, also the nature of men. That is the reason, why many Congregation and the Commission for Science in the Vatican have invited us to look positively to the IT: as a window to understand, receive and experience the love of God in faith, so that step by step we can learn to be witnesses of the love, just like the Children of Abraham have tried step by step to do the same through the whole history. That is also one of putting our faith into practice.
  2. 2.     The meaning of salvation in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Here we could find, how the merciful Lord has given the Son to transform the sinning human family into new congregation of the Children of God. From this point of view, I have experienced the meaning of unity, building of fraternal community, overcoming difference of opinion, which also our reality: but has been redeemed by Jesus and helped by Our Mother. That was exactly the messages that Brother Bernard Hoecken would like to  give to us. Through education, we can share this spiritual values to our students, the parents of the students and our friends in our various apostolate areas. It is not the sins and shortcomings, that are significants; it is also the way Jesus has transformed us into a renewed congregation. It can be our initial experience on this phase, to proclaim the Love of God, as witnesses of the Gospel. Those all are deep enrichments of our live in vows: a total commitment to Jesus Christ. Here, I have found that our faith is not something theoretical, but a logical and affective experience of God.
  3. 3.     In the Evaluation Phase, we have heard much about the way the Brothers have been grateful for the process of the General Chapter. In the words and the way they express their experiences we can feel the whispering Spirit, where He wants to whisper and how and through whom. This General Chapter has renew the Congregation as a faithful community. That is also one of my ongoing formation: to see and to listen to the Spirit, the One, who has been working in the whole enterprise that we have done, what we have been doing and what we are going to put the implications of the General Chapters into practice. We are invited to take part in the works of the Holy Spirit: in our person, in our community and in the whole Church and Society. Our faith has to do with the Message of the Holy Spirit (our whole Work and Organization are His work, but also His Good will to give us the freedom to have initiative and cocreation, even with the risk of doing evil and shortcomings). From this point of view, we received the Vision and Mission and Strategy from the Divine Director of our Projects (through Revelation etc); but we also have to think about and write down our managerial Vision and Mission and Strategy for every Work, that we believe to be His Will.
  4. 4.     Dear friends in the Lord, a General Chapter is a long process of discernment with all its preparation and process of understanding one another and afterwards of formulating we decide. But  our whole congregational life is a lifetime discernment process, of listening to the Whispering Holy Spirit and of trying to put it into practice. And most of all, we have put into practice what Bro Bernard has to focus our religious life: education. A General Chapter is an educational process with implication that we have to educate ourselves in the future: always and everywhere. Thank you! 
by: Fr. Bernard Mardiatmadja SJ.

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