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14.09.2017 14:49:25 1484x read.
OASIS Encounter, The Netherlands, on Wednesday, 13 September, 2017.

Oasis Encounter Netherlands.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017.

The whole day was devoted to goal-setting! After the usual morning prayer followed by breakfast, all were together in the conference hall. The mood could best be described as very solemn; apparently all knew what was ahead of us.  Bro. Guido led the group in singing “peace is flowing like a river”. As a day set aside for setting our goals, a number of exercises were created to facilitate this task, so Bro. Guido introduced the first exercise of the day: "Life in Review". In this exercise, participants in reference to the past, identified things they want to keep doing, things they want to stop doing and things or habits they want to develop. Participants were asked to make a list of each.  These are the goals of life. This was done taking into consideration the following areas: self, apostolate,  community, Faith or spiritual life.

To facilitate the setting of realistic goals, this was immediately followed by another exercise which required each to make a list of some events of the past: lessons learned, the most loving services ever performed, the most satisfying  event in life, the biggest risk ever taken, a relationship we have improved, etc. Each was to contemplate on these areas using their symbols and in relation to these, answer the following questions: What word or symbol best sums up and describes your past experience? What three things do I like to keep doing next year? (Letting be). What three or more things do I want to stop doing next year ? (Letting go). What new things, exercises/ habits do I want to develop next year ?(Letting grow). Individuals then went their own to reflect on and internalize these guidelines. This was a true examination of our lives.

After break came the actual time for setting our goals.  All were reminded that goals must be specific, measureable, attainable, realistic and time-sensitive (SMART). In setting our goals some rules need to be adhere to, namely,  don’t just think about them, but write them down;  Suspend reality, don't filter, qualify or judge; and Aim high. Also, goals must be stated in the positive, for instance "I want to give more attention to the sick this year". State them in the first person singular, for instance , I am obedient.   Be sure your goals are authentic and not what others expect of you.  Make sure they are aligned with your values, or fit your desires and standards.

After having heard and experienced many things from the Oasis encounter, there are certain areas of our life that we need to work on or improve. Therefore it is now time to DESIGN THE PERSON we have always wanted to be or the life we have always wanted to live. A human portrait representing an FIC brother was given for this exercise.  In order to grow into a truly holistic individual, one has to consider a number areas in life, for example, the physical, spiritual, intellectual moral and social dimensions. Each was given the opportunity to indicate the extent of growth in each of these areas.

On the other side of the human portrait was "A wheel of life" . This is a chart designed on a paper with eight areas of life, designed to facilitate the setting of balanced goals  by giving consideration to certain areas in life including apostolate, ongoing formation, care for the environment, among others. Here we need to challenge our inner potentials and conquer our limiting believes and give a voice to our dreams. For nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1: 37). This exercise was done at the individual level in a personal and reflective manner.

Brothers reconvened for the afternoon session at 15:00h . We started by singing the song “It's a long road to freedom” led by Bro. Guido. Whether participants already have finished setting their goals or not, we were asked to assume that we have set them.  We have decided what we want and who we want to become in the achievement of these goals. It is now time to take action, to start executing these goals. We were to concentrate on the top three goals and answer a number of questions.

In the next 24 hours what will you do to realize one of your goals or put it to action? Identify what you need to do in the next 30 days to put your goals to action.   There were nine of these help questions to facilitate the execution and sustainability of the goals set. The goals now become the road map by which we navigate the direction of our life. From the day we set our goals following, our life should be one of movement towards greatness and extraordinary accomplishment.

Brothers went individually to complete the exercises connected with setting of the goals. The last part of the afternoon was an opportunity to share the goals in language groups. This was not mandatory. My impression was that the brothers took these exercises very serious. I heard from a few who willingly shared their goals: I will do more spiritual reading; I will give moral talks to my students, I will pray the rosary, I will be more hospitable to visitors, among others.   

One thing about these exercises is clear: they are very useful for the growth of any human person especially religious. They are not just meant for brothers who participate in the OASIS encounter but also for any brother who wishes to grow spiritually and those who wish to make their life more meaningful for others. Therefore anybody reading this stand the chance of benefitting from these exercises if he truly want to live a more meaningful religious life.

One handicap has to be pointed out. Due to language challenges, participants did not fully benefit from sharing especially in plenary discussions. Invariably, most discussions took place in language groups that are not so much diverse. Personal interactions would have also been richer if it was possible for participants to speak one particular language.  Nevertheless, the benefits of the exercises, the interactions and the friendships shared cannot be overlooked. Thus the day ended with a feeling of satisfaction at the benefits reaped so far. We therefore gave praise to our Mother Mary by reflecting on the joyful mysteries of the rosary to crown the day's activities. 

Raphael Besigrinee

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