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Novitiate formation - Matola

 

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28/02/2011: Mozambique

 

Along these years l have worked at the Novitiate here at Matola from 2006 up to now, I feel I have acquired some experience worthy sharing. Our goal in formation is an initiation of young novices to our way of life as well as a preparation of living it fully. Our expected product after two years is a convinced Marist apostle open to mission in the places where the church, the poor children and young people of our world call him and us to be. Mark 9:41 – 50 always strikes me. Jesus uses a strong language, to cut the hand, the foot or the eye if they do not make us effective leaders of youth. Hands, feet and eyes are essential for our mission and losing them will make our work ineffective. The big issue here is being a leader. When we become apostles(leaders) little ones both children and adults look up to us as their reference point. We need to have room in our life for our brothers and sisters who are intellectually weak, mentally handicapped, emotionally fragile, unproductive, the casualties of society, the poor and all those who look up to the strong in faith and its witness.Our church has known some of us apostles misleading the little ones by our bad example. Imagine if l am trusted as a leader, I am expected to make many copies of my virtues among the little ones, the friends of Jesus and the beloved of Champagnat, the Founder of the Marist Brothers. The little ones can easily drift away from the community when they feel ignored and can easily be led astray by the clever ones. A scandal can lead the little ones to sin or leave the community. How do fulfill feed my sheep, look after my sheep Peter? We all have authority in the church as guardians of one another.That is why Jesus says that if we mislead the little ones it could be better for us leaders to be tied a heavy stone in the neck and then thrown into the lake. I hope we do not take these words literally. All it means is that we should resign from the leadership position because we are saltless. Our words do not hold water.Many of you will tell me that since I was here a good number of newly formed Brothers made scandals which could be corrected here at the novitiate. Novitiate is the holy place and all those who enter here become holy and formation is a process.Today we speak of authority of holiness, that is, of a holy life and it is on high demand everywhere. Then the holy apostle joins the world which has lost its salt taste, no longer witnesses to its original faith. The apostle has to re-awaken their little faith by the exemplary life like St. Marcellin Champagnat at LaValla. But some of us apostles prefer to be like everybody else, though we know that others would expect a lot from us because we have gone through formation. If am addicted to alcohol, it will affect the effectiveness of my mission. I will form the little ones who will also be addicted to alcohol, like father like son.If l am addicted to TV, the little ones will be addicted likewise. If l am addicted to sexual scandals, then l will prepare the little ones to acquire a sexual scandal certificate which will sabotage the effectiveness of their mission. A good number of us who go alone unnoticed for Sunday walks, are not a good sign for those who opt for religious life that stress community life as a value. We accused we have no defense to support our innocence.Habits of coming late from the beer parties can ruin our effectiveness. There are times I have come late, and l have always explained to others. When we lose the taste our leadership as apsostles, let us renew it before we are entrusted with the little ones who look up to us as their models worthy imitation. Help me too that l may be what l know to be true. I need prayers from all of your who read my articles.Any baptized adult is a leader and can help others or mislead others who have little faith. As educated apostles we are morally bound to be people of integrity. God bless.________Simeon Banda, fms, Matola, Mozambique.

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