We had a big opportunity to participate with Rev. Fr.Jerry Lobo ofm , from India, who is well rinowned for his experience in the field of franciscan spirituality in our part of the world.
These are the themes that he wanted to share with us during the sessions.
- Fluid society of today: our religious and franciscan identity,
- Desert virtues,
- Becoming the Christ - fulfilling the Gospel today
- Contemplation and compassion: living the ecological Christ
- Franciscan leadership: becoming the graced companion
- Spirituality of mission
- Clare of Assisi: Model of the Woman
Rev. Fr. Jerry Lobo reminded to us, as consecrated persons after the example of Francis: “This is what I wish, This is what I seek, This is what I long to do with all my heart ”(1Cel 22).
It is an evangelical sensitivity: a constant return to the Gospel by firmly remaining in the world. It was not an escape from the realities of everyday life but a remaining with the reality by penetrating things and finding God there.
Pope Francis by announcing the year of the Consecrated life is almost looking back at the fire that engulfed Francis and his companions in a society marked by radical changes. Today while our society is seeking frantically the “earthly absolutes” which alone would bring fulfillment to human existence. Humanity may have forgotten the need for the transcendent absolute, God. But consecrated life has not given up. It is not retired. It is not dead. Large numbers may not be there. Consecrated life does not need masses to show it is valid.
What he asks of us today is not so much success in our ministry but the commitment of fidelity maintained through every moment of our life. Our responsibility is to live in the present faithfully that the future may be exciting. For a more life and a more consecrated and Franciscan life, we need the witness, the wisdom and the experience of the elders, we need the responsibility and creativity of the middle-aged, the idealism and the enthusiasm of the young. Today we can take nothing for granted. Instead we need to continue to search for meaning in the best way possible.
Like Francis, as consecrated persons, we are called to contemplate the incarnation of Christ. Therefore, our consecrated life is not a gated community but an open house where “life” may be found for those seeking for meaning. Concrete way to contemplate the incarnation is to develop a lifestyle that avoids the non-essentials, instead being content with the little.
Contemplation of the incarnation is not a luxury of a chosen few but the responsibility of all consecrated people which Francis came to realize in the encounter with the leper. It is not an abstract exercise but a definite commitment to some one: our brother, our sister, our world, our God.
It is not only praying but becoming prayer!