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8:4-6, 9-12; Matthew 9:9-13)
we continue reflecting on Oblate
formation in the formation houses of the anglophone sub-region, I
can’t help thinking of the Immense Hope project that will be deepened
during the General Chapter. And I ask myself the following two questions:
What kind of Oblate do we need to form today so as to assure a good future
for our congregation? And what kind of formators does the congregation
require in the present day context of our different societies?
the light of the gospel of today, I would like to share with you a short
meditation on the spiritual meaning of our Christian and religious vocation
in the church.
as example, Matthew who follows Jesus without really understanding much
about why the Lord is calling him, I think that the quality of oblate
formation depends on three things:
First of all, a capacity to listen to the voice of the One who calls us
through the events and experiences of our personal lives. This pre-supposes
a certain interior silence, an ability to concentrate and to listen. Religious
have a need to give time to prayer and the people we serve are always
happy to see in us, men who are men of prayer.
Secondly, the quality of our formation depends on the capacity to respond
generously to God’s call. This requires faith, love and a detachment
or renunciation of oneself. This is so because a vocation is always the
response of love to the love of God. That is why the people of today expect
to see this witness of love among those who have embraced a consecrated
Thirdly, we need a real capacity to serve Jesus, the church, the congregation,
the people of God. This supposes availability, openness to the poor, the
spirit of the cross. Oblates must never forget their first vocation which
consists in being at the service of the poor.
while seeking to find ways of improving the quality of oblate formation,
we must not lose the meaning of our prophetic vocation, in the example
of Amos. It would be a great pity if our specialised studies or our academic
qualifications were to distance us from that first duty entrusted to us
by St Eugene de Mazenod. It would be a pity also to put too much emphasis
on the priestly vocation while forgetting that we are first of all Christians
before being religious or priests.
effect, as Christians, we are called to faithfulness; a fidelity to our
baptismal vocation which consists in loving God and neighbour, living
in unity in the church and committing ourselves to the mission of the
church. Indeed a vocation is always a call to mission. And this mission
is essentially to speak to people of Jesus Christ by the example of our
Christian life. And that is why any lack of understanding or any significant
disunity within a formation team can be destructive of the oblate life.
if our formation is to prepare Oblates who are responsible, as Fr. Mubesala
said, the first condition in order to arrive at that goal, is to help
our candidates have a solid spiritual experience, a real experience of
God. But, it is impossible to help our young people in this sense if we
ourselves do not have a personal relationship with God.
other words, all Oblates and especially those of us involved in the formation
ministry, need always to pray for the grace to encounter the Lord in a
personal and real way. It is only then that we are able to act like persons
who are responsible for their own vocation and religious commitments in
the world of today.
we simply act under the negative influence of our society, losing all
the good motivation of our vocation.
us pray, during this Eucharist, that the Lord may give us the courage
to be faithful to our Christian and religious vocation.