Reflection for July 23rd – Final Vow Retreat

From July 18th through July 24th we will be sharing daily reflections from the Final Vow Retreat in Bungoma, Kenya. We ask that Brothers and Associates join Brothers Moses Wafula Barasa, Serge Lumbala Kachunga, Daniel Ongeso Ohola, Marc Kabwita Mufuka, and René Mambwe Kijiba in reflection, as these brothers prepare for their Final Vows. Please keep these brothers in your prayers, as well as their retreat leaders, Brothers Larry Harvey and Richard Mazza.

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But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit,
a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.

Matthew 13: 8

For your part,
He asks you in return
to make His word your home.

To do this
you must be willing
to spend time each day
in solitude and prayer,
opening yourself to His living Word

It is this communion with the living God
which is at the heart of your life
as son of the Father,
disciple of Jesus,
witness of His Spirit,
quickened member of His Body,
and brother to the world.

Fundamental Principles

In today’s first reading from Jeremiah, we read:  “Before I formed you in the womb I knew  you,/ before you were born I dedicated you . . .”  It is by a continual and humble dialogue with God’s word that we come to know and to realize the one whom we are who has been known of God from before the moment of our conception.  Our Fundamental Principles remind us of the centrality of the daily spiritual practice of “opening ourselves” to God’s “living Word.”  This is how the seed of God’s word finds rich soil in us and produces the fruit of discipleship, witness, and brotherhood.  This practice requires of us that we come to the word each day in a spirit of humility and unknowing.  Although the words are at first very familiar, we must come to them as if hearing them for the first time.  We must allow ourselves to realize how much of what they say we don’t understand, and then we must sit before them and wait upon being shown their meaning for us and being willing to shape our lives this day in accordance with that meaning.  If we make God’s word our home, we shall discover that home as the place where we can be formed more and more into the original self that God created us to be.

The call we are to and for the world, our task or assignment as servant to the world, comes out of our deepest originality.  Fr. Adrian van Kaam writes of our “origination” in God.

The Christian believes that he originates from God as a unique person.  The Eternal Father calls him in Christ to be himself out of love for God and man.  To be sure, Christian spirituality speaks about giving up myself, forgetting myself, dying to the old man.  This does not mean, however, that a Christian should lose his identity or fuse with the Godhead.  It means that as a Christian, I should distance myself from false self-images.  I should not strive after an isolated God-like self.  I must give up self-centered plans and projects.  I must find my original self as hidden in God.  The original life of a Christian, as St. Paul says, is hidden in  Christ.  The Eternal Father originates each one of us in Him.

Each person is called to become his own self and yet to become at-one with God.  I must become the unique person I am meant to be.  The more I become what my Creator called me to be originally, the more I will be united with my Divine Origin.  This union with my Origin deepens my originality.  Mine is an originality that God wills from eternity.  He originated me as precisely this person and nobody else.

Adrian van Kaam, CSSP, On Being Yourself

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