Comboni Lay Missionaries

The 6th General Assembly of the CLM ended in Rome… Forward in mission

Asamblea LMC Roma

Asamblea LMC RomaThe 6th General Assembly of the CLM just ended in Rome. During these days it was difficult to write and share with everyone all that was happening. It was a very intense week of group work and plenary assemblies in various languages, leading to approvals by consensus.

It was also a week of personal encounters, where we interacted with the lives of other people, and we have come to understand a little better how each one lives our common CLM in each country, and in each culture. During it, we have rejoiced in the gains, worried over the difficulties, we were encouraged to stand by the wounded and those who are ill. And all of this was done in a spirit of the international CLM family that wants to be present in mutual support of our vocation and in supporting the service the Lord entrusts to us as an international CLM movement.

Asamblea LMC RomaIt was also a privileged time of prayer and joint celebration. A time to share our faith and our common CLM vocation. Each one is called by Jesus to go out to meet humankind, having a personal encounter with the weakest and most marginalized members. Jesus, whom we are expecting during Advent, was not born in a palace among the powerful, but looked for acceptance in the peripheries and ended up being born in a humble manger. With his birth he shows us where we must be in order to meet him.

This was also a time when Mary was very much present. In our little crypt we had an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe. There Mary stands by as the intercessor of the indigenous people of America, making possible the inculturation of our faith. She is the teacher on our journey. Mary takes us to Jesus in this time of Advent, a time of hope. She, in all her different attributes, was very much present in our week, as a mother who wants to journey with us.

Asamblea LMC RomaAt the foot of the altar, Comboni constantly reminded us about the specifics of our vocation. It is a vocation that wants to be “Catholic” (universal), because the regeneration of the world will take place only if we do it together.

A globe of the world also stood by the altar, representing all these situations we are called to serve, starting from our mother earth, mistreated by over-exploitation, by taking care of its children who suffer the inequalities of this world, the unjust system of access to the resources and the marvels God planted for all, that we may have life to the full.

Asamblea LMC RomaWe shared the journey of these last six years all across the world. Many realities of our humanity came to the surface from the various places where CLM serve. We want to continue to be a Church on the move, never comfortable but moving on with humility to accompany the lives of those who are impoverished, to recognize the richness of diversity, to constantly learn together the face of God in the best possible way, as read and discovered in each world culture.

We are a community of communities intending to be present where the Lord places us. We want to look around without blending in, to reach these frontier realities, where others do not want to go, and become one with the people. We are ready to leave our land or to make our own the mission realities in our land. Because mission is not concerned with borders and geography, but with people. It is a globalized world needing a common answer.

Asamblea LMC RomaFor this we acknowledge, shout and pray: One world, one humanity, one common answer!

This is why have sung several times, that “Tudo está interligado, como se fôssemos um… tudo está interligado nesta casa común” (“all is interconnected, as if we were one… everything is intertwined in our common home”).

Now we enter a time of prayer, of discernment in order to perceive the passing of the Lord through our lives, our assembly, to understand the conclusions that received our consent.

It is a time of study, reflection and prayer in each one of our communities, because, just like the Word, these conclusions read in the community have a fuller meaning.

May the Lord grant us courage to move forward and the fidelity to stay together in Him during this missionary service.

Merry Christmas to all!

Asamblea LMC Roma

Alberto de la Portilla, CLM

Celebrating the memory of the birth of St. Daniel Comboni

Comboni

TO GIVE LIFE SO THAT ALL MAY HAVE LIFE

Solemnity of St. Daniel Comboni

10 October 2018

“I am the Good Shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep. And there are other sheep I have that are not of this fold, and these I have to lead as well. They too will listen to my voice and there will be only one flock and one shepherd.”

(Jn 10:14-16)

 

Comboni

Dear Confreres
Celebrating the memory of the birth of St. Daniel Comboni introduces us into the great mystery of the life of the Good Shepherd with a pierced heart who gave his life so that all may have life and life in abundance, especially those who do not yet belong to the table of Christ’s body, the poorest and most abandoned, so that all may become one flock under one shepherd.

We Comboni Missionaries, faithful to this tradition, to the charism and pastoral practice of our Founder, are invited to renew ourselves in this missionary commitment every day to be “at the margins of society as witnesses and prophets of fraternal relationships, based on forgiveness, mercy and the joy of the Gospel” (CA ’15 No. 1).

The mission at the margins of society required from Comboni the ability to remain firm in difficult times and fidelity to the price of life itself, because he had his gaze fixed on the pierced heart of the Crucified One, a vision of faith of the events and the embrace of Africa with a heart marked by divine love. An incarnate holiness that runs through the paths of poverty and human marginalisation, welcoming the other, the different, the poor, in an embrace of communion and dialogue; a holiness that is the divine passion present in a human heart.

This is what we have tried to express in the reflection and prayer of the Intercapitular that we have just concluded. We have been constantly attentive to the voice of the victims, the marginalised, and the great multitudes of human beings whose life is threatened by a heartless system that causes the predictable and violent death of the weakest.

This reality continues to prophetically question our presence and the quality of our missionary service, as it has questioned Comboni in his time. To respond, however, to these challenges, we need to approach each day, to the mystery of God’s love, revealed in Jesus Christ, with the spirit, gaze and heart of Comboni, with an open heart overflowing with love and the mercy of the Pierced One and, like Him, let us also be pierced by so many situations of poverty and neglect.

For St. Daniel Comboni it was clear that the contemplation of the mystery of God, crucified for love, had as its purpose to lead his missionaries to a definite way of doing mission: to witness a life lived in ‘spirit and truth’, fruit of a vivid and convincing prayer, to practice humility and obedience, as signs of a deeply Comboni spirituality. That is, to irradiate with one’s life the mystery of God Crucified in order to bring to Christ, the source of Life, all those who are hungry and thirsty for justice.

It is with these feelings that we wish to celebrate this solemnity of St. Daniel Comboni as a Comboni Family. Enter into this mystery of the Good Shepherd with a pierced heart and drink the lifeblood that renews us, that makes us look at reality through the eyes of faith, hope and charity, that heals and humanises us, that makes us become mission, “cenacle of apostles”, gift for others. “I make common cause with each of you, and the happiest day in my life will be the one on which I will be able to give my life for you” (W 3159).

May St. Daniel Comboni intercede with the Father for each one of us, for the whole Comboni Family and for the missions that are presently going through difficult situations: Eritrea, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Central African Republic.

Happy Feast day to all.
Fr. Tesfaye Tadesse Gebresilasie; Fr. Jeremias dos Santos Martins; Fr. Pietro Ciuciulla; Fr. Alcides Costa; Bro. Alberto Lamana.

“I can do all things in Him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13)

LMC

LMC

How beautiful is the wood sculpture of Africa at the feet of Christ. I allow the gaze of Comboni to penetrate me, to contemplate me. And how much of me fits into that gaze. I remember someone who once told me “it is impossible that it will not penetrate you, and question you.” And I agree every time I see this image of our tireless San Daniel Comboni.

This is the image I contemplate above the altar in the chapel of the MCCJ house in Madrid, where today I will wait until 4:00 PM, when the CLM David will come to get me to go together for the weekend at Arenas de San Pedro, about 100 miles from here. I can’t resist to enter and spend a moment with the Lord. I pray to him for the mission. Not only for my own, but for everyone’s. The mission of those who are about to go. The one of those who stay. Also in separation there is love. It means to leave what we have and earn something better: the freedom of giving ourselves to Christ. Separation is not something simply physical. It means to go out of ourselves on a daily basis. At each moment. It is what I continue to look for today, but that today is becoming more “doable.” LMC

I leave my country looking for the wisdom and the grace I need so that, in the future, I will deposit my gifts in total surrender. So during the next few months I will be in Madrid, with the family I chose, the Comboni Family, for a missiology course. From the beginning, this program inflamed my heart and brightened my eyes, I must confess, just like it is with the anxious waiting of children the day before returning to school. This is what I am grateful for even today before this Africa at the feet of Christ: the opportunity to grow in wisdom and grace.

I know that I am fragile, but in a community that lives of and for love, I feel strong. Because “all I can in Him who comforts me” (Phil 4:13). “All I can in Him who comforts me,” I repeat. It resonates in me. Only in Him and through Him I could be able to go beyond myself, to go to meet love, to be free inasmuch as I trust in Him and in his hands, loving without measure. “God does not choose the able ones, but enables those he chooses.” Today I am understanding this quite well… and I pray to God that he may make me capable in the mission to which I have been assigned. This is for me and for those who are with me. Family. Boyfriend. Friends. People in general. Each in their own right, are part of this mission and I feel the need to bring them along.

LMC“You become responsible forever, for those you have tamed.”

(Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)

And so it is… I pray for each of them, and for their mission. Pray for me as well, please. From the bottom of my heart, thanks for your trust… Not so much in me, but in God. Everything, including me, we are only possible in Him.

Take, Lord and receive

my freedom,

my memory,

my understanding

and my will,

all that I have and possess;

You gave it to me;

I return it to you, Lord.

Everything is yours,

dispose of it as you wish.

Give me your love and your grace,

and it will be sufficient.

(St. Ignatius of Loyola)

 

Keep in touch,

CLM Carolina Fiúza

CLM Community “Ayllu” in Peru

LMC Peru

To be a community is to share what we are with others, is going to the peripheries.
In this video we share what we live in Villa Ecológica (Arequipa, Peru) and the work we do with the elderly, children, families and patients at a social and pastoral level.

See and know our way, what we are, where we are and with whom we are.


CLM Ayllu in Peru

You, me and the us God calls us to be

LMC PeruYou were the community I never chose but with which I always wanted to be. Maybe because in the differences I find a little more of myself, and together we reveal a little more of ourselves.

With you I learned that you do not do mission by yourself, and what I need from you. You crossed my path and even without knowing you opened your heart and accepted me as a companion on our journey, yes, because basically this is a journey we walk every day in this piece of land beyond the realities that we both knew.

You extended your hand when I thought that nothing made sense. I realized, on that night when we prayed together and everything seemed to be crumbling, that God does not make mistakes in his plans for each one of us. You were and you are my support when everything seems hard and difficult. You are a word that does not hide, eyes that speak, you are yourself.

With you I learned the dimension of sharing and of giving, in this triangle of love, in the dynamics of the I, the you, the we.

Many times you are the eyes seeing much beyond what I see. The heart that listens to me, when I need to talk. The arms that hold me and sustain me. The hand that is always there when obstacles appear on the way. God knows why he put you on my way, and now I know it as well. May God help me to watch you and to know how to make sense of your presence in my life and in our journey.

What together we are able to be is what moves this community in search of the mission of Jesus in the world. We are silence, we are laughter, we are criticism and demands, we are limitations and the infinite, we are also the stubbornness of our lives and apprenticeship, we are tears often shared between my crying and your shoulders or embrace. We are often prayers when in silence we look at the reality in which we live.

Come what may, it does not matter. What matters is that in our imperfections we want to be of God.

We are witnesses of those who accept to grow together. We are Andrea and Paola (Paula in her native land), lives that God united to walk in the direction of a love which is learned daily, a love born of mistakes, exercised in prayer, made of silences and often of glances that say it all, made of extended hands and chores shared, of bad moods and stubbornness, of different perspectives and of two ways of acting that complement each other.

We are what each one can give of herself. We are in what you are and teach me to be. We are in what we mutually learn. We are from where we know we come from. Love.

LMC PeruWhen I realized that I was called to mission, I knew that I was being called to be community. In this journey I knew that God was calling me to be community with Andrea, as humbly they call Neuza in Peru. Arriving in Peru I understood that it was time to cross the desert. Even so, when I arrived in Peru I felt happy, totally happy and realized that Andrea was part of this happiness. A happiness filled with obstacles and difficulties, joys and hilarious mistakes, and for all this, complete. When I was called to journey with Andrea I knew and still know that God wants to teach me something through her. We met people in our lives to make us grow, to make us holy, to teach us how to walk and get closer to God. To walk with Andrea demands accepting that there will be complicated and difficult times, but that even in silence she is always there. She knows when you wake up crying and comes to hug you and only returns to bed when she is sure you are alright. She is there looking at you when it seems the world collapsed on you and instinctively she will cry with you to share your sorrow. To live with Andrea is like climbing and descending mountains with a sore stomach from too much laughing. With Andrea I feel capable of facing the greatest difficulties on our journey. With Andrea there is not a boring trip or waiting for a bus. With Andrea there joy in every step in the mission. Andrea puts up with fatigue, pain, and suffering and accompanies me up and down the roads. With Andrea I meet Jesus in every corner. To live with her is a constant learning experience and a journey that I propose to do every day. I am happy and I trust that we are happy even in the days when I am frail and everything looks grey, you are always there at my side to love me just as I am. Just as with the love of God, to be community with Andrea is not easy, but it is enough to know how to love and to be loved. To be community with Andrea reminds me of Pope JPII’s quote, “To love is an act of the will,” because I want to love her every day on each step of our journey.

To live in community and share everything in our lives is not easy. But when we want to and we do it with love and for love, when we do it knowing that it is God who unites us and stays with us at all times, everything is fine. To be community is to be available to walk not in me or in you, but in us. To be community is to stick together in happiness and to share the crosses. To be community is to know how to give space and bear hugs. In community we share the biggest gift God has given us, life. Together, in community, we bring joy to every house we may visit, we pray wherever, we sing wherever and we live in Vila Ecología in the beautiful house we call home.

We are you and me, we are us.

LMC Peru

Ayllu Community , Neuza (Andrea) and Paula (Paola)