We leave you with a new video about San Daniel Comboni.
Prepared by the Comboni missionaries in Brazil, it tells us about the historical Comboni and the challenges that our founder’s life continues to launch today.
Saint Daniel Comboni (1831-1881)
As we know Pope Francis has called for an extraordinary missionary month in October 2019, in order to further awaken the missionary consciousness of the missio ad gentes and to resume the missionary transformation of life and pastoral with a new impulse.
One of the key proposals of this month should be training. That is why we offer you this little theme that can be used in youth and adult groups, in religion classes, confirmation groups, community formation and even as a personal reflection (although always better in community).
Therefore we will start from the letter of convocation of Pope Francis, from the letter Maximun Illud that Pope Benedict XV wrote (which we recommend reading or having next to consult) and whose centenary celebration causes the convocation of this extraordinary missionary month. We will also be accompanied by the writings and life of a missionary like Saint Daniel Comboni; His life together with that of other missionaries would inspire this letter and hopefully it will also help us and inspire each of us in our communities to be missionaries today.
We send our sincere greetings to you all from Uganda. We had our Lenten recollection on last Saturday 2nd March 2019 facilitated by Fr. Anthony Kibira MCCJ the Vice Provincial Superior of Uganda. In attendance we had all the religious Communities of; MCCJ Community, Comboni Missionary Sisters, Sacred Heart Sisters International, Missionary Sisters of Mary Mother of the Church, Evangelizing Sisters of Mary, Female Focolare Community and the Host Comboni Lay Missionaries. It was a very colourful moment to sit down as an Apostolic Community of Mbuya Parish to prepare us for the Lenten Period 2019.
Fr. Anthony chose the theme of the recollection as “Growing in Love” not only during this Lenten period but throughout our lives and deeds. He said growing in love is not an easy journey but allowing God’s love to grow in us is the best way. This he said requires us to let ourselves to allow love to be sown and grow in us.
In his talk he came up with obstacles that do not allow the love of God to grow in us manifested in very many ways;
Lack of openness to God and one another in which he emphasized unless we learn to be open to God for our mistakes we have done to him and other people, it will be very hard for love to grow in us. This lack of openness can also be associated with un-repented sins that we have deliberately failed to confess.
Prejudices we practice knowingly or unknowingly in our communities with items we use daily; my chair, cup, i.e. personalize everything and I am the only one using it, my parents told me I will never make it in life which is directly seeing your own image in the view of what people say about you…this is purely Pride. He emphasized that for love of God to grow in us, we must be very humble to avoid pride by accepting ourselves as human beings bound to sin and make mistakes but not like God.
He also pointed fear of change to be another obstacle affecting the love of God to grow in us. Many people associate newness to uncertainty in life looking at it in human eyes since we have been in our comfort zones before. Change of this is interfering with our comfort zones and we resist it at all means. He advised us not to resist any change in our lives and said Love does not force to grow in any one.
He also identified another obstacle to love of as being taken up by fashions of the day which are new according to the current enthusiastic of the day and yet the world always favours superficiality which is not the root of our spirituality. We need to take time and analyze our life concerning material things which may be affecting our spiritual growth.
He also pointed out that we are always crowded with so many interests that make us to be too busy to allow the seed of Love to grow in us. He stressed that we need some space for us to grow better by letting some interests in our life to go away and let our heart to be open to allow love to grow in our heart/life. Allow the right image of God to be in your life other than viewing God as a commander who is dangerous to judge us. He also said this is brought about by sin that makes the good image of God distorted and that threatens us to go back to him with Love with repentant heart. He tasked us to always ask; who is God in my life? He said let us allow God to let to do what he deserves to be done in us. He pointed some fruits of love of God in a person;
He said Jesus did not only die for our sins and so we need to participate in the process of our salvation which always comes at a cost but not free. Fr. Anthony said we need to carry our daily cross with love which will eventually let us be infected with the spirit of love for all unconditionally.
He also pointed some of our past obstacles as all that caused us a very great hurt in the past to love God and one another i.e. our past wounds. He said some apostles followed Jesus up to the time he was arrested but fled after he was tortured, thereby leaving our Lord Jesus lonely in the company of Mother Mary and some few of the apostles. Has our past wounds caused us to abandoned the will of God to be done in us thereby making Jesus to feel fresh pains up to now? He challenged us to descend to all our past wounds, address the wounds to dress the wounds with the Love of God. Fr. Anthony said these wounds are always hidden and are out great treasures to the love of God if addressed well.
How to overcome these obstacles to the love of God;
In his ending remarks he talked about the homily of a Bishop during the ordination of some priests which is currently circulated in social media with 3 very important questions which is applicable to us as Comboni Lay Missionaries and other religious communities and Lay Christians. The Bishop asked the following questions which for our case we need to answer deep in our hearts, insert yourself in the place of the Priest;
With these allow us to wish you all a fruitful Lenten Period as we evaluate our life in the past one year to allow God to correct our short comings so that his love grows in our life in all that we do. St. Daniel Comboni says the works of salvation are born under the foot of Calvary (Cross).
Comboni Lay Missionaries Uganda
The 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.
It 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.
At 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.
We 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.
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!
Alberto de la Portilla, CLM
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.”
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.