The General Council has prepared a solid reflection for all the Missionaries of Africa to ponder on. It is intended indeed for the Missionaries of Africa only. Therefore, if this introductory page written by Martin Grenier is available to anybody to read, the other six pages will require your connection to the intranet.
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Lenten 2021 reflection
Who among us does not from time to time experience his limits, whether intellectual, spiritual, social or physical? An experience that makes me say, “Right now I can’t take it anymore! “or “Right now it is too much! ” or simply sighing and letting go of any other expression that means you’re fed up.
Experiencing my limits is often accompanied by fatigue. A tiredness that sounds the alarm and says to me: “But, rest! Get your strength back!” However, what kind of entertainment or rest will I be using? A rest that will anaesthetise my discomfort quickly or a rest that will generate strength? If I am not careful, I can easily opt for the former and thus not touch the root of my discomfort. In fact, there are a thousand and one ways to anaesthetise a discomfort quickly, but if this way becomes so repetitive that it becomes a habit, then I risk developing an addiction that will make me less free and therefore continually unhappy.
Throughout this Lenten period, we, the members of the General Council, appeal to all our confreres: let us pay attention together to the danger of developing an addiction, especially one related to alcohol. Alcoholism is certainly not the only form of addiction, but the facts show that we are particularly at risk of falling into its trap.
To facilitate this reflection at both a personal and community level, we offer you a series of 4 leaflets to accompany our reflection on this point for each week of Lent. To introduce these cards, we first have a questionnaire that leads us to make a personal assessment, or in other words, to take a close look at different aspects of my daily life, my physical and mental health, and to look at my social and emotional life so that I can take note of how I manage my fatigue and joys, my frustrations, and challenges. Following this are the 4 leaflets, which, at the rate of one per week, will lead us to consider different aspects related to the problem of alcoholism. Each of these cards concludes with a few questions, which we hope will offer the opportunity to share in community on these different points in a friendly and relaxed manner while having a cup of tea, not a beer …
May this reflection, both personal and communal, be for all of us an opportunity to encourage and support one another, while remembering that beautiful passage from the letter to the Hebrews where we read: “We earnestly desire each of you to demonstrate the same eagerness for the fulfilment of hope until the end, so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience are inheriting the promises” (Heb, 6:11-12). Or let us recall another passage from the Gospel of Mark (2:1-12) where four men carried their paralysed brother before Jesus so that he and those who carried him could hear these liberating words: “Rise, pick up your mat and walk!”
Yes, may this time of Lent be for all of us a time when our fatigue is not so much anaesthetised, but rather a time to regenerate our strength and our zeal to follow Jesus!
Martin Grenier, Assistant General.
Rome, 24th January 2021.
Tips for use:
From Ash Wednesday to the first Sunday of Lent it is possible to familiarise oneself personally with the material and to do the “Life Review”: Leaflet 00
First week of Lent (in community): Leaflet 01
Second week of Lent (in community): Leaflet 02
Third week of Lent (in community): Leaflet 03
Fourth week of Lent (in community): Leaflet 04
Fifth week of Lent. After looking at leaflet 05, reflect together on what exists in the country where we live and work (Associations for the support of alcoholics and their families, pastoral action of the local Church, etc.). Can we together make a gesture, or take a decision signifying our journey through this questioning?