By Joeven Matugas, sx –
Pope Francis is inviting consecrated people of today to rejoice in the experience of God’s consolation (comfort, tenderness, being loved, encouragement) and to bear witness to His mercy through love and deeds in the various cultures and locations of people in this world (Pope’s Letter Rejoice).
Since I am motivated by this invitation, and as I am consecrated person, I wish to share my thoughts and experience on how God has transformed me through the joy of this encounter. I was born and grew up in this new generation of young people. I have left my family and country to embrace the religious and missionary life, giving up a promising career of job opportunities. Now I am a member of this religious-missionary Congregation with the mission of proclaiming Christ and His gospel to the people who have not yet heard of him. I have been assigned to this mission of Sierra Leone to proclaim Christ’s Gospel and bear witness to my faith and Christian hope to the people of this country.
I am here as a young missionary and I live, interact and work with the people seven days a week. I witness their struggles and difficulties. Many of them have already embraced the Christian faith and live it out joyfully and share it willingly with their relatives and companions.
The second aspect I wish to share concerning my faith experience is the splendor and attractiveness of community life, where we work together as a group of confreres and bear constant witness to our faith. The Xaverians in this Region are a communion of men of various ages, language, places of origin, culture, family background, thoughts and ideals. We are here with our presence and mission work in solidarity with the local Church and the suffering people, to fulfill the mission that has been entrusted to us. We live as a community of individuals who recognize our strengths and weaknesses, and our main missionary task is to live in unity and harmony among ourselves in fraternal love, so that our incarnated community becomes a place of profound conversion, sharing and discernment. We are a community of Christ’s disciples who set aside our personal projects and concerns in favor of the greater values of the Kingdom, courageously putting our lives on the line.
The Congregation’s dynamic characteristics ad gentes, ad extra and ad vitam are not just words on paper to be placed on a shelf and admire from afar. Instead, they are the actual life experience of the Xaverians. They are not just some collective thoughts that remain a dream. They are embodied in a true life story that we can share with others, a reality that we can touch, embrace and experience through our senses and faculties.