By: Sr. Lorena B. Sacal, TC
Fraternal Life plays a very important role in the life of a religious. We articulated a lot and have given so much emphasis on how to live in the community or with someone that you like and don’t like according to culture, temperament and personality, etc., etc. For a time, those inputs and formations are helpful and enlightening but for how far will it help us? After 3 days? a week? a month?
As for me, I have a very simple understanding on fraternal life: First, I consider it as an “investment” because it is both “Gain or Profit” and “Risks”. To invest is something that we are not sure of. We give yet we can never be sure that it will earn much but we are hopeful that we will gain. As we invest, we do not know how much others are investing to make it strong but individually we need to contribute. Same in the community life, each sister should invest even if we can’t see how much. The bigger investment, the bigger interest we gain. Just like for example, if I like a healthy community then I should be healthy. If I like a loving community then I should love. If I like a welcoming community then I should welcome others. If I like a fraternal community then I should be fraternal. In short, I should invest in the areas I want to have. It is not easy to invest without being sure but investing means “Gain” despite of the “Risk”.
The second is: Fraternity is standing beneath the Cross”. Probably, one would think that standing beneath the Cross is somehow a very difficult task and it is true indeed. Only those who truly love can stand beneath the cross of the beloved. Same in the community, if one sister is in trouble, we need to stay with her even if it entails pain and suffering on our part.
The third is: The two disciples journeying going to Emmaus. They were sad, confused and wondering about the recent situation in the community. Maybe, they were questioning the identity of Jesus and somewhat blaming the community especially those who have put Jesus to death. But everything changed when Jesus surprisingly walked with them and explained everything including the revelation of His presence when He broke the bread and their eyes were opened and they recognized that indeed it was He who walked with them. Though their eyes were closed while walking with Him yet they have noticed that their hearts were filled with yearnings while listening to the Lord’s explanation about the Scriptures. Yes, fraternal life is a journey. At times we are confused, saddened and wondering, angry, hopeless and at times we blamed others for a certain situation in the community but as women of the Resurrection, our journey is always accompanied by our Lord. Many times, we might not recognize Him but He is walking with us and teaching us the significance of each event in our journey as a community. And the Journey to Emmaus means being who we really are and at the same time how we leave our hearts open for Jesus to enter and do something in it.
And the fourth is: simply following what the Lord have told us to do in John 13:35 “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another”. This is the witnessing that we can give to the world. It is not that we will just show to the people but our own “Aura” will tell the people who we are.