March 27- April 1, 2016
Pax et Bonum!
It was an honor and a blessing to be part of this Annual Easter Assembly, held last March 28 to 31, 2016 at Capuchin Retreat Center. In fact, I did not expect to be selected as one of the observers of the week-long gathering. During my first day, I thought Br. Joenifer and I have a designated place where to sit inside the session hall, separate from the rest of the brother-delegates, but I was surprised that we can sit anywhere and sit beside any friar, there was absolutely no distiction. Even if we are Post Novices, we experienced brotherhood in equality. In every activity, it is said that, “Two heads are better than one” but how much more when a number of brothers go together like this? Personally, I felt so blessed to witness this affair. What I learned in Franciscanism about the “Constitution of Narbonne” had come into reality. The brothers had really the supreme power over the minister. As I observed, I saw how the brothers participated and cooperated with each other. When one spoke, the rest also listened.
Everything had to be asked, checked and clarified in order to be enlightened and to come up also into a certain truth that everyone should abide. No point of view then was wrong, so that one’s own feeling, comment, suggestion, experience and alike would also be heard. It was indeed a work of the brothers, a work of the fraternity, a work of the Province and a work of the Order, which no one can claim that it is my own personal work and accomplishment.
Hence, with the presence of the brothers, they helped me feel inspired and boost my vocation to follow the Lord. Despite of their busy schedule in their respective ministry, they still came and spent time for prayer. Their presence was therefore more than enough for me as a sign of their continued response and fidelity to God. The also shared from the heart and what was going on in their life, work and relationship. Their openness and docility only showed that they have these brothers whom they can trust and share with.
With deep and sincere gratitude, I practically see how each of us, brothers, had treated and provided equally in our whole formation in terms of spiritual, social, psychological, physiological and physical aspect. And, as I go along with this journey, I am also being challenged to do my part and do the best for the Order. I have to participate, cooperate and contribute what is deemed for the brothers. I should always value the heart that listens, who submits and obeys for the sake of the unity of the fraternity. I should not expect what the Order can give me, but to expect what I can give to the Order. It is also a call for me to do my responsibility as a Post Novice and continue doing good despite of the many trials and suffering that I may encounter. I have to bend my knees and entrust myself to God and to the brothers that we may share together both the joys and pains for us to be firm and strong in faith. I have to pray and work hard without counting the cost nor expecting something in return. I also have to set my priority in life as a person – that is first of all to love God and to love one another.
Br. Bryan Bermejo, OFMCap.