– A reflection based on my experience of the Workshop for Post-Novitiate Formators

Fr. Oscar Javier Vera, OMI
Post-novitiate, Asunción, Paraguay

I will write in a few lines my experience of this week which sought to deepen the Oblate charism for superiors of Post-Novitiates. This is not meant to be a systematized reflection, but rather an attempt to share my impressions. I begin my reflection by expressing my satisfaction with the depth of the presentations. A fundamental theme is our being Oblate, which certainly can never be exhausted in its understanding, but the more we know, the more we can assume the way of being Oblate according to the charism.

One of the speakers said:

“We must prepare and form our young people not for a mission, but to be missionaries”.

Sometimes we have the tendency to say in the formation house that we are preparing young Oblates to go to a mission place, looking at mission as a function to be performed. When we say this, we are thinking of a mission and a specific place, perhaps in a situation of a particular environment where we are sent. However, this phrase invites me to change this mentality, from “preparing for a mission to being a missionary”. This implies that one assumes that I am a missionary in every moment of my life, from the simplest jobs at home to the most important responsibilities in the community and pastoral work. It is necessary to learn to be a missionary in the everyday, in the simple, in the experiential, more than knowing how to do a mission.

Today’s society is characterized by its constant movement, changing lifestyle, activism; by a culture of image, technology, consumerism.  As religious we are not exempt from this reality, but rather are invited to be missionaries, consecrated for the cause of the Kingdom, to be faithful witnesses of the Gospel in dedication, service and charity.

Deepening the Oblate charism helps me to return to the source of the Founder and to renew my oblation. It nourishes my missionary being. It encourages me to continue to live and transmit the richness and wonder of our charism in the place where I live. It also helps me to understand the importance of ongoing formation in this area, especially, by formally integrating its study and deepening in the  post-novitiate program.

I end this brief reflection with this question that we were asked in the course: How do I live the charism in my personal life? Undoubtedly, this is the question that I cannot stop thinking and reflecting on. And this question leads me to the source, first of all, to the Cross of Jesus, whom we preach, and as St. Paul says “to Jesus Christ and him crucified” (Cf. C.4) Secondly, to our Founder, who stimulates me with his life dedicated to the young and the poor, to live more generously the oblation and to be a missionary.

On this path of the apostolate, as an Oblate I entrust myself to Mary, she who is the patroness of our Congregation, is also a companion on our journey. May her example of dedication and total fidelity to the mission she has received, always strengthen and encourage our response.

Praise be to Jesus Christ and Mary Immaculate!