Sunday, 07 September 2014 14:22
Silsilah will launch next week a booklet entitled " THE SEPTEMBER TO REMEMBER" . It is a simple presentation of ten stories of ordinary people, Muslims and Christians, who experienced the siege of September 9, 2013 in Zamboanga. The stories are among the thousand experiences that people can recall. With this little contribution Silsilah wishes to remind all the importance of harmony sustained by the spirituality of life-in-dialogue in good and bad times. We have to remember in prayer what happened last year and pray for those who died and those who still suffer from the tragedy of last year.
There is a lot to learn from the memory of last September in Zamboanga. The gap between Muslims and Christians has become bigger. The international situation of violence and radicalism threatens influence also the future peace of Mindanao. Silsilah reflecting on the sad story of last year, reminds all that while we are living in a difficult time, we have to share more love and solidarity. Reflecting on the situation of the world, there are many signs to conclude that we are living in a critical time. Time of natural calamities and time of violence. But, there is still a lot of goodness among us, Muslims and Christians and people of other faiths, and we wish to remind all to spread goodness, even if others are not good to us.
September is also the special month of vocation for the Catholics. Thus, here we also wish to focus our reflection on the challenges of the Christian vocation today and connect it with the September to remember in Zamboanga. Christian spirit is founded on love, compassion, forgiveness, solidarity and harmony . This spirit has to be recalled, in a special way by the Catholics, who this year, are invited to focus their attention on "THE YEAR OF THE LAITY" to be prepared spiritually to celebrate the five hundred years of Christianity in the Philippines. To be lay in the Church is a vocation to live in holiness, guided by the spirit of the sacrament of Baptism.
Indeed to be Christian today requires a deeper commitment and a deeper faith. This is true for people of other faiths. The persecution is not only physical, but psychological and moral considering that we live in a materialistic and violent society , a society that often puts God out of society. In this context the best way for the Catholics to celebrate the Month of Vocations is to reflect on the different vocations in life. The marriage life, the priestly and religious vocation, as well as the vocation of those who choose to remain single as lay consecrated to the Lord for their mission.
Guided by this spirit, years ago a group of Catholic teachers, members of Silsilah, started the EMMAUS DIALOGUE COMMUNITY. They decided to remain single, living in chastity, and in community guide by the Beatitudes of Jesus. Along the years Emmaus Dialogue members have encouraged other Catholics, married and single, men and women, to live the same spirit and mission of Emmaus for the promotion of dialogue and peace. They remain in their own families and have a special time of gathering, time to serve those in need and time to pray together . This group is called the EMMAUS CIRCLE MEMBERS. In a more a recent time some of young men, members of the Emmaus Circle, have chosen to become EMMAUS DISCIPLES. These are the Emmaus members who embrace the priestly vocation. Together with the Emmaus Community members and the Emmaus Circle members they form the EMMAUS FAMILY.
Silsilah also encourages groups of Muslim women to have an experience like Emmaus, but in the context of the Islamic teaching. We already have groups of Muslim women called MUSLIMAH. They are Muslim women, usually professionals, who live as good Muslims who are committed to promote dialogue and peace .
There are many reasons to hope in the midst of so much fear and we encourage all to live in the spirit of dialogue as a vocation in life and spirituality, according to each own religion. In the back cover of the booklet " The September to Remember" we printed this challenge: " Why Violence? Why not Peace?" We are brothers and Sisters".
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