Saturday, June 28, 2008


To end the week where we focussed on the theme "Care for the Earth" we had a liturgy with a planting ritual. It was simple and meaningful and drew our sttention to the possibilities that lie in a seed ... the possibilities that lie in us ... the possibilities that lie in the world.

We used this gratitude prayer to start with:
"Beloved Creator, I AM Presence, Holy of Holies,
Thank you for the animals and birds of the bush,
Thank you for this expression of your magnificence,
Thank you for your creation that illuminates my spirit,
Thank you for the free will you give me to make choices,
Thank you for correcting my alignment to you,
Thank you for the Sun and my sown foods and your majesty in my shields.
Your love is without conditions,
without obligations, without expectations.
Your love for your entire kingdom is sacred
... and I feel it!
I feel humbled, rejuvenated and close to you
... thank you!
You fine tune me to take deeper responsibility
for the power within.
You open my eyes to life,
you give me the strength to perceive differently,
To see with gratitude and to listen with gratitude.
All this beauty in the wild is inspired by your hands.
The sweet land plucks the strings of my heart with an inexplicable song.
I love you Father, Mother God!
I love this meeting of Earth and Sky!
I sense harmony as I channel your divine melody.
This moment is a beat in the miracle, this joy is your gift to me.
The African bush is resilient, it is tenacious,
it is a story of great love and truth.
It is a receptacle for inner intimacy, clarity and pleasure
Great Spirit, as your child,
I give you my smile of profound appreciation.
I am alive, I am alive, I am alive!"

And with these words we blessed the seeds and the saplings,
God, Source of all life, who did hide Your Seeds in all that lives,
be present here as we greet these tiny seeds with their gifts of life.
Seeds of Life, so small, and yet, in the mystery of death and burial, you will produce life ten-fold and more.
We sprinkle you with water, sacred sign of life,
asking that you may be embraced by our mother the earth,
fed by rain and kissed gently by the sun.
In caring for you we shall experience
the most ancient profession of the human family,
the primal vocation of being workers in the garden.
Soon you will be our pride and joy.
As we give up your life that we may live.
Seeds, pregnant with life, teach us the Easter Secret of Life,
as we ask God to bless you. Amen."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Care for the Earth

"Care for the Earth" was our theme for this week in the novitiate.
We began the the week with a prayer celebrating the Earth and the whole universe.
Following the prayer we met as a community to see what we could as a individuals and as a community to care for the Earth. So we adopted the following...
"We commit ourselves anew to seeing the affliction of the earth,
hearing its cry, and knowing its suffering.
We commit ourselves to learning more about the changes that are needed.
We commit ourselves to embarking on that long and difficult road
toward life lived in harmony with all God's creation.
In covenant with God and with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit,
we are called to action in the name of Jesus the Christ."
We have spent the week sprucing up our premises and putting things in place to be more prudent in our disposal of waste, to conserve water and power resources, and to enhance the plant life in our compound by planting more trees and flowering shrubs.

Farewell to Br Bob Aron

Tomorrow, the 27th of June 2008 marks the end of Bob's long stay in Ghana. Following his time in the novitiate he was Director of the ICF in Cape Coast. He spent almost 7 and half years here in Ghana!
Br Bob Aron along with Br Paul Noonan were instrumental in establishing our novitiate here in Tamale. The following is an excerpt from our house annals...
"In July 1999 Paul and Bob met with the Lusaka Novitiate Team and then set off on a safari that took them to Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda in the search for a possible site. By good luck, the Missionaries of Africa were moving out of their formation house in Tamale to shift to Kumasi. The formation house, built only two years ago, was seen to be in good order, so it became our first recommendation for the site to open the new novitiate.... So at the Pan African leaders meeting in Arusha, Tanzania, in February 2000, the recommendation to opt for Tamale was adopted."
Bob was appointed as the community leader on that first Novitiate Team in Tamale which had Tim Lockwood as Novice Director, with Dan Healy and Emmanuel Marrah completing the Team.
Bob, Tim and Dan arrived Tamale on 15th December 2000 to become the first Christian Brother foundation in Ghana. Bob served with great dedication and committment on the Novitiate Team until December 2003. He left Tamale in January 2004. Following a sabatical he served as Director of the Institute for Continuing Formation in Cape Coast.
We take this opportunity to express our gratitude for all that Bob did for the brothers here in Tamale. He sowed the seed that today bear fruit.
Thanks Bob for all you did for us here and we wish you well as you travel back to Australia. May God continue to walk with you and may your committment and dedication continue to influence and serve many more people.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Who do you seek? Where do you look? - Gleanings from Kabir and Tagore

Are you looking for me?
I am in the next seat.
My shoulder is next to yours.
You will not find me in stupas,
not in Indian shrine rooms,
not in masses,
nor in kirtans,
not in legs winding around your own neck,
nor in eating nothing but vegetables.
When you look for me,
you will see me instantly—
you will find me
in the tiniest house of time.
Kabir says: Student, tell me, what is God?
He is the breath inside the breath.

O servant, where dost thou seek Me?
Lo! I am beside thee.
I am neither in temple nor in mosque:
I am neither in Kaaba nor in Kailash:
Neither am I in rites and ceremonies,
nor in Yoga and renunciation.
If thou art a true seeker, thou shalt at once see Me:
thou shalt meet Me in a moment of time.
Kabir says, 'O Sadhu! God is the breath of all breath.'

Leave this chanting and singing and telling of beads!
Whom dost thou worship
in this lonely dark corner of a temple
with doors all shut?
Open thine eyes and see thy God
is not before thee!
He is there where the tiller is tilling the hard ground
and where the pathmaker is breaking stones.
He is with them in sun and in shower,
and his garment is covered with dust.
Put off thy holy mantle
and even like him come down on the dusty soil!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Eucharistic Circle Challenged!

I believe one of the central aspects of the Eucharist is identifying each person as the embodiment of God. On deeper reflection, the Eucharist calls me to acknowledge my fragility.
One evening during our Community experience in Shekinah, at the climax of the Eucharist, a mentally challenged Muslim woman walked right into our midst and quietly sat on the floor just behind us without intending to cause any disturbance. However, she drew more attention as everyone keenly anticipated her next move. Then one of us got up and offered her a chair in our little Eucharistic circle. She completed our circle. Never once did she draw attention to herself or disrespect the occasion. Even when the bread and wine bypassed her, she never showed any negative reaction. She observed keenly. Didn’t we all?
I realized that as we accepted this woman in our midst, we welcomed the Divine. God surprises us in ways that we do not expect. The ways of providence are by nature surprising.
This woman brought me to a more holistic understanding of the Eucharist. The presence of this woman shed beams of light on my path to deepening the meaning of the Eucharist for me. Truly each person is an embodiment of God.”


Unless You become like the 'little ones'.

I saw the need of recognizing that all human beings are important in this world. During the time of our founder blessed Edmund Rice, he looked through the window and saw the reality of what was happening, and recognized the need for educating the poor street boys. In the same way when I looked around Shekinah, I saw the need of educating the young children especially the disadvantaged ones. Acknowledging that education is a fundamental basic need, I felt the importance of exploring the charism of Edmund Rice. Like Edmund I wished to bring the light of education and knowledge into the darkness of illiteracy and ignorance, and so we organized classes for the children of the neighbourhood.
A lot more children turned up than expected. This surprised me but it also encouraged me and strengthened my resolve to share my talents with the young ones. It was like the Gospel call to me … “Let the young children come to me for the kingdom of God belongs to them.”
The children came from different religious and cultural backgrounds. The way they behaved themselves was so good. Through their interaction with each other they helped me to integrate my religious beliefs with those of others. They taught me tolerance and mutual acceptance. They affirmed my belief that as brothers we should be committed to building a better world that accommodates everybody and respects all.

Belden Nselee