By Nimmi Candappa
This series of Charism Corners continue exploring how we, as part of the De Mazenod Family, can incorporate more fully into our lives, the various components of the Oblate Charism.
We achieve unity in our life only in and through Jesus Christ. Our ministry involves us in a variety of tasks, yet each act in life is an occasion of personal encounter with the Lord, Who through us gives Himself to others and through others gives Himself to us.
A trend we hear of these days is ‘mindfulness’, and with it ‘centredness’. For me, one image which describes centredness well is the old-fashioned image projector, where the image had to be fine-tuned until it gradually came into focus, the shades of grey merging until a clear dark outline formed. The multiple demands we each have on our time and energy can leave us feeling stretched, with life out of focus. Yet, for us Catholics, we seek to have a Christ-centred focus, which allows the greyed, peripheral aspects in our life to be realigned, refocussed within the clearly-defined outline of Christ. A shifting of our focus, from the various demands in our life, onto Christ, while paradoxically bringing everything in our lives into a much clearer focus. We are reminded through the Charism of the Oblates that only this Christ-focus gives us unity in our lives; a clear solid base from which to live life.
Which areas of our lives need refocussing, re-centring on Christ? What is our passage through life currently like? A blurred stumble? Clutching onto anything that appears to give us some stability, only to have it crumble under our grip? Or perhaps we trod a clear enough path, with Jesus in the centre, but with one or two prominent influences continually vying for the centre-stage of our life.
Christ-centredness allows us to encounter Jesus, personally, as well as through others. Every task we undertake can lead us closer to Christ, it just depends on our focus and attitude. Using a few moments in the day to still ourselves, can play a key role in refocussing our gaze back on God, decluttering the mind, slowing the pace of life – in order to better see Jesus in the other, and present Him to the other.
In the next fortnight, perhaps we might identify one task that we do regularly in which we can practise encountering God, or presenting God to another. Living in a society that might advocate self-promotion, focussing on self-needs, and pressured by the variety of tasks we face, we would need to find conscious ways of resisting such influences. As St Eugene reminds us, “(love) is the pivotal point on which our whole existence revolves” and all our tasks are “…a matter of serving God”. Keeping these as our focus then, we can “strengthen the bonds that unite us” as family.