A Touch of Interculturality

    This is a great day. Far from the deafening noise of the city, I relish this precious moment where I am alone in this beautiful place. Before me nature paints the beholding sight of Navacerrada accented by the blue bright sky. No one is around — just me and my thoughts. I could hear birds chirping like a greeting, a blessing, a song. Such reception soothes my mind and brings tranquility to my heart. I could feel the cool autumn breeze breathing softly, ever gently of God´s presence. A blessed day indeed and everything feels just so right.

As I sit here gathering my thoughts I could just imagine myself walking serenely along the pine-laden path of La Granja, feeling the earth over which Claret onced walked, lost in meditation. I recall my life and look deeply with new eyes to what has become of me while following the Great Voice — the same voice that lingers deep inside me ever since my heart heeds to its promptings. From the time I accepted the Provincial Council´s invitation to come to Spain, I knew then that life would be different. It was an invitation to go from my country to the land that they will show me and that is Colmenar Viejo. Now, I´m barely four months here in Spain, living practically with missionaries-in-formation from varied cultural persuasions. An “inter-cultural seminary” as our formators would call it. It is a coming together of young Claretians from Asia, Africa, America and Europe to live as a community binded by a common charismatic vocation. This idea of ” interculturality” envisions the future missionary community where harmony is a project amid plurality lived in fraternal fellowship.

I was uncertain how I would fare living in a community of varied tones, colors, language, much more in a foreign land where I am a complete stranger. Nonetheless, those uncertainties which clouded my vision were short-lived. From the gloomy horizon arose bright friendship, an appreciation of diversity, a rainbow has appeared. Just when I felt alone in the cold, I experience the warm wide welcoming arms of my new found brothers. Little by little, I started to talk, later my long-held smile came. Then a little while gestures of fraternity poured in which brought much confidence in me, such that I could now afford to “laugh heartily”.

In a community such as ours, simple gestures like a smile, a pat on the shoulder, a warm embrace, a buenos dias greeting, or even an hasta mañana just before we go to bed — all serves to disarm human barriers. In our inevitable differences we strive in faith to live as a community believing that our communion is in itself a mission. Without my knowing, I began to pine for their presence, not least their stories. What used to be a stranger is now a revealed brother to me, a sweet anticipation in each promise of dawn. More than our academic formation, we aim to form a community where diversity can be a source of strength, support, life-giving for a future missionary. Just before I left the Philippines, someone told me that everything happens for a reason and there´s a wealth of meaning left to be discovered in each new circumstance where we are in. I must say that my saying Yes! to this inter-cultural seminary brought me to greater understanding of who I am, where I am going, not least the meaning of future missionary community. I know I have not gone even half to what this intercultural community way of life would be for me, I still have a lot to realize, to experience, to feel, to anticipate, to wonder and to discover along the way through the end of my journey. I´ve only just begun.

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