By: Pbro Lic. Jesús Antonio Weisensee H.
When they talk to me about the CBF (FEBIC), I relate it directly to my personal history, because even as a seminarian, the first Latin American Meeting in Bogotá was organized and since the beginning of my formation, they left to me with the great desire. But since that distant 1985, my pastoral reference was what was done with the Bible, hence, my perspective is how to take advantage of the Scriptures to announce the Christian message and thus collaborate to generate processes of union, transformation and communion with the Lord, through the holy pages.
The years of Bogotá (2000-2004) were spectacular years. To promote the FEBIC LAC, to want it to be known and valued, to understand that it was a meeting space, which did not seek to impose anything, but rather to spread enthusiasm, passion, great desires, initiatives, dynamism, convictions, it was cost, but at least at that time I had the opportunity to speak to several episcopates, and I had the grace to listen some time: “… you give us the Catholic version of the Bible…”. That also distant 2004, it was nice to go thinking that something was left, at least we polished roughness things, opened shortcuts that today are great avenues of communion. It is nice to see that what was done in those years was not left in a vacuum and that today is a flourishing reality, where there are many involved, which led to greatly exceed what was raised at that time.
But now I have this NEW STAGE (2018-2021), both on a personal and institutional level in the FEBIC LAC. They already made me notice, that many things has CHANGED. OK … changed situations, but with great pleasure, I see that there are people with whom we dream the FEBIC LAC, that we share illusions, that we support each other, that we fight like Don Quixote, and know that these people are full of hope and with the conviction that the pain,was worth. But at the same time, I see that there are many people I do not know …, I ask and they speak well of those, I only know from the database, and it gives me great pleasure to sit down and share dreams and illusions, because if they are in the FEBIC LAC , it means, that there is passion and will for communion and participation, wanting to be a viable alternative for an ever more dynamic pastoral with direct interference in the lives of people. Hopefully with the firsts and the seconds, we will find each other and have time to listen to each other and rejoice with the experience that each one believes and is convinced of, adding us, valuing us and appreciating the availability of wanting to contribute something for the explicit proclamation of the Gospel.
Among the new things that I am seeing, they are…
- There was a Synod of the Word of God …, from those distant years 85,89,90 in zonal meetings of the Southern Cone, Latin American or Worldwide were requests that always came out about it … At the end, I do not know what we wanted or expected, but we always asked for it. Today there was already the desired and expected Synod. Today I don’t know if it responded to the expectations we had, I don’t know what interference it had in the direct work done by the members of the FEBIC and if it generated new processes in the Church. That is one of the things that I would like to know.
- With a little sorrow, I see that the much loved “LA PALABRA HOY” THE WORD OF GOD TODAY … has completed a cycle and now we no longer have it. It was a means to know what we were doing, it was a space to share experiences, to listen to us, although sometimes it was a monologue, but there was a space to share and generate opinions. It was something of ours that in some way gave us identity, since it spoke of what was done in the FEBIC LAC. Today is in the cloud of digital, but thank God, Jan Stefanov and Rubén Darío, already commented that we are eager to give it new life, naturally, with a new format, but always wanting to be our meeting point …, our cybernetic coffee in the corner of the digital cloud, where we can chat and share dreams, illusions, passions, jobs, experiences. And in that way we can delight those who are still sceptics about the validity of the Bible as a means for the lived experience of God. This can be done and God will help to do it … if you cooperate by contributing experiences, comments, ideas, proposals, comments … (that … not yet …, later …), opening in this way areas of reflection and generating reflections from of what is being lived in each reality. Here we ALL should feel involved and taking part in this initiative, as it will benefit the FEBIC LAC and the CBF itself (FEBIC) and even to the whole Church.
- With some disenchantment, I see that it is increasingly difficult to meet physically, but even some say is not essential, today also affects us all, as are the financing. I do remember that when the zones were created in FEBIC LAC, that arose because we needed to see each other, to know each other, to listen to each other, to share illusions, to have experiences at hand, to spread the enthusiasm we had, because we felt that the BIBLE was the means for the transformation of the Church. And so there arose zonal coordinators (people of pure heart and enthusiasm, who were able to sacrifice their time for something that was really worthy). They were very enriching meetings, because one thing is to read what someone writes and another to share a coffee, to sit at the same table, to listen to their illusions and frustrations, to share their adventures, and this made FEBIC LAC a great family, where we had friends throughout the continent. And I think we showed that in the 2002 Plenary Assembly…”, … nice to have lived it to be able to tell …” Today is history.
- This seems like a great difficulty, without a doubt it should lead us to be creative, to stay united, linked, in communion, looking for meeting spaces to sustain us in the illusions and projects that we have. If we don’t know each other, if we don’t value what is being done, if we aren’t able to support and encourage ourselves, we run the risk of losing the vitality that characterized the FEBIC LAC, such as the bond, the closeness, the commitment, the support , the encouragement, to tell to that forgotten Quixote, but still vital and dreamer : “… it’s worth what you’re doing …, even if you don’t take into account …, here at the FEBIC LAC, what’s yours is valuable and we applaud and value your docility and your openness to the motions and inspirations of the Spirit. “Get in, go ahead”…, you’re fine…, you should continue… ” If we are not able to find us so easily, should lead us to look for other instances, as valid as sharing a meeting and listening to us. This is open…, we must find that meeting space …, it is essential…, rather vital for the FEBIC LAC to be what it should be.
- I also find that the long-awaited Bogotá office was already completed its cycle… (They would say in juvenile language). Now we work in another way. It was nice to welcome people and in the meeting room ramble on illusions, creating projects, dreaming chimeras, but being able to chat and share. The members had their house on 65th and 7th streets … Excite … it was important, it was our house. Today that office is where it is the one that has to inspire and encourage the work of all. They are new times. Although we don’t have an office, and although we don’t have our place, the FEBIC LAC will always have its place, because where a member is, that will be our axis and from there we will continue to sow illusions and hopes, without fear of the future, but trusting that the work in which we are is the Risen Christ and He provides and sustains, encourages and drives, because he is alive, as the FEBIC LAC makes alive.
- And what to say, of what today is the relationship with CELAM. Fantastic! We were there also at the beginning, when they invited us for some talk; they were little steps that thanks to God ended in what today is CEBITEPAL. Applause … That was a wonderful thing. It was a point of arrival of many that we saw, that we could not make a biblical proposal not rooted in the Latin American Episcopate. God willing that there are new instances of mutual enrichment, together, supporting and valuing us, without losing identity, but highlighting the path that each believes appropriate, adding efforts, being an example of integration and complementarity. We have the same mission, simply in different areas.
- It was in that union where what today echoes throughout America arose and it seems that even beyond our continent, as is the ABP. This fills me with emotion, because when in year 1985, they said to us in the face: “… why the Bible if we have the catechism? …, the Bible is not necessary! …” From those “compliments” to the current statement much water passed under the bridge. But in those times and before the biblical movement began, then the biblical pastoral and diocesan commissions, national, the Divine Lectio, and today ABP …, which in turn is generating new processes, which makes us open our ears to hear what the Lord is bringing us for the future, because without a doubt, He will continue to surprise us with something that we still do not think, but that will lead us to continue deepening even more in His Word, seeking that more and more, those who are Words of eternal Life, generate processes of renewal and transformation. We have in our hands something that is always new and effective, that always generates new processes, increasingly more experiential and transformative, that energizes and revitalizes the Church.
- A DEEP UNCERTAINTY. It gives me the impression, that we do not have instances of knowing ourselves, instances to share and know what we are doing. The fact of not being able to meet in those experiential encounters such as the zonal, Latin American meetings …, generates in us a GREAT CHALLENGE, as it is to find new instances of meeting to share, to tell others what we are doing, to question or give suggestions, to propose topics, to listen to what the Spirit is saying for our homes or in our activities… THE THEME IS… HOW… WITH WHAT…, WHAT WAY…, what we want is clear… To know, share… enrich us, encourage and animate us…
* I think it is vital for the dynamism of the FEBIC LAC … to have a space where each of the members … to tell us who they are, what they do, what are the challenges they have, what genius they have done, what has served them …, according to the situation they are living, the challenges that they have, that they dare to propose a FEBIC LAC profile, that open gaps of reflection. Simply that everyone can introduce themselves, a self-presentation, where nobody is more than the other, but we are all part of a great project that is the FEBIC (CBF) And that is in a big page on the internet, where we do see that the FEBIC are not names, but experiences and experiences that arise from a word that makes our hearts burn and that impels us to “not keep silent what we have lived and heard”, but to communicate it and transmit it to everyone.
- What is certain, that next year 2019, we will fulfil 50 years…
* This will be the opportunity to make us see and value the validity and importance of the FEBIC …, our identity, what is our own, characteristic and specific, such as an area of encounter and reflection, of listening and of communion in diversity , we do not pretend to limit the Spirit, but to surprise and dazzle us how the Lord acts and manifests where he wants and wants, in those he wants, since it is He who makes the pastoral ministry fruitful through the Holy Scriptures.
* To be able to continue renewing ourselves, being more and more efficient and creative, at least presenting possible alternative ways of responding to the realities in which we are today, and that require from our part a voice …, sometimes prophetic and many others full of wisdom, seeking to be an alternative to a society … something complex …
- On the occasion of the 50 years of the FEBIC (CBF) the possibility of promoting A BIBLICAL YEAR is heard …, I believe that the main protagonists must be us…, we are not going to ask the neighbours to be the ones that promote, stimulate and motivate … our convictions and our passion. It is true that Saint Jerome was born 1600 years ago, but today there are many Jerome and Jeronimas …, who dazzle for their courage and their ability to express their voice, even though sometimes they do not want to listen to them.
It is our turn to take the lead …, we must fill the world with initiatives, projects, dynamics, to show that what the Lord left as a task such as announcing the Good News, is the reason for the FEBIC (CBF). This is a great opportunity to share and spread our contribution to the Church, the initiatives that we are generating, making known the project of the Lord that today we all seek to implement it. That is why, from now on, we must be generous in SHARING and SPREADING (free of charge), everything that we elaborate with respect to this biblical year, that there is a place where we can find our contributions and the authors are not so and so, but CBF (FEBIC ) and in this way mark presence and take advantage of the opportunity; opportunity that we have to know what we are, we do and mainly that we are not an institution of empty words, but of initiatives and proposals, dynamic and active. But this will only be possible, if each one contributes the best that we can and we put it at the service of the whole Church.
Finally, it is like a request, a plea, a desire to be a TEAM, where each and every one of us who are part of the FEBIC LAC give the best of us …., That we may be an institution of open doors to listen to us, to give proposals, to suggest dreams, to propose renewal initiatives that energize and enrich all members and that stimulate us and encourage us to live, even more willingly, what we are already doing, realizing that we are instruments of God for the renewal of the Church and thus the world. Let’s make history.
I invite you that these next three years are years of maximum participation, that we have the freedom to listen to our voice of consensus or dissent. Let’s make history, making the key word in these years: ALL TOGETHER-UNITED-EVERYONE, contributing each one the best of ourselves, SUPPORTING US- ENCOURAGING US, valuing what each one does and making it known, contributing our mustard seed to the announcement of God’s project, being salt and giving flavour to our surroundings, making us feel that the Lord continues to carry out His work through us. It is our opportunity, it is our time, it is the occasion to celebrate with joy and happiness the 50 years of the FEBIC (CBF), it is our time. Let’s do the FEBIC LAC all together and among us. May our Mother who kept all those things in her heart, which today we seek to announce, intercede for us and accompany us on this path. We find ourselves on the WEB and in the search for the Risen One in His Written Word and in the brother we have by our side (or on the other side of the screen).