Spiritans from all parts of the globe will converge in Africa come June 2012. For what? Well, it is for the 20th General Chapter. But where in Africa? Well, it’s East Africa, precisely in Tanzania but certainly in the great city of Bagamoyo (confer my earlier post “Bagamoyo 2012”).
Of profound interest at Bagamoyo 2012 is the theme: Fervent in Spirit. Taken from Romans 12:11, this phrase “fervent in spirit” means to boil with heat, be hot. Scripturally speaking, it means to have a burning zeal to do the will of God. An example of this attitude is Jesus Christ. John 2:17, in speaking of Him, says, “Then His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.'” Apollos is also an example of “fervent spirit”. Acts 18:24-25 states, “Now a certain Jew named Apollos … came to Ephesus … and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord …. Thus both Jesus and Apollos were successful in accomplishing their God-given tasks simply because they were fervent in Spirit.
Spiritanly speaking, ‘fervent in Spirit’ is the capacity and ability of every Spiritan to be consumed or eaten up by the Charism of “evangelical availability” handed over to us by our Great Founders, Poullart Des Places and Francis Libermann. Zeal for the holistic development and liberation of the poor and poorest of the poor must eat us up if we are to be ‘authentic’ Spiritans.
Fervor and enthusiasm are the fundamental keys to success in the Lord’s work. The church at Laodicea was chastised because of their lukewarmness (Revelations 3:14-16). The one Spiritan whom Des Place and Libermann cannot stand is the Spiritan who is neither hot nor cold. As long as we are “fervent in Spirit” we cannot rust out, though we may burn out.
Spiritan mission in the present world, characterized by all sorts of terror and challenges, cannot embrace lukewarmness. The fire and enthusiasm of the first century church as well as the zealousness of our Spiritan Founders must be our springboard today and in the future.
Bagamoyo 2012 is, therefore, both an awakening and a re-awakening of the individual and collective consciousness of our Spiritanness: called to be fervent in Spirit in loving one another, defending the defenceless, giving hope to the hopeless, caring for the abandoned, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, quenching the thirsty’s thirst, visiting the prisoner and always standing by the poorest of the poor.