AJAN team undertook a fruitful recollection on 25th January, 2019 at the Resurrection Garden in Karen, Nairobi. Fr. John the Baptist, Socius at JCAM facilitated the one day event. Coinciding with the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, the reminiscence sought to sensitize AJAN staff on awareness of Christ in their world, in others and in them hence becoming reconciled with God, with others, with the environment and with self. Topics of reflection included: The Two Standards and the Two Value System, My Own Context, Enemies Within, Mental Models and How We Could Pray.
In the introduction, the facilitator started by noting the significance of greetings giving examples of “Namaste” which means “I greet the god in you” employed in eastern meditations like Yoga, Yoruba greetings (Western Africa) such as; “Ile nko”? “Oga nko”? “Ebi nko”? “Iyao nko”? “Baba nko”?. He observed that while greeting your neighbor in Yoruba, you have to do so demonstrating absolute humility.
The sessions had the team divided into two groups whereby each group would discuss certain subjects and which would then be presented to entire time after regrouping. . Participants were introduced to the ‘two-standards’ mediation in the spiritual exercises as described by Jesuit spiritual master Joseph Tetlow. For instance, it was presented to them that faith is characterized by ‘Warfare’ and that everyone is in a battlefield must know to which camp they belonged. They also reflected on Ephesians 6:12; ‘For our struggle is not with the flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.’ According to Fr. John the Baptist, our behavior determines which side we belong to, whether it is that of Jesus Christ or that of the evil one. Reflecting in their ‘Own Context’, participants were asked to consider various situations such as; the times they happened to not have got along well with their colleagues, friends or even strangers, the times they may have destroyed their immediate environment through their daily basic activities, the times they had not connected with God and their own selves. This enabled participants to be aware of their daily life challenges and struggles and how they could give the best of themselves regardless of the situation they found themselves in.
On a topic titled ‘Enemies Within’, the facilitator spoke on Doubt, Fear and Mental Models. In his explanation, self-doubt discourages someone from making decisions while fear within self makes one not take actions which they would otherwise have taken. Mental models on the other hand are the images, assumptions and stories which shape our thinking and response towards the world we live in. According to the facilitator, through faith, doubt, fear and mental models could be defeated in our minds.
After various topics were covered in this reflection, participants shared areas which had deeply touched them. “…We spend most of our time together in the office. This kind of exercise was necessary to inspire us spiritually and socially and to help us grow united as a family, as we work together towards accomplishing AJAN mission…” noted one participant. A second round of sharing allowed staff to express what greatly touched their hearts about what their colleagues had shared. Each member of staff was then asked by the facilitator to make a prayer concerning the day’s reflection. The session ended with celebration of Holy mass led by Fr. John the Baptist.