Where is our joy?

When I am in a bad space, I always think that I have reached the end – especially when I didn’t get the things I was hoping for, and yet that is not true. Then I wake up and discover that life is bigger than what I imagined I call myself back to God’s love. I suspect those feelings that I get when I am in a bad space are what most South Africans and others around the world are subjected to. The past few years have been really difficult for South Africans – be it the economy, social, education or religion.

One hitting the headlines now has been the snake pastor who has taken faith to a level unknown in the Scriptures. I hope the space he opened, trying to explain something that he thought represents Scriptures, has also given him an opportunity to think better and right. I hope that his congregants can also find the space to pray and reflect and move on according to the gifts of the Scriptures. The other unfortunate area has been in Education.  The primary school in Roodepoort that has been in the headlines for some time now, where a few parents feel that there has been nepotism in the appointment of the new principal and others citing that some parents are racists.

 Another is the Stellenbosch University riots by students over the use of language. The sad part in facing difficulty is that it leaves confusion, disappointment, anxiety, depression and many negative feelings in most people. The situation, unfortunately when left unattended, gets more and more complicated. The length of time passing to face the issue also counts and when it has gone on for far too long, the repairing requires more time and the consequences and pain can be quite high. I also have noticed that many people are attracted to pain. Is it because it helps us hide and not work hard to find a better solution to the situation?

The pain makes us hold on, even in times when we see that we have lost balance in holding on to it. In the past month look at all the tragedy taken place around us and as a reader to add your own that you can remember.  The Eastern Cape accident that took the lives of 45 people, Swaziland where many girls died on their way to the kings celebration, the riots at Stellenbosch university, the primary school in Roodepoort, the 4 year old raped and hung on a tree to die but through the Lord her life is saved, the new-born baby found in a plastic bag and burned… Have we become too shallow as the people of the country?  How can we reclaim our joy back that we naturally have as a gift from the Lord. In the 1960’s to early 1990’s prayer was the source for this country. Can we go back to the core of who we are, which is prayer – not shallow prayer – but deep felt prayer.

Ms Puleng Matsaneng
B.A. (Johannesburg)

Puleng works in Spirituality and researches Ignatian Spirituality in an African context. Her area of speciality is in exploring how African themes and practices of spirituality dialogue with the Western traditions, and how that is understood in relation to Ignatian Spirituality. She has looked at how Ignatian Spirituality can be integrated into the African worldview. Most especially, how the use of song and storytelling can be part of the prayer process. She is currently managing retreats in daily life and training prayer guides. Puleng is also involved in ongoing Spiritual Direction, giving 8-day and 30-day retreats. Her latest venture is a pilot programme of healing workshops that use the principles of Ignatian Spirituality.

p.matsaneng@jesuitinstitute.org.za
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