Gonzague is a French Jesuit studying in London. He is currently accompanying a sharing group for men once a month. Here is his reflection on his experience with the people.
Who are we? Once a month we are around 10 that meet from many different places: Nigeria, Eritrea, Ivory Coast, Angola, Algeria, Tunisia, Iran, Pakistan, France, Korea… but also from many different faiths: evangelical Christians, Catholics, Muslims, Atheists. We have only two common points: we are all foreigners and we are all men.
What are we doing? During around one hour we are trying to listen and to speak. First of all we listen to a text, a Biblical text. We read it three times. After the first reading, each one can pronounce one word from the text, which is important for him, after the second reading, one sentence and after the third reading we are invited to share how this text echoes my experience, my life, my beliefs, my struggles. Finally we do not only listen to the text, but also to the others, and from its words and from their words each one can try to express where he is and what he lives.
For what are we doing that? Why are our meetings so joyful? To be honest it is a bit mysterious. While as men we can quite easily discuss about politics, football; but as asylum seekers experiencing destitution and exclusion we are often silent. In this group, we can speak about the experience of detention, of our struggles to continue to live in the dignity, in the good, but also about our hope to have one day a normal life.
Paradoxically being among men helps us to access for one another the deeper good characteristic of our humanity: the Word and our own words. In this group, we can shout to God and to our brothers, “I know that I will live to see the Lord’s goodness in this present life. Trust in the Lord. Have faith, do not despair.”