The Church in Africa in Service to Reconciliation, Justice and Peace


Rightly the conclusion of the previous chapter says “The solution to this situation requires a spiritual transformation”. To be a peacemaker, one must possess peace interiorly. Peace in the world passes through personal conversion.

5.1 – The Basic Character of a Christian’s Way of Life in the World
This is the fundamental vocation of every Christian in the world: to make the Light of Christ inside shine forth into the world. Light leads to action; it produces works, good works. Such action calls for a full spirituality of Christian involvements in politics, the world of work and professional life. Such spirituality has its basis in the priestly ministry and Baptism of all faithful. No.82.83.

5.2 – The Liturgical Life as the Focus of Christian Spirituality
From faith in solely one God, the Trinity of Persons, a Christian draws the conviction that all are brothers and sisters, without distinction of race or sex, social class or culture, and that the mystery of every human being’s identity lies in relation to this. Jesus, who was sent as the supreme presence of the Father’s love for the whole of humanity, expresses and totally realizes in the Eucharist this logic of self-giving, acceptance and listening. (84)
Christian witness is not only coherence, but also the anticipation and realisation, in time and space, of God’s gift, transforming the world. Therefore, the diakonia (service) which the Church must exercise in the world is first of all a service of welcoming and listening to the needs of all, particularly those who have no voice to make themselves heard or no political significance to assert themselves.
The Eucharist, on one hand, gives a believer the conviction that he is plunged, as it were, into a universe of gratuitousness: everything is grace, because everything is a gift of the Father of all that is good. On the other hand, the believer is aware that he is called by the Father to bring forth the positive values contained in everything he has received, so as to give witness to, and make perceptible, the goodness and gratuitousness of the divine gifts. Eucharistic spirituality gives rise to humanity where all are seen as brothers and sisters. The renewal each day of the appeal of the Eucharist is not intended to bend the divine will through the insistence of our request, but rather to patiently open our intelligence and hearts to gradually understand the real gift, Christ, the Fullness of Life, and to commit our will to love and want what God loved and wanted in Christ. (84-87)

5.3 – Towards a Spirituality of Commitment in the World
In summarising the patristic tradition, St. Thomas Aquinas states that the sacramental character received in Baptism and Confirmation is to be seen as a sharing in the priesthood of Jesus Christ and the ability to offer worship. For St. Thomas, worship is not a question of exterior ritual or structures but of leading a truly Christian life. To bear witness based on his relationship to Christ which, in turn, determines what is said and done. (88)
5.3.1 – A Spirituality of Work Done Well, Deeply Grounded in Love of God and Neighbour.
This feeling of gratitude is also expressed in a person’s care of creation through work which is done well, ongoing, industrious and arduous. In fact, God made the world as a thing of great beauty for Adam, so that he could work in it and be its steward (cf. Gn 2:15). In this way, professional work becomes a light illuminating those around us and those whom we meet, and giving savour and joy to those who partake of the fruits of our work. Therefore, each Christian is called to learn his trade well and practice it with care; the sanctification of work consists in this. Pope Benedict reminds us:” They must be persons moved by Christ’s love, persons whose hearts Christ has conquered with is love, awakening within them a love of neighbour”. (89)
5.3.2 – Christian Freedom and the Sense of Family as the Distinctive Signs of this Spirituality
The best service the Church can offer is an adequate formation of conscience and formation in the faith. We become Christians only through union with other Christians in the great Communion of Saints. No one is saved alone; Christ saves humanity as a whole so as to make it the family of God united in his Body and Blood”. (90).

5.4- Conclusion
In Africa today, spiritual movements and Small Christian Communities provide a source of hope for the Church. We know that difficulties still exist in transforming small Christian Communities into vibrant instruments of reconciliation, justice and peace. Nevertheless they are still tremendous signs of the presence of the Spirit of God, Spirit of communion. They are small centres from which the gospel emanates into the world and its realities. Africa should be equipped to form and propagate these living communities and spiritual movements in the whole church as a sign of its spiritual maturity and of its attentive listening to what the Spirit is saying to the Churches. Africa, these words are for you today and tomorrow; You are the salt of the earth and light of the world. In the diversity of your vocations you are workers of reconciliation and peace, you are promoters of Justice ready to bring forth a new Africa. Reject selfishness, sin and violation of justice and peace, work vigorously for reconciliation with God and brethren. The African synod has just begun.