Brother Bernard Ntamak-Songué lives in a Dominican community in Douala, the biggest city of Cameroun with 5 million inhabitants at the west coast of Central Africa. Br Bernard is student chaplain in a very chaplaincy, gathering thousands of students in their activities.
Here´s his message to us for the new year, yours br Björn
the question I much reflect on in the world of today is that of egoism, that is promoted by the economical and social structures, the individualism of this world.
This is very much felt also in our country and it contaminates the politics and others parts of the society . The individual success goes before everything else and creates conflicts of all sorts, also wars. The individualism and egoism is so important, more important even than religious questions, because it completely destroys the society and the human culture. If everyone is thinking of himself only it destroys the world.
Faith is the expression of what is most humble in man. You can have big project for the society or for yourself, but you have to understand that things do not depend on you. You create things and then suddenly they fail and are destroyed even though you are working hard. This happen all the time, and that´s a sign that it is not only our effort things depend on. We are limited and there is something bigger than us.
There is little hope in the world today and I think there is a great precarity in Europe in this field. In my country things are different. People live under very difficult conditions but anyhow there is life. Whatever people goes through there is still hope, because they say to themselves: After all there is God, and that makes life possible to continue. If you have faith, whatever that happens, there is something on which you can lean.
I work with students, and it happens sometimes that students come and demand a Mass to be celebrated for one of them who is in some kind of difficulties. That expresses a hope and when that student hears in Mass that this celebration is made for him, it consoles and releaves him. When I see the students helping a friend in difficultiesit is really fine.
Faith is a basic structure of the society, the capacity to live together. Perhaps you can not find solutions on your problems, but you can care for one another.