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My name is Tarcísio Tomás de Fátima and I am originally from Timor-Leste. I joined the MAGIS group in 2019 through MAGIS Timor-Leste, and since then I started to know about Ignatian Spirituality. MAGIS helped me to know myself better, to be more aware of discerning my decisions which lead me to consolation, and to know the Principle and Foundation—in everything we need to love and to serve God; everything that has been given to us, we use it to help us walk towards God. Thus, we need to leave anything that hinders our way to God.
I managed to join the MAGIS Timor-Leste from its first gathering on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius until the gatherings on Ignatian Leadership. However, I was not able to participate in the immersion program, pilgrimage, and retreat at the end of the MAGIS formation because I had to move to Cambodia to continue my studies. It was a hard decision for me to make at that time. I still remember one of my friends saying to me, “Try to always be the light when darkness seems to occur.” I finally discerned and decided to move to Cambodia on September 15th, 2019. In my mind I was hoping that it was still possible for me to go to MAGIS Cambodia.
I arrived in Cambodia on September 16th, 2019. After a few days, I contacted Jesuit Service Cambodia via Facebook. I was invited to Prieb So (Jesuit Residence) in Phnom Penh, to meet Fr. Simon Tama (MAGIS Cambodia Coordinator) and all Magisers (short for “Magis members”). I had the opportunity to meet new friends and to meet God.
On October 26th-27th, 2019, I arrived in Prieb So and participated in the first MAGIS Gathering with MAGIS Cambodia. I began to adapt. Hearing the prayers in Khmer language amazed me and gladdened my heart. I realized that our faith is universal. Furthermore, during our Magis sharing circles, I had the opportunity to get to know others in depth. We prayed and shared our experiences with each other, thus, discovering God together.
I believe that this experience is an opportunity to learn from other cultures and young people who, like me, experience the living God. We used English and Khmer simultaneously, as I could not understand or speak Khmer. Despite speaking and using different languages, there was the common language of Ignatian Spirituality and the Love of God.
MAGIS helps us to grow in our personal relationship with God and with others, even in a different cultural context. We get to know ourselves better and become more aware of who we are, and come closer to God and God’s wonderful creation. Jesus Christ is the center of MAGIS, and every Magis Gathering helps us to meet Him, experience His unconditional love for us, and discover His presence in our daily lives so that we may see Him more clearly, love Him more dearly, and follow Him more nearly day by day.
I am so grateful that God has given me the time and opportunity to be with MAGIS Cambodia—to learn, to share, and to get to know each other. I would also like to thank the Jesuits in Cambodia and all my fellow Magisers for giving me the opportunity, for welcoming me and giving me a place in MAGIS Cambodia.
Be Magis always, be Magis for AMDG.
Tarcísio Tomás de Fátima
The Magis group helps me to be healthy, both mentally and spiritually. I can have fun while attending this program. In the group, we are like a family. I feel safe to share some of the problems that I have hidden in my heart and also listen to others who share their problems.
I got a chance to know the Examen (examination of consciousness) from the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius. The Examen helps me to have peace of mind and more self-awareness. It helps me to find time to reflect on the experiences that happen day to day.
I seldom pay attention to what I did in each day. When I started doing the Examen, it was a break-time for me to re-think my daily routine, what I have experienced and what touched my heart; which experience made me feel happy, unhappy; what things influence me, made me feel this way or that way; and then I prayed to the Father to listen to my prayers.
During that time, it seemed to me that I was blind, but in the end, I eventually saw God’s glory. I saw the light of many gifts from God, which I didn’t expect because when I have a problem, I think only of the problem and not of the gifts from God. There are many gifts that God has given to us, such as breath, food, and many more that are priceless. Now, I tell God all my problems and troubles, I accept them and just wait for God’s time and grace. That is why I like to do spiritual exercises because it helps me to realize the gifts God gives me daily which otherwise, I would not have understood if I had not done the Examen.
The second thing that I like is discernment. For me, this lesson teaches us to think through and pray about something we are planning to do. We cannot decide immediately without thinking, because we can get things wrong and make wrong decisions.
When I was not yet a member of Magis, I was like an impulsive child. If I wanted to do something, I must do it and I don’t think much about it. So, when I wanted to do something, I just do it and then I feel sad and unhappy after doing it. But after I joined Magis and learned Examen, I am reminded to think more carefully than before about what to do and what not to do, to consider more deeply before deciding to do something. This can be challenging because a wrong choice can cause a crisis and even self-blame. Decisions are made in daily life and we need to compare and contemplate which decision is better.
Finally, I would like to thank all the Magis members for giving me the opportunity to become one of them and to learn more about the spiritual life.