Br Mua Saurava SM
Wed, Sep 21, 2011
Today we received news from Fr Boniface Kevon, the Novice Master at Tutu, that Br Mua passed away at 1.30 am. It is the feast of St Matthew – who left all his worldly possessions to follow the Call of the Master. Mua had done the same. He will receive the same eternal reward.
Fr Ben McKenna, Provincial of the Oceania Marist Province, reflects on the passing of Br Mua.
I remember well the first day Mua came to our Marist Associate Program at MFC, Tutu, in January 2003.
When we came to the workshop, and were looking at our lawnmowers and brush-cutters, and talking about looking after our compound, his full-hearted and generous response was simply: “I’m looking forward!”
He looked forward...
Mua was someone who always looked forward.
He looked forward to his prayer. He looked forward to gleaning wisdom from his confreres, particularly his elders.
He looked forward to his studies: his studies in Marist Religious Life, and his studies as a mechanic.
He looked forward to carrying out his community responsibilities – he was always generous and diligent. He looked forward to working in his garden.
He looked forward to being welcoming hospitable to all who came to the community. He looked forward to sharing a joke, and gently teasing his confreres and friends.
He looked forward to making a contribution to the Society of Mary, and when he got news of his terminal cancer he found it very difficult to accept.
Mua would keep saying: “I’m not ready. I have not yet made my contribution to the Society of Mary”.
Cancer... nothing could be done
Mua first felt pain in his upper chest in April 2010. He underwent several long and drawn out tests at CWM: testing for pneumonia, TB, and cancer.
It was not until October 2010 he was told he had cancer. In consulting the doctors, in the hope of having an operation, or some effective treatment, we were told his cancer was advanced, and nothing could be done. This was a profound shock for Mua and for all of us.
On further enquiring from the doctor the possible time-line for Mua’s life, we were told “He probably has four to six months, nine at the outside”. That was last October, Mua in fact lived for eleven months.
Praying for a miracle
In that time, throughout the Society of Mary, we have been daily praying, through the intercession of Venerable John Claude Colin, for a miraculous cure from Br Mua’s terminal illness.
Have our prayers been in vain? Is our Founder not worthy of canonisation? These questions surely have crossed our minds.
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We are in the realm of faith. Prayer is about communication – it’s not about manipulation. We are called to listen. What is God saying to us in Mua’s suffering and death?
We are called into the Society of Mary, first of all for our own salvation, and then for the salvation of others.
Surely Mua has achieved both of these ends. He has given himself fully to God and to others right from the moment he desired to become a Marist.
We all know of his qualities already mentioned: prayerfulness, attentiveness to the needs of others, diligence in carrying out his daily tasks, a desire to learn – both in the sacred and secular fields, a sense of humour, and a commitment to make his contribution to the world around him through the Society of Mary.
Living the pledge
Like Mary, Mua did not choose the Cross, he was called to it. Called to share in a most profound way, in his body, and in the dark night of his Gethsemane, the suffering of Jesus his Master.
We have all witnessed this for the last ten months.
Those members of the Tutu Community who have prayed with him, offered him words of encouragement, fed him, given him medicine, massaged his failing body, bathed him, stayed by him in his pain in faith – with few or no words to say: we say Thank You: You know in truth the reality of the Cross.
Together with Mua you have lived the meaning of the words in the Fourviere Pledge:
“We pledge ourselves to accept all sufferings, trials, inconveniences and, if needs be, torture, because we can do all things in Christ Jesus who strengthens us and to whom we hereby promise fidelity”
May Br Mua’s consecrated life and death, following a path not chosen by him, but given to him in the mysterious designs of God, enable all of us to embrace our own trials, pains, sufferings, and yes – our death: that along this pathway, and through this doorway we will be united in the One in Whom our journey begins and ends.