14 Obituary

posted Nov 20, 2018, 7:23 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Nov 20, 2018, 7:27 AM ]

Bro. Milton Lawrence cfc

Milton belonged to the Congregation of Christian Brothers, and we were introduced to him by one of the Brothers. When I first met him, I addressed him as 'Brother'. He wasn't entirely an unknown quantity, since we had been informed earlier about his being a trained EQ Therapist. Curious about this new and little known form of therapy, we sought to meet him and find out more about him and his work. A few minutes into the conversation, and I knew I was in the presence of someone special, unique and gifted. Within the hour, I would stop addressing him as 'brother' used as a title of address. I would call him 'brother' as a result of a 'relationship' that was born that morning. He was a man familiar with pain and suffering, and more importantly, had learned how to transform it. Three sentences and a look into each other's eyes were all it took for me to feel 'understood'. He was a man of few words.

It was a few months later, when he was invited to be the Resource person for our Day of Prayer, Reflection and Silent Meditation for the Christian Meditation Community, that the full impact of my initial insight began to dawn on me. He suggested that the programme be named 'The Spirituality of Imperfection'. Religion, instead of binding us to God, as is its original intent, often ends up binding us in chains. We needed to put the Spirit back into the ritual. Religion had to give way to spirituality. And like any sincere 'seeker', he looked to find his own identity. Having found it to a large extent in his work as a Christian Brother, working mainly in Ghana and the Gambia within their African province, he shared with us how it had somehow not brought with it a sense of 'belonging'. The pain of being 'anonymous' was something he constantly wrestled with. A green T-shirt he picked up in Africa was his only treasure and most significant possession. I learned that day that the way out of anonymity is learning to treasure one's own uniqueness; in his words, to relish being "original" and not play to the gallery by being a "copy". It is the complete antidote to, and definitely not, a projection of self.

While in Africa, he was sent to the Institute of St Anselm in Kent in the U.K. It is a Catholic Institute for the training of priests and nuns. He was to undergo a year's training in Spirituality. EQ therapy was one of the electives in the course, and as you can easily imagine, it was here that his 'giftedness' was discovered. While others trained to learn a technique, he was merely allowing the treasure he held within him to unfold. St Anselm's was not slow to set him apart to be a permanent member of their Staff in the coming years. He was to join them in mid-2016, when BREXIT put paid to all their plans, and his as well. Relocating to Rome, the Institute awaited his joining them there in a few months.