Archbishop Armand RAZAFINDRATANDRA, Archbishop of Antanarivo, Madagascar.

Among the ancestral customs, tradition and wisdom of the people of Madagascar that still live, there is a basic and vital value which "can contribute to confess the glory of the Creator, put in light the grace of the Lord and give, accordingly, Christian life" (AG No. 22). This value, it is the FIHAVANA, THE VITAL LINK that unites the man from Madagascar to his neighbour, and, likewise, with the cosmos and the elements which form it.

- THE PROTOTYPE is the link which unites a child to his parents.

- THE FOUNDATION is the single life which unites them, their vital union: "a child is a particle of life" of his parents;

- VITALLY UNITED, the MPIHAVANA (those who are linked by FIHAVANA) LIVE IN COMMUNION: communion of habitation, work, subsistence, assets, spirit and heart, in happiness and misfortune;

- VITALLY UNITED, the MPIHAVANA DETEST SEPARATION: due to isolation and solitude; to "excommunication (malediction, refusal of benediction). Separation deprives of all strength and enthusiasm for all support and friendship.

- VITALLY UNITED, the MPIHAVANA RESPECT EACH OTHER BY AN EXEMPLARY RESPECT: respect for each other's personality;; respect in word; respect that leads to being tolerant, indulgent, calm; respect that leads to reciprocity in affection.

Along the line of VITAL UNION, between children and parents, PROTOTYPE, FIHAVANANA IS EXTENDED to MARRIED COUPLES, BROTHERS and SISTERS; to members who are more or less close to the family: GRAND PARENTS, uncles and aunts, cousins, etc.; to members of society; to people in relation to authority, subordination, service, business, neighbourhood, etc.

It is not only humans who are controlled by FIHAVANANA but the whole COSMOS with all elements that form it: the stars, the mineral world, the vegetable world, the animal world, the human body, etc.. and that give us some examples of FIHAVANANA in negative or positive. Many proverbs express and show these statements.

From this value of FIHAVANANA, theological reflection on truths of the Christian REVELATION has been done with adjustments, purification and the necessary overcoming. It is this that served as a basis to the "COMMON BASE OF CATECHESIS" entitled "He (God) reconciled us with Him" and the sub-title: "Truths of the Catholic Faith presented to Christians of Madagascar". This work composed by the Episcopal Commission of Catechetic Pastoral Work is in two volumes of over 700 pages, edited and given at the Episcopal Conference of Madagascar by the society of Saint Peter Clever. The second edition has been published.

Original text : French

 

 

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