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Letter of the lay participants in the3rd «Mediterranea» Provincial Chapter

27/01/2010: Spain

Dear Brothers, peace and understanding! We would not like to let this opportunity pass without addressing you some words as a group of laity. Although we have felt free to participate in the Chapter, it is no less true that we have been asking ourselves some questions during this time about the nature of our presence here.

We express to you our gratitude and our satisfaction at having been invited to take part in this important forum for the Province of Mediterránea. We are grateful to the Lord also for being part of this same table and this same family in our daily life.

We are Marists, and we are able to represent so many lay people living and working at your side, even though, formally, we do not represent the laity of the Province. There is a first point that we perceive as a challenge: to give expression to the way in which we, lay Marists, organize ourselves as a group. Thus our presence in organizations such as the Chapter and the Assemblies could be delegated by the laity themselves; or even have the possibility of placing in common the discernment and reflection of the laity who are present in our works. We know that it is up to us to initiate this process, but you could, perhaps, make things clearer for us or reinforce this task with the provincial animation.

Second priority. There is this offer which we feel as a common desire: beyond the shared, or sometimes « divided », mission, we desire with all our hearts that you rely on us. With love, but challenging you in a brotherly way, we believe that in the Marist work in our countries, we are wasting an important human potential. « I would do more with twenty good Marists than with 30,000 francs » Marcellin said, in as many words. At this time, to have some 200 people ready to live for a practical ideal is a luxury we could hardly ignore. One example: if you include us in the statistics of teams and commissions, we do not understand why you do not include us in the calculation of the medium age. The pyramid would change, without a doubt. This is perhaps demagogic, but a year when one is sixty years old has the same number of days as a year when one is thirty.

You are, perhaps, like us, a little tired of hearing that we are old, that everything is very complicated, that our life does not mean much… provided that there are tears like those of the people of Abraham « sowing their seed », for otherwise there will be no fire under the embers. Time passes and sometimes we act as if we were the navel of the world. The world needs Brothers and we positively hope that they will be coming; but you are already there, in numbers, called by Jesus Christ and accompanied by Mary. You are seed now, simple witness, leaven and face of our good God for thousands of people.

And fortunately, you have, now, much work to do « here below ». That is where we want to be, at your side, sharing the way and the pack. Many of the things which pain and concern you, pain and concern us as well, among others, so many children and young people in situations of poverty and family difficulties. What gives you joy and fills you with hope, also gives us joy and fills us with hope… and if we ask, it is because we also want to be demanding on ourselves. Rely on us, for the shared mission, but also for the animation of vocations, the provincial animation, the spirituality and the transmission of the charism of Champagnat today. Brothers and laity in communion.

We have before us a new time and spaces ceaselessly changing which we have to accept and take on with audacity and hope, but also with urgency. In a certain way, it is a joy to share with Champagnat the same situation he experienced almost 200 years ago: a mission to fulfill among children and young people, the imperative necessity to trust in God to do this, and few resources to carry it out. We have the possibility of continuing the Marist life, of building a new Hermitage without securities.

We wish you a happy end to the Chapter and ask the Good Mother to give you the strength and joy necessary to carry out what God is asking us for today.

Your brothers and friends embrace you very affectionately,

María José, Fernando, Juan, Rafael, Gian Domenico, León, José Antonio, Javier and Arturo
Guardamar (Spain), 28 December 2009

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