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21 October

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Quy, one of the aspirants of the Sector Ad Gentes



Reflexion of Br.Luis Sobrado, Superior of the Sector Ad Gentes

13/07/2010: Thailand

For the new Sector Mission Ad Gentes Superior, the question of local vocations is a fundamental to create roots for the Marist charism in Asian lands. Therefore, right from now, we have to develop a quite aggressive vocational ministry. Bro Luis shares with us a vocational experience

Recently, the father of Quy was granted a Mention Award for having completed twenty seven years as a catechist in the parish. After 27 years of work as a catechist he volunteered to retire thinking that the Catechetical School needed new blood and new ways. However, after he was absent for a few months from the school, the Parish Council sent a delegation to ask him to go back to teaching catechism and forming catechists. Quy himself was taught by his father at the City Catechetical School and it was his father who introduced him to the work of animation of youth groups in the Parish. It was while Quy worked with youth in the Parish that he came to
know the Little Brothers of Mary and soon became attracted to our mission and life style.

Quy’s parents have four children: two boys and two girls. His brother is a Cistercian monk. One sister is a professed Religious Sister and the other is in the Novitiate.

In my conversation with Quy’s father I asked him about his feelings and thoughts now that the only child left in the family, that’s Quy, is ready to make the important step of going to the Philippines as a Postulant for the Little Brothers of Mary. He became very serious, closed his eyes and quickly answered: “This is a matter between Quy and our Good Father God. If Quy is called to become a Little Brother of Mary I will not be the one standing on His way.”

Then, knowing that fishing is one of my hobbies we spent the rest of the conversation speaking about net fishing. He graciously performed for Brother Canisio and for me the art of holding the throwing net on the right arm and then swinging and casting it. He did his performance on the house court yard using one of the washed nets hanging from a nail on the outside of the house wall.

As I began to move away on Canisio’s motorbike, I felt one of those deep inner emotions that often touch our hearts whenever we respectfully come close into the presence of God. Tears of overwhelming joy came to my eyes just thinking of this small, slim man: one of those great men who have fallen in love with the Good Lord and Our Good Mother Mary. He would not even think twice about encouraging every member of his family to become a consecrated person to that Loving God of his, working in the early hours of the morning to have the bare minimum needed to survive as a person and as a family and devoting the better part of the day and of his energy to teach others how to know and to love Jesus and Mary. I felt privileged to see one of his sons being attracted by the way of life and mission of the Little Brothers of Mary.

Why am I sharing this experience with you?

For several reasons:
One, to share with you my growing conviction that the coming of the Little Brothers of Mary to this part of the world has much to do with being led by Mary, Our Good Mother and First Superior. That three of our Brothers have been led through a complicated stream of circumstances to establish a community of the Little Brothers of Mary here, at the heart of Catholic life in the country, has much to do with being guided by Mary. Every place where we find ourselves today in the AMAG Sector has its own story and I cannot stop myself from thinking that, in every case, there is a call and there is guidance from the part of Our Good Mother Mary. Such an intuition is an invitation to continuously grow in a spirit of discernment and availability ready to go there where the poorest children and youth are found.

Two, the example of the father of Quy is telling me that the mission of the Little Brothers of Mary is today more needed than ever before: to make Jesus known and loved, as Mary did. Before sacrificing this mission to financial strains or cultural or contextual difficulties, I would have to be satisfied that what a poor fisherman, with a family of his own to look after and living in the simplest and most dignified way, a Little Brother of Mary cannot do. The father of Quy is effectively a full time Catechist in the local Catholic Community, helping to run what I see as a first class Catechetical program and Church development plan within a situation that allows for self-financial sustainability.

Though a Community and Project of the Little Brothers of Mary is not like Quy’s family, the challenge remains very similar and it will take much love of God and love of the poor children and youth for us to function in such way that our communities and ministries become fully alive with zeal and charity and, at the same time, financially sustainable.

Three, and this is the more important point to me, we are becoming part of a Community of faith that has much to offer and to teach us. It is important that we remain very sensitive to the vision and ways of these different Communities of Faith that we find as we move in. People like the father of Quy deserve to be listened to very carefully. Full respect and support should be given to them. We are privileged to be allowed to become part of their Community and their challenging way of practicing Christian faith.

Let us pray for one another that we might truly become worthy apostles and Little Brothers of Mary in these Countries of Asia.

The reading of these days of the Third Week in Lent are pregnant with insights into the heart of God and, particularly, of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Take for example the gospel of today (11th March 2010): the mute man recovered the power of the word, when he was freed from the presence of evil in his heart. We all, probably, have different presences of evil in our heart. We urgently need to come into closer contact with Jesus so that he might touch our lives and free us from these evil presences. Probably, there is no other way but this gentle, powerful, loving touch of Jesus that can truly free us and heal us.

Lent reminds us, also, of the three traditional ways of coming close to Jesus: prayer, fasting and works of charity. That is, praying daily for longer period of time and praying better both at the personal and community levels; fasting in the manner that St. Marcellin used to explain to the young Brothers: bringing about some kind of discipline in our life at the service of our Brothers; and works of charity – the poor children and youth are the privileged space of encounter with Jesus for a Little Brother of Mary. As we begin to grow and consolidate as a Community of Missionaries of Little Brothers of Mary, we discover with always greater evidence the importance and the far reaching implications of the “fasting of St. Marcellin”: the daily practice of the Little Virtues. Youth and people of this part of the world seem to be over-sensitive to the presence and practice of these little virtues. They easily are attracted and fall in love with the communities of the Little Brothers of Mary where these virtues are flourishing. During my visit, more than once the Brothers had to tell the young people who were invading the house to go back home to sleep. They felt so much at home with us! This is the fasting that is pleasant to our Good Lord and to our Good Mother: the unconditional service and the devoted and permanent working at building up Communities of Little Brothers of Mary where everyone can truly feel at home!

I invite you to share in one of the community meetings your way of practicing prayer, fasting and works of charity and try to learn from your Brothers different ways of going about practicing these very important dimensions of Christian life. One could easily add, “and Muslim, and Buddhist, and Hindu ways of life”.

Br.Luis Sobrado

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