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Mystics and prophets : Interview with Br Emili

30/05/2013: General House
General Conference 2013

Awaken the dawn, is the slogan chosen for the next General Conference to be held at the Hermitage from 8 to 29 September 2013. Prophets and mystics for our time is the sub-title which makes concrete the main topics to be covered at the assembly. We posed some questions on this subject to our Superior General, Br Emili.

Christian theology and spirituality talk a lot today about the «mystico-prophetic tradition».

class=imgshadowI think it is not simply a matter of trying to transcend the antagonism between the two in the past, but also of a way of recognising that such an opposition is not part of the tradition. The  prophets were mystics and the mystics were prophets. It was unthinkable that a person could call for justice and social change without having some experience of union with God. It was equally unthinkable for anyone to be an accomplished mystic if he did not speak openly and in a critical way of the injustices of his time.

Our life is very active. What does the mystic dimension involve?

It is precisely because of our type of life that we need to cultivate a mysticism which lets us live « centred ». I believe numbers of us have lived the intoxicating experience of action ; and we have had to take the means necessary to overcome addiction to unbounded activism. In my opinion, the first, the most essential and the purest call we feel within ourselves is that we are called to "BE brothers".

You place a strong accent on "BE brothers".

This is because many value us because of what we do, as a simple « taskforce » at the service of the Church and society, while in reality our existence as an Institute has meaning in itself, without it being necessary to highlight our specific function. « TO BE brothers » - mystics and prophets -, there is the core of our life, there where we risk our present and our future. To be what we are called to be. To be ourselves : it implies the enormous challenge of coherence.

And the prophetic dimension?

Prophetic action is the public face of mysticism, Sandra M. Schneiders says. Religious life is a form of charismatic life, which is born as a gift of the Holy Spirit to live, in a collective way, the prophetic character of the Church. What distinguishes this prophetic vocation from other ministries of the Word in the Church is that it focuses its proclamation of the Kingdom of God on a particular situation : the integral education of children and youth, in what concerns us.

And that does not go without demands…

Certainly. It involves fulfilling the prophetic mission in trying to respond to the signs of the times ; the concrete tasks may know variations, precisely out of fidelity to the charism. I believe that the living of this prophetic witness means, for us, to always show preference for the most vulnerable children and young people, and to be capable of seeing the world from their perspective. With them and for them, we will be capable of adopting a critical attitude, in word and especially in deeds, in the face of social and ecclesial values and structures, and of inviting to a systematic change, rather than contenting ourselves with temporary and limited solutions.

General Conference 2013

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