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Orientations for the new school year in the Léonin Secondary School at Patissia

23/10/2006: Greece

The previous week we consecrated a morning for the reorientation and the deepening of our special mission for a better education of our students. During this morning, we concentrated on this deepening by focussing on the different situations that Saint Marcellin Champagnat had to face in order to realise his educational vision, becoming more aware of his profound confidence in God and his entire availability to Him.
As we are all invited to work in this Establishment, we also have the obligation of knowing well its special mission and ours. It’s the call that Saint Marcellin heard when he found himself face to face with the complete ignorance of the evangelic message in the children of the French countryside.
Saint Marcellin was convinced that his vision and his mission came from Christ and the Blessed Virgin. It was they who inspired him and helped him to realise it. It was under their care that he undertook this great adventure, with great confidence and a great love for his brothers and for children. Following him, we are also invited to participate in this same mission, with the same confidence and the same love for Jesus and Mary and for the children entrusted to us and for those with whom we share the same mission.
We cannot participate in the Marist mission if we do not share Marcellin’s charism which is at the base of the whole Marist project.
We cannot understand the grandeur of our mission, that we take on together, brothers and laypeople, if, like Brother Julio and his companions martyred in love and for their faith, we do not share the same faith, the same love and the same audacity.
We cannot be sure of the success of our mission if we are not conscious that “it is God who wants it.”
We cannot distinguish the signs of God, who speaks to us through the voice of children whom we have to educate, especially deprived children, if we lack faith.
We cannot respond to questions of our students, if we are not available to listen to them, if we are not attentive to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit as Marcellin was.
We cannot make the distinction between the will of God and ours, if we do not allow ourselves to be enlightened by Him, Light and Life.
We cannot be called Marist Educators, if we do not feel that Mary is our Good Mother, as our Model, as the prototype of confidence in God.
We have a common vision, the same that gave Saint Marcellin, nearly two hundred years ago, the strength to realise it. His unique motivation was “to make Jesus Christ known and loved.” The education of children was for him the most appropriate way for leading young people to faith and the experience of God, to become “good Christians and worthy citizens.” We all know his saying: “I cannot see a child without wanting to tell him how much God loves him.”
In order to make Marcellin’s mission ours and to follow up his educational project, we must have the same faith and the same apostolic zeal as he did.
How can we spread the saving evangelical message, if we ourselves do not believe?
How can we make our students feel the dimension of the love of God, if we do not feel it ourselves?
How can we speak to our students about Christian and profoundly human values, if we do not live them ourselves?
How can we invite our students to seek a personal encounter with Christ and help them to believe that this same Christ is the source of life and of hope, if we, ourselves, do not believe in Him?
God chose Marcellin Champagnat to carry his message of love and of hope to the young people of his time. He invites us to do the same today…
Sometimes we will fall, we will tire, we will become discouraged. But with the strength of faith and our love for God and for the mission that He has entrusted to us, we will find the necessary strength to continue. It is a continual combat that we have to give. Let’s not forget that the greatest difficulties are found in ourselves. Our efforts are blocked by our indifference, by our lack of collaboration, by our egocentrism, by our presumptions, by seeking personal profit of any sort and we forget our true mission and the objectives of our vocation as educators…
The numerous seminars that we have organised have been an occasion given to each one of us to discover our personal riches and that of others, intellectual spiritual and affective. We have to share these riches with our colleagues, with the children, with the parents who entrust their children to us. Let’s not forget also our obligations towards our society which is so much in need of true values, the gift of self, of love.
Let us put these riches at the disposition of the whole educational community but especially at the disposition of those who are in most need. Let’s not forget that we work in a Christian and Marist school. We are not seeking elitism, success for success’ sake. We must be proud of the confidence that the parents show in us by entrusting their children to us, submitting themselves to important restrictions to be able to enrol them with us.
We know Marcellin’s great concern for the poorest and marginalised children. These children whom others refuse, abandon and sometimes scorn. These children have the greatest need of our affection, of our attention, of our help. It is our charism…
Let’s start this new year having the same vision as Champagnat.
With “a heart that knows no bounds”,
With audacity and hope,
With faith in God, sure that we are accomplishing his will,
With a lot of love for all.
At the heart of our mission and of our apostolate let us follow the three principal counsels of our Founder: the Presence of God, the confidence and protection of Mary, with great simplicity, modesty and humility.

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