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The spirituality of restructuring in the foreground

 

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VIII General Conference

28/05/2007: General House

This first working day of the second week has focussed on making a summary and synthesis with the objective of concluding the reflection on restructuring. In the schedule for the sessions it was announced in this way: “Finalizing an action plan to promote the second stage of restructuring; clarifying the role of the Provincial or District Superior in this plan.” The second stage of restructuring is centred in the attitudes of people in response to the spiritual demands that this new form of the organisation of the Institute requires. Thus, the subject of the day has been the spirituality of restructuring.

The work has been oriented through some questions: In the next three months, what has to occur in my Province or District in terms of restructuring for the mission to be the first priority? What are the implications for me as Provincial? With these questions in his mind and heart, each participant reflected for a time and produced a written synthesis that later was presented to the others for their evaluation. We are heading towards a second phase of restructuring that inspires the inner communion between people.

In the responses, they spoke of having clear priorities to be faithful to the calls from the Spirit to the Institute. “I can wait for what is foreseen in the calendar or in the schedule, but I can also wait for unforeseen novelties,” Brother Seán said, encouraging the superiors to “light a fire” in the heart of the brothers and laypeople so as to overcome resistance and generate new life.

Brother Luis García Sobrado stressed that many brothers are waiting for something new and this is something that has never been seen before. We need to listen to God through our hearts in prayer to reinvent the sense of religious and Marist life. The Lord is asking a great deal from us, he is asking for everything. He referred to the attitude of the brothers in Canada who are humbly asking laypeople to help them to see what the religious in their country must do to be faithful to the Gospel and to serve the Church. “How do we look for what is new? How do we make a revolution?” Brother Luis asked. And he finished by saying, “If you ask me if I have the responses to these questions I will tell you I do not; but I have intuitions.”

Another brother added: I have some ideas on the spirituality of restructuring but I have not developed them. For me the desert is full of meaning because it is a good image of what we are living in the Provinces and because in the desert God speaks to our heart. The attitude of listening to God in the austerity of the desert is very adequate for this time of searching.

To close this reflection on the spirituality of restructuring, Brother Seán added a few words: “I must admit something. Up until the present I had not made an explicit presentation of the spirituality of restructuring. The first time that I spoke about this subject was during the meeting of the General Council with the Provincial Councils of Africa at Nairobi when finishing the visit to this region. At this time, I realised that restructuring was painful for many brothers and they could not associate it with the action of God. That is why there was resistance. I believe that the spirituality of restructuring is what gives us the strength to move forward. What is my dream for this new way of living?” And he concluded by saying: “It seems to me that we must develop this spirituality. We need to be with God and to listen to what he is asking us today. This is the essence of restructuring.”

The participants centred their tasks on these thoughts. And during a very intense week we will examine the subject of the regionalisation of the Institute.

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