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When the heart is also asked questions

11/09/2007: Brazil

Bro. Paul Fornells gave the reason for this day; he began by recalling what had been the itinerary followed by the Assembly at Mendes until now.  First of all, to allow oneself to be touched by the needs and possibilities of children and the young, and, secondly, to consider the Marist answers.  Today the third step will be to stop before the very vocation of the Marist Brother and lay person.

Pau proposes to the members of the Assembly to review their own life, to return to the first love, to share the most profound and essential aspects of their own vocation by inviting them to silence, to contemplate Gods action in each persons life.  After this first time of personal reflection in silence, members share in groups and reflect so as to discover what is specific to the vocation of the Brothers, to the vocation of the lay persons, and what is common to both.

Here are the results of this work, synthesized:

Results of the options of the Assembly

A.  Elements common to the vocation of the Marist Brother and lay person

Parentheses indicate frequencies.

  • Attention to preference for the poor and excluded children and young. (60)
    In trying to meet the needs of children and the young.
    Love children and the young.  A special mission to the least favored.  Be present conjointly to the young.
  • Co-responsibility (41)
    Co-responsibility in the Marist mission.  Heirs of the charism.
  • Marcellin as reference and inspiration (27)
    Inspired by Marcellin, by Champagnats charism.
  • Brotherhood (25)
    Brotherhood and sense of family like Mary.  Family spirit.  Family values.
  • Builders of the Kingdom like Mary (23)
    Witness - apostolate.  Shared mission to announce the Gospel by education with a strong social commitment, a passion for Evangelization.  Helping to build the Kingdom, by making Jesus known and loved.
  • Feel loved by God (21)
    Let oneself be led by the Spirit.  Center our life on Jesus.
  • Marist spirituality (15)
    Devotion to Mary.
  • Passionate hearts (14)
  • Witness of Christian living (6)
  • Reciprocal relations (6)
  • Complementing and stimulating each other in our own vocation (6)
  • Witnesses to Marial values in the Church, for the young and the world. (6)
  • Call to holiness (3)
  • Personal and community prayer (4)
  • Brothers and lay people searching for new structures (3)
  • A heart without boundaries (3)
  • Christian vocation of Baptism (1)

B.  Elements special to the vocation of lay Marists.

  • Interaction in the world, political engagement (42)
    To encourage the Marist mission in all professional activities.  Reality and experience of the world.  To be a Marist presence and witness in the world.  To see deeply into family problematics and the signs of the times.
  • Feminine sensitivity (40)
    A look at the Marist charism on everybody from the point of view of women.
    The presence of women offers us a new sense of marriage.
  • Family and community engagement (30)
    Lay vocation in the family setting.  For married people with family and sharing Marist values.  Family and educational engagement.
  • Sense of belonging and various forms of adhesion (27)
  • Enthusiasm for mission (14)
    Inspired by our charism.
  • Use of the spirit of Champagnat to complete the Brothers (12)
  • Engagement in the mission of the Church according to our charism (12)
  • Sharing plans, services and friendship as a help to mission (11)
  • Helping the Brothers in their work (10)
  • Diversity of spirituality among the laity (4)
  • Reciprocity in relationships with the Brothers (3)
  • Being witnesses (2)
  • Plurality in choice of life (1)

C.  Elements special to the vocation of a Brother

  • Religious consecration (87)
    Called to a specific consecration.  Fidelity to ones religious consecration.  Celibacy.  The heart of the life of Marist Brothers is the Vows.  Freedom of the Evangelical Counsels. 
     
    Community Life (49)
    Strength in and by the Community
  • Availablility for mission (39)
    Radical and unconditional availablility for mission.  Total and exclusive devotedness to mission.
  • Being a Brother (34)
    Being a Brother for everybody: present, listening, welcoming in order to personalize my love.
  • Presence and support (23)
    Simplicity of presence among the young.  A presence attentive to the individual and to the world of the young.
  • A choice for children and the young (10)
  • Special responsibility for the charism (9)
  • Promoters of the Marist fire (7)

An open forum brings together the days discoveries

What the members of the Assembly brought had a special character coming from the heart.  We take up some of them.

  1. "We feel called to deepen our specific identity as Brothers and lay people as desired by the General Chapter."
  2. "As Marists--Brothers and lay people--we are called to work with poor young people and children.  We are called for the poor."
  3. "One of the words we repeated in our group is  the one to be prophets and to present our mission with prophetic courage."
  4. "In the mission we share women are something new, and this is a call for the Institute to evaluate the feminine presence in the Institute.  Not only look upon us as women, but that the feminine presence be in leading roles.  Thus, we have much to offer."
  5. "It is no longer a matter of enlarging the tent; now the challenge is to build a new house with Brothers and lay people."
  6. "What does this moment mean for the Marist world?  We are living moments not only of the spirit but of total apprenticeship in which the leading role of the Brothers and of the lay people  must  disappear, so that "We Marists" will appear.  It is, therefore, a moment of openness, of joy, in which we are going to find light little by little, a path which will light our way.  Thats a treasure."

From the open forum to the Eucharist

The contributions of the open forum created an atmosphere of celebration highlighted by the chant of the Magnificat and pursued in the Eucharist, in which a group of actors helped to highlight the spirit of the day by mimed scenes…

A few lines to close the day

The newness of what happened today in the Assembly could be summarized in the question asked by a lay woman in her group: "How far can I go as a lay person?"  This question leads us from reflecting on our consecration itself back to our Baptismal sources.  If Baptism is a personal and free consecration to God and an offering, a gift to Jesus Christ and His Church forever, how far can she go as a lay person?  This is a question from the heart, a question which asks how far fidelity can go.

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