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Year of Spirituality

16/05/2008: Paraguay

On April 14, 2008 at the Marist residence in Asunción, Bro. Teófilo met with all the youth ministers of Marist schools in Paraguay. The objective of the meeting was to deepen the participants’ knowledge of the book Water from the Rock.

First there was a presentation about (a) the book’s general themes and (b) the new features of Marist Spirituality flowing from Champagnat tradition which appear in the book. Afterwards came time for questions. In fact, the questions went beyond the clear themes of the book and beyond spirituality to refer to other big projects being carried out in the Institute. Bro. Teófilo always responded by trying to show a relationship to Spirituality, the topic that, in fact, had brought us together.

One of the questions referred to the Ad Gentes project. Bro. Teófilo was very clear in stating that Marist spirituality is a missionary spirituality. This characteristic does not appear explicitly among those which define Marist spirituality in the first Chapter. However, it is clearly presented in nº 149 where we read that we direct our journey to those places where others would prefer not to go…when our mission is concluded, we move on to new places that require our presence. In regard to missionary spirituality (in Asia), Bro. Teófilo presented four major characteristics that in one way or other we find in the book Water from the Rock. They are:

• Missionary spirituality should be a spirituality of presence;
• A spirituality of dialogue;
• A kenotic, spirituality this that is to say, a spirituality where the missionary should empty himself of his culture, of his tradition to assume the culture and the traditions of the place where he lives as evangelical witness;
• A spirituality of reconciliation and harmony.

On the question of the Hermitage, Bro. Teófilo said that no better project related to our Spirituality could be found. To renovate the structures of the Hermitage is important, but we should not forget the greater objective of that renovation: to transform lHermitage into a centre of Marist spirituality. Programs and texts on Marist Spiri-tuality will be written. The book Water from the Rock constitutes an important docu-ment that will certainly take its place among the new programs and texts.

Another question referred to the Mendes Assembly. The question was of special int-erest because some members of the group had attended the Assembly: Isn’t the Assem-bly being forgotten? It is not, Bro. Teófilo guarantees. In fact the document’s first paragraph, Open to the Breath of the Spirit, speaks clearly of a spirituality of disciple-ship (disciples of Jesus). This spirituality is developed in our evangelizing ministries that are liberating and prophetic. Indeed, the whole document presumes in a renewed way that Marist spirituality is an apostolic spirituality. There are, therefore, no reasons to fear that the Mendes Assembly will be forgotten. With a fresh energy, Water from the Rock will serve to remind us of mission. In its turn, the Assembly is telling us that without spirituality, the life, future and hope of mission has no foundation.

The youth ministers of Paraguay thank Bro. Teófilo for the light he brought to us regarding Marist spirituality. This light will help us better to live and carry out our mission. And he opened within us the curiosity to go further in discovering Water from the Rock. This water becomes a river which will allow us to drink continually.

Youth Ministers of Paraguay
Asunción, April 14, 2008

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