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Sharing processes of faith and vocation

 

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International experience of joint formation and charismatic vitality (2)

24/07/2008: Ecuador - Photo gallery

Our experience of joint formation in the Hispanic-Portuguese linguistic area (14 administrative units being present) continues. After the first week dedicated to organization, integration and motivation, the 21 participants, brothers and lay people, have now entered more deeply into our processes of faith and specific vocation. 
 
Monday 7 was dedicated entirely to personal retreat: Identifying my current process in following Jesus (My salvation history). Silence, looking back at my life, depth, God and me, view of my weaknesses, efforts, achievements… but, mainly, the grace of God manifested so many times. At the end of the day we sang with Mary: You have done marvels for me. Your name is God and you are merciful. You have driven away the sand of the desert and you have filled me with Living Water.   
 
Tuesday 8 had as its slogan: Remove your shoes… this ground is sacred! Time to share our salvation history with the brothers and sisters of our small communities. The miracle of sharing the faith! This place is sacred ground. This place is a meeting ground. This place is brothers’ ground. This place is God’s ground . At the end of the day, united as a great community that passes all frontiers, we saw in Jeremiah, Mary, Peter, Magdalene and the disciples of Emmaus, the icons of our journey, as brothers and lay people, sharing our life and our faith. On the way to discernment and doubts, but with the certainty that God is present in the journey and that he leaves his mark. As we walk together, we feel the ardour in our hearts and in the warmth of our home; together we celebrate the sharing of Bread. “And a firm conviction takes possession of us: Without shared life, there can be no shared mission. 
 
Throughout Wednesday and Thursday, we wanted to study more deeply what the key elements were (contents, approaches, methodology…) for the development of our processes of faith, the most significant elements required to develop our common Marist spirituality and the elements that help us, the complementarity of brothers and lay people, to live our faith more profoundly within Marist spirituality. Long and complicated work, but one that we take on with discipline and good humour. 
 
On Friday 11 we highlighted what made us pulsate most during these days of sharing our personal faith and our common Marist spirituality. These are some of the convictions that were expressed:   
 

  • Other people are the word of God for me.  
  • I want faith, lived in community, to be the driving force of my Marist mission.  
  • We should encourage spaces and structures that allow us to share life in the province.  
  • I want to have the eyes and the heart of God to know how to read the world.  
  • It is necessary to encourage more the joint formation of brothers and lay people; it is the key for the future of the Marist charism.  
  • We need to discover new forms of commitment, membership and ownership of the lay people to the Marist Institute.  
  • Our communities share more what they do rather than what they are.  
  • We should learn how to share our fragilities and our achievements.  
  • We should discern the quality of our personal and provincial processes.  
  • It is necessary to prepare formators, lay and brothers, of Marist spirituality.  
  • The importance of developing personal journeys of faith and processes of joint formation.  
  • I feel a call to essentialise life.  
  • We should honour life over structure.  
  • It is necessary to promote formation for personal and community accompaniment.  
  • I want to work so that my family is a Marist family.  
  • The spirituality should be shared from the initial formation.  
  • If the brothers are not well, I as a lay Marist do not feel well either.  
  • We should encourage the growth of the social dimension of our spirituality.  
  • The first thing is to develop relationships of trust among brothers and lay people. The most important thing is to share life, the rest comes later.  
  • Every community of brothers, every fraternity, group and family of lay people should be welcoming. 

 
On Saturday and Sunday we began the deepening of our vocational processes, from our specific identities as brothers and lay people. It was very beautiful to share the experiences configuring our vocational conscience and our firm and resolute response, as well as the special moments of vocational reaffirmation. We looked for those elements that identify our vocation to the religious life and the lay life. Then, the lay people shared with the brothers what they thought should be the essence of the brothers religious life today. The brothers made the own contribution to the lay people concerning their specific identity. We discovered that there were many points in common. One of the most important conclusions was that the vocation of some supported, enriched and helped to specify that of the others, and we also saw that the great majority of the elements that we call commonly specific to each of the vocations, are not exclusive of each other, but rather they can be lived in the two forms of life, although it can be highlighted with more force by one of the two; for example: being signs of immanence or transcendence, guides of spirituality, administration, experts in sharing, freedom in front of the things, shared spirituality, contemplative dimension, pertaining to the people, readiness, evangelical radicality, etc. 
 
In finishing, I must say that the atmosphere of happiness and fraternity in our community is really contagious, and it is expressed in the desire to share, helping with the different services, great participation in the prayers, the parties that we organized the trips, etc. By the way, most of the group broke its record for climbing high mountains: we reached 4.300 meters, climbing the Pichincha volcano. 
 
Union of prayers with the whole Marist family. We will continue our correspondence next week. 
 
____________ 
Quito, Monday 14 July 

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