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A quick reading of Water from the Rock in Manila

08/08/2008: Philippines - Photo gallery

On June 16, 2008, during celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the Marist Brothers presence in the Philippines, at the Marist school in Manila, there was an initial session for teachers on the book Water from the Rock (WfR). The following day there were two sessions for older students.

There were 160 teachers at the gathering. Given that the session was relatively lengthy, it was decided to work mainly in groups. After Brother Teófilo gave a brief presentation on the history of the document, the teachers were asked to focus on the writing Commission’s wish expressed in the last paragraph of the text (cf. WfR, page 19). The document is intended to: 1) enrich prayer; 2) provoke reflection; and 3) inspire action. What took place at this School in Manila and what the Brothers and Lay Marists experienced in the 12 days that followed throughout the country was an answer to the Commission’s hopes and desire. The 17 presentations in the different Marist places of Philippines were solid initiatives inspired by Water from the Rock.

The session in Manila began with a prayer based on the text. The exercise done during the two-and-a-half-hour session, and especially the work done in groups provided time for reflection.

he teachers were divided into 15 groups of 11 people. Each group was asked to read approximately 10 articles in WfR. Reading the book took about half an hour. Each group paid attention to three tasks: 1) writing down the important ideas and the theological and religious intuitions discovered during the reading; 2) using these intuitions as a basis for writing a small article for the web page; 3) and when sharing back in the large group, not to report on everything reflected on - each group was to share just one, and only one fundamental idea found in Marist Spirituality.

This is what each group came up with:

Group 1 (articles 1-10): Marist spirituality is one of passion for God and compassion for people (WfR, 1)

Group 2 (articles 11-18): As we drink in the streams of “living water”, we ourselves become “living water” for others (WfR, 14)

Group 3 (articles 19-29): The three places (the Crib, the Cross and the Altar) are indispensable for living Marist Spirituality (WfR, 20); and the Eucharist, as the source and summit of the Christian life, leads us to the heart of Marist spirituality (WfR, 23).

Group 4 (articles 30-43): Family spirit, an important characteristic of Marist Spirituality (WfR, 30-32), must take into account the expanded presence of women in our ministries (WfR, 31) (Note: 90% of the Assembly was composed of women).

Group 5 (articles 44-52): Mary helps us respond to the existential questions we raise (WfR, 48): like her we are called to live in faith and to trust in God’s loving presence in our lives (WfR, 51).

Group 6 (articles 53-64): Like Marcellin we can find God in every situation. The world becomes for us a place for encountering God, for mission, and for sanctification (WfR, 64).

Group 7 (articles 65-70): We are asked to live a spirituality that involves contemplation and action: as we center our lives in God we become more and more filled with compassion for God’s people and are drawn to serve those in need (WfR, 69-70)

Group 8 (articles 71-79): Our prayer, both personal and communitarian, is apostolic; it embraces the joys and sorrows, the anguish and hopes of those whom God places on our path (WfR, 77).

Group 9 (articles 80-90): the Eucharist is at the center of our lives. To live a Eucharistic life is to see ourselves gathered together and blessed by God, broken and shared for others (WfR, 86).

Group 10 (articles 91-102): The table of the Lord is a fundamental symbol of communion and self-giving; in a similar way, the table at La Valla is a powerful symbol of family and service for the community created by Marcellin (WfR, 90-91). Today, we are that community.
Group 11 (articles 103-113): By giving and receiving love, we are challenged to fight our tendency to individualism (WfR, 108); we come to see clearly that we cannot grow towards our potential as human beings without being involved with others (WfR, 109).
Group 12 (articles 114-123): In a very rich way the terms brother and sister express the Marist style of relating. Brothering and sistering are ways of relating that affirm others and inspire confidence and hope in their lives (WfR, 119).

Group 13 (articles 124-134): Mary shows us that both contemplation and action are indispensable elements of Marist Spirituality (WfR, 131).

Group 14 (articles 135-143): Our desire is to be a visible and permanent reminder of the loving and merciful presence of God in the midst of people, to be living signs of the Fathers tenderness. By being with God, we learn to become more and more like Him: shepherd, friend, and faithful companion (WfR, 137).

Group 15 (articles 144-152): When our mission is accomplished, we move on to new places that need our presence. It is this dimension of Marist spirituality that has inspired thousands of Marists to generously answer the call to our Mission Ad Gentes (WfR, 149-150).

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Manila, 29th June 2008

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