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3 December

Saint Francis Xavier, Patron of the Missions
1956: the first Marist Brothers left for Bolivia
International Day for People with Disabilities (UN)

Marist Calendar - December

A personal reflection



Year of spirituality – retreat in Cameroon

29/09/2008: Cameroon

In the first place, I must confess that this retreat has been very enriching for me. I had never previously lived through such an enriching experience of spirituality. The reason is simple: during this retreat, I have been able to centre myself and deepen my personal relationship with God, Jesus, Mary and Champagnat. I have come to understand how I can love God, Jesus even better: how I can contribute to making them known and loved by others. Although I was already aware of this doctrine, in the course of this retreat I have been able to appreciate it from another point of view. Now I value these experiences, giving more importance to meditation and prayer. It has taken me to a level different from the one I lived at previously; that is to say, I am able to live in these situations with the heart and not just by reflex.

When I found out that this retreat would deal with Water from the Rock, I wondered what more I would learn from a book that I had been reading for three months without gaining very much. Nevertheless, I thought: God does things well; He will guide me through the retreat. That is exactly what happened.

I had used this book for my meditations and for the Marian prayer; however, I had not felt so enthused by its content until this retreat. From the first day I wondered if it was the same document. I continue wondering why this fire that now burns within me did not show itself previously, when I read the very same document. In a certain way I consider myself to be like the disciples of Emmaus who recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread. For me this retreat has been a similar experience: as though I had discovered Jesus in the breaking of the bread. I have been able to understand and to see better who God is for me thanks to this document which speaks to me of the spirituality which I thought I had lived throughout last year.

Water from the Rock is a basic document of our spirituality, which we have had in the past. This leads me to affirm that the Marist Congregation has at this time a very strong foundation whose roots are in an indestructible Rock that cannot be moved. This Rock is God, Jesus, Mary and Father Champagnat. And so, through this retreat, following the example of Father Champagnat and living this spirituality, I plan to become a person through whose mediation others can read the Gospel (cf.WfR, 142). This is my great desire: that, at the end of this retreat, when I return to my community, I can spread the Gospel to the students, to the teachers and to all of those around me in school.

To finish, I would like to say that, after this retreat, I hope to lead a more evangelical life and to consider the best method I should use so that others get to know and love Jesus. In fact, although I already did this, I hope from now on to do it in a different way.

I would also like to show my gratitude to the commission that prepared the document Water from the Rock. I have come to believe that it is the action of the Holy Spirit. The commission has been assisted by this Spirit. That is how I interpret this beautiful document which, I hope, will be greatly appreciated in the Marist world and in other places. I thank God for giving me the opportunity to attend this retreat, for giving me the grace of CONTEMPLATING IT in the course of these days.
Brother Martin
Community of Bafut, August 15 2008

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