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And Now What?



The Marist Year of Spirituality Draws to a Close

23/10/2008: General House

Although the Year of Spirituality has come to an end, spirituality itself necessarily con-tinues on its way. Spirituality never ends, because it concerns an ongoing encounter with God. As “Water from the Rock” indicates several times, spirituality is a path upon which we make our way. Indeed, if we bear in mind the fourth goal of the Year of Spirituality, it becomes quite clear that all the initiatives and activities of the Year must be followed up: “Put into action various formative processes which go beyond the year 2008.” So: 2009, 2010 . . . and the following must also be years of spirituality.

We cannot come to a stop as we walk the path of renewal which the Year of Spirituality has concretized, thanks to so many initiatives inspired by this Providentially published “Water from the Rock.” Besides, the Christian is by definition a man or woman who “belongs to the Way” as the expression (Acts 9:2; 19:9, etc.) has it. The phrase in Acts demonstrates that the Commission did well to emphasize the symbol of the “path” in the document. We know that Jesus is the Path, and that all spirituality is a process of personal and communal transformation, a path or a journey. Spirituality invites us to undertake an on-going journey.

Undoubtedly “Water from the Rock” is the book presently best known around the FMS world, the work the most read, scrutinized, studied, prayed. And the text will almost certainly remain so, judging by the activities which are already appearing on the 2009 horizon. For all of this, we must thank God.

Counting simplified versions which are distributed especially in Latin American, more than 50,000 copies are presently in circulation around the Institute. (A simplified English-language version is in process of being published in Nairobi.) Already “Water from the Rock” has been translated into fifteen languages. Other translations are being undertaken, such as in Kiswhaili and in Arabic. As far as I know, no Institute document has had so great a popularity or so widespread a distribution. Of course we would not be doing anything notable if we were content to point out such external facts, but they are significant nonetheless.

Much more important is the interior renewal which the book can stimulate, the thirst for God that such a renewal can awaken in us: members - in the wide sense - of the family of Marists. As a result of a “mini disaster” that caused my computer to give up the ghost, I lost three-years’ documentation regarding “Water from the Rock.” Thus it is that, through the present article, I am making an appeal to all readers please to send me any information (with attendant documents if possible) about activities which your Province conducted in connection with “Water from the Rock.” Despite the mini disaster referred to above, I still managed to find a few accounts written about some of the activities which have taken place.

« The more I read and meditate upon « Water from the Rock » the more I feel close to God and the more I discover the richness of our tradition of spirituality. » (a Nigerian Brother)

“Water from the Rock is a gift of the Holy Spirit to our Congregation. The group sharing which we held during the retreat enriched me in a surprising way. I am amazed at all the things I have found in this little book.” (A Brother in the Ad Gentes program)

« What has brought me new enthusiasm in reading « Water from the Rock » is the discovery of Marcellin Champagnat’s spirituality. In living out that spirituality I feel myself more “apostle” in all the activities that I undertake. I know that the Lord is my rock and that from him well up the waters of salvation which give me strength and hope.” (A Brother in Cameroon)

« Thanks so much for the marvelous booklet, ‘Water from the Rock’ which you sent me. Frequently I read a couple of paragraphs in order to be penetrated by Champagnat spirituality. It is gradually becoming a very important source of nourishment for my everyday life. In fact, the booklet is deep, easy to read and understand, very practical for living in the presence of Jesus and his Mother, especially in these days in which we live where everything happens so rapidly.” (Jean Marie Chasson, a Christian believer living in Geneva)

The preceding is a brief sampling of a much larger collection that I used to have before the breakdown of my computer. The quotations are but the tip of an iceberg, the much deeper one that, from its starting point in the Gier waters spreads now across the wide Marist world and in the Church.

I fervently hope that the iceberg, with its dynamism and spiritual sturdiness continues to grow. “Water from the Rock” will flow out upon the pathways of the world, beyond this Year of Spirituality which now draws to a close. For the Holy Spirit is the One who leads the way. The Spirit is the One who gives life to every spirituality, ours too, out there on the wide horizons which lie open before it. The Road is wide open.
Brother Teófilo Minga
Secretary of the Religious Life Commission

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