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Saint Bibiana
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Living signs of the father’s tenderness



A reflection on the “Water from the Rock”

20/11/2008: Ghana

Since my return from the workshop on Marist Spirituality in Nairobi, I have been talking a lot about the Water from the Rock to Brothers and lay people. I was invited to give a report about the workshop in Nairobi. I had the opportunity to also present to the council our plan of action for the District concerning the implementation of what we did at the workshop. The Water from the Rock is all over me; I make references to it every now and then. I share with you the reflection below.

Living signs of the father’s tenderness

The above title is taken from number one hundred and thirty-seven (#137) of Water from the Rock. I have chosen this title because it speaks to my heart and inspires action. Before I proceed with this reflection, I would like to acknowledge with gratitude the good work done by the team who organised the Marist Spirituality workshop in Nairobi for Brothers and lay people. I am indebted to Brothers Teófilo, Mario, Pau and Christian for organising such an enriching workshop and also sharing so much of their experience with us.

I was introduced, together with other Brothers from the Marist District of West Africa to Water from the Rock for the first time during our annual retreat this year, 2008 in Kumasi. I opened my eyes to the richness of the book. Then, again, I have learned more about the book to during the workshop on Marist Spirituality in Nairobi. The manner in which the book was presented it sparked a fire in my heart and probably in the hearts of all the eighteen participants too. I felt the same way as the disciples on the way to Emmaus (Luke 24:32). We were open to the strength and power of Marist Spirituality. At the end of the presentation one could not help but love the book, cherish it and treasure it.

Water from the Rock is a gift from God to the Institute; it is the greatest legacy we as Marist Brothers and lay Marists have received. Thanks to Marcellin Champagnat and the first Brothers who handed down this treasure to us. The document, Water from the Rock indeed enriches prayer, provokes reflection and inspires action (Water From the Rock page 19). Since the day the book was presented to us during the workshop, I have made the document my personal prayer book. I reflect on a number of issues raised in the document. Water from the Rock is a practical book, a book that calls for action. Any time I open it, I feel the presence of Marcellin Champagnat, I fall into prayer and I feel called to put what I read into practice.

I am particularly challenged and at the same time encouraged by some numbers of the book. In number six (# 6), it is said that the first Brothers’ “way of living the Gospel was a reflection of the character, values, and spirituality of … Marcellin Champagnat”( Water From the Rock page 10. no. 6). This number raises a number of questions in my mind: Questions such as, does my life reflect the name ‘little Brother of Mary?’ What type of Gospel am I preaching to people with my life? Is my presence a good news to people around me? This number challenges me to reflect on my life, and it also invites me to be Champagnat of my time.

Again as I reflect on number hundred and four (#104), I feel myself being invited to not only gather, bless, break, and share but also to become a “living altar, where Christ’s sacrificial love is made present as an inspiration and a source of spiritual nourishment to everyone … I meet” (Pope Benedict XVI in Safe Home , 2008 No. 241 Pg.11). In addition, I am struck by the invitation in number one hundred and thirty-seven (#137), that in spite of my limitations, I am being called to be “a visible and permanent memory of the loving and merciful presence of God in the midst of people: living sign(s) of the Father’s tenderness” This is both challenging and encouraging. The document, Water from the Rock speaks constantly of God’s loving presence in spite of our nothingness. It is this reason that I say, the book; Water from the Rock is a treasure, which every Christian must look for. It is indeed living Water.

Br. John Kusi-Mensah
Marist District of West Africa, Ghana

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