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Champagnat: faith in action

 

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Horizons program – Water from the Rock

09/04/2009: Malawi

Marcellin Champagnat’s deep and profound faith indicates his personal feelings and conviction of being loved by Jesus and called by Mary. His experience helped him to discover his limitations which in turn became the centre of all his zeal and passion as every moment of his life is an experience of the divine presence. A man of deep trust in God, who often prayed “If the Lord does not build the house…” to express his confidence and openness. His love of Jesus and his gospel is clearly stated in the motto of the institute – “To make Jesus known and loved” and he sets the crib, the cross and the altar as privileged places to meet Jesus.

It is clear therefore that the book “Water from the Rock” presents Marcellin Champagnat as a man of action, practical and down to earth. The love of Jesus and Mary inspired passion in Marcellin such that he immediately put into action his compassion for the people by founding our congregation.

The pillars of our spirituality in few words extensively describe Marcellin. He could see the presence of God in all events even in very ordinary ones; a deep feeling of being loved by God. A prayerful man, who shared his faith and a variety of means to nurture the Brothers spiritual life.

Champagnat was a man with profound relationship with Mary as the “Good Mother, the Our Ordinary Resource”, no wonder he constantly relied on her intercession.

Other characteristics of Marcellin’s personality that continue to resurface as the Marist Spirituality flows from him, include his courage to take risks and yet he was flexible to accept the will of God. The community of the first Brothers developed a family spirit inspired by the home of Nazareth with the attitudes of love, forgiveness, forgetfulness of self and openness to others. And Champagnat was at the heart of this family spirit.

Champagnat was a visionary leader with an all embracing heart. “Drawn by a love that knows no bounds, he feels compelled to be brother to all the world. His vision extends far beyond his own time and place. All the dioceses of the world enter in our plans” (WFR. 138, p. 74)

Champagnat being rooted in the Trinity and in Mary our good mother is for us a symbol of strength and a powerful inspiration of our spirituality. Even the Statue of Marcellin carrying a young boy on his shoulders helps us believe that we have a sure, vigorous spiritual tradition, that will enable us to face the future.

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By Brothers: Augustin KAYISHEMA (Rwanda)
John BWANALI (Malawi)
John KATUMBI (Malawi)

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