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Religious Life Commission

28/07/2009: General House

Even before the start of the Spirituality Year, the Commission had conducted a few activities in connection with the booklet « Water from the Rock. » In fact, even after the conclusion of the Spirituality Year, some programs have been held based upon the booklet. Such continuity is to be expected, given that spirituality itself is an ongoing reality to which we are always being invited to respond.

It may be of interest to consider the following numerical facts without necessarily wishing to draw conclusions from them. As a point of information, one may note the following: the Commission carried out exactly fifty-nine programs on spirituality themes, the programs being mainly: retreats; seminars; conferences.

The numbers break down as follows: twelve retreats; ten seminars; thirty-seven conferences. Looking at the statistics from a geographic point of view, one gets the following divisions: Asia - twelve programs; Africa – eleven; the Americas – fourteen; Europe – thirteen.

That the greatest number of programs is listed for Asia does not necessarily mean that the greatest number of countries was involved in having the programs. In fact, seven-teen programs took place in one country, the Philippines, because during the Spiritual-ity Year, the Province was celebrating its sixtieth anniversary.

Oceania was the one “continent” which was not visited.

Each member of the Commission developed his own manner of directing the retreats. The undersigned chose a traditional structure. In addition to various times of prayer and, at the end of the day, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, there were always two conferences. One served to develop a single chapter of “Water from the Rock,” while the second conference examined one of the document’s topics. For example, topics that cannot be overlooked are: Mary, the Holy Spirit, Eucharist, Champagnat, Apostolate, Community and Communion, Faith, Hope. The conference served as a means of entering deeply into the subject. Even if the same topics were treated in the seminars, the emphasis was a bit different. In the retreat they were treated from a prayer perspective, while in the seminars the treatment was more through research and study.

“Water from the Rock” has elicited a remarkable degree of enthusiasm throughout the Institute. Nevertheless, what has transpired during the Spirituality Year is but a first stage in coming to grapple with the document and to pray from it. The coming years ought to be used to understand the document’s themes more fully through prayer and study. We must make Marist spirituality better loved and better known. “Water from the Rock” must not be lost from view now that the Spirituality Year has drawn to a close. Marist spirituality as found in the document is very rich. As Marists, Brothers and Laity together, we have been invited to discover new pathways, new “rivulets” which can reveal to us the richness of the document in all its aspects.

In the annex, there is an outline of the fifty-nine programs that were carried out (download doc word – 80 kb). We must continue to walk along the pathway of faith. Such an invitation arises at the very opening of Chapter Two: “We Journey in Faith.” The words offer us a challenge. Are we up to meeting it?

__________________
Teofilo Minga
Secretary of the Religious Life Commission

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