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By being brothers, we open up new ways of life

 

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Meeting with the community animators in the Province of « América Central »

11/03/2011: El Salvador

Many years ago, a sailor, hoisted up a mast and in the gloom of discouragement, saw the light and shouted: Land, land! And this shout in the midst of a stormy sea awakened hope, broke the tension, and opened the passage to a universal story.

The sound of this new and prophetic hymn – « With Mary, go in haste to the new land »- would indicate that the moment has arrived for some prophet of the consecrated life  – for some, tired and insignificant, for others, discredited, for the more enlightened, under attack from terrorist surliness or, perhaps in real crisis – to come out shouting: communities, communities! and they would free themselves from the alarms of sensibility to discover this great GIFT of God to the Church, a gift which, lived and shared today, is certainly an incendiary spark?

From 18 to 20 February, the Province of « América Central » brought together its  community animators. From Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Porto Rico, Cuba and Honduras, they were given rendez-vous, at the voice of the Spirit which awaited us under the simplicity of the motto: « BY BEING BROTHERS, WE OPEN UP NEW WAYS OF LIFE ».

The fraternel greeting, the farewell accolade, the reflection, the harmony, the family atmosphere, the visit of the elderly brothers of the Champagnat Home, the daily prayer, the presence of Mary and the kiss of peace at each Mass: so many brotherly gestures and  sensible gifts of the Spirit which helped us maintain and continue the renewal of our communities.

As a result, we would become « seekers for God », « dreamers of reachable stars », « men touched by joy and hope » and « Marist Brothers who have discovered that it is the centrality of Christ and the experience of Lectio Divina which will renew our consecrated life ».

Creativity led us to take a further step and ask ourselves: what communities do we want for today and for the future? The replies have made up an interesting project, full of all sorts of challenges, which we simply share with you.

  • We imagine a Marist community where our retired brothers are a great reference point, where we concern ourselves with their state of health, their spaces for  formation, their occupations, their rest.
  • To revitalize the fascination of community life and mission.
  • To be a parable of communion and apostolic brotherhood.
  • To spend a life in common in a community of life.
  • To promote the quality of personal relationships which lead us to become more human.
  • Life in the rhythm of the Word (Lectio Divina).
  • In the company of the pilgrim Mary.
  • To produce dynamisms of life.
  • For our lay companions to be welcome in our family.

 

The scenes, lighting, contrasts, landscapes, rhythms, leading actors and the mode of fantasy of this great film of Marist consecrated life in community are there in each of the nine  Beatitudes which challenge us to change, to ‘fair-play’, to be « as we should ».

And there we are, with the power and freshness of the Spirit, sent to live the same Gospel, but in different fields, cultures, ideologies, and ages. It is the time of the Spirit who wants to renew all things.

We, amateur artists, receive not a big brush but fine brushes to create atmospheres of light, diffuse the shadows, open spaces of vital communication. It is not allowed to paint  caricatures of consecrated men or women; paint rainbows of colours, ranges with gestures of solidarity and love; paint our communities with open doors and windows, round tables which echo what happens to us daily in the mission. At the centre of your sails (community), place a Jesus on earth who eats, laughs, tells jokes, congratulates, embraces, walks, prays, shares…

Courage, animator and brothers of our communities; it is all of us who build and write the history of our communities. Let us remember that every dissatisfaction, every failure, is   personal and community; in the same way that every joy and benefit for the community are from all, from the Spirit and from us.

There is no renewal in a void; renewal has the face and age of a man or woman; it has its own identity.

So, « artists, take up your brushes! », the time of RENEWAL has arrived.

_____________

Br. Teódulo Hernando.

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