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Take off your shoes, this place is holy



European Meeting of Provincial Animation Teams

03/12/2011: Spain - Photo gallery

The European Meeting of the Provincial Teams animating the new Brother-Laity   relationship took place at the Escorial, Madrid, from 14 to 18 November. The participants were 31 in number, lay persons and brothers of the European Provinces, with two representatives from Africa. Like Moses, we heard the invitation to « take off our sandals », and we danced bare foot to a song of the group « Ain Karem ». In sharing our common Marist vocation, we felt our bare feet touching holy ground. Holy, too, the life we share with the Provinces, the fraternities, groups and communities. A life that fills us with hope.

Bare foot, without shoes or sandals, without prejudices, sisters and brothers, we feel invited to shed everything that prevents us from touching Marist life in depth. We have echoed the words of Br Emili: « We are invited to deinstall ourselves, to think outside the frame. » We have become aware that « something has to die so that new realities can see the day ». The invitation of the Lord to wake up resounded forcefully in our Meeting: to wake up to a new era for the charism, to wake up so the dreams of our Marist hearts become reality.

The story of the Indian chief urges us to remove our shoes and climb the mountain, to where the horizon becomes larger and one discovers new valleys. Laity and brothers together, we realize that, following the example of one of the chief’s sons, we can offer as a gift the view of a better future for our tribe. « The future will have your eyes », says an Italian author. The days at the Escorial inspired in us hope, openness to the novelties of God, to surprise, to the God of life. Strong with that experience, we feel that our future is present.

The contemplative dance drew us in. We danced together. Your neighbour helped you keep step. The dance reminded us that we need one another. Its harmony comes from  the fraternal attention awoken towards the other. During the meeting, laity and brothers, we felt ourselves heirs of the same charism of Marcellin. We drank together at the same spiritual fountain. We wove together, in different colours, a beautiful net of mission projects. We sat around the same table, shared the same bread. The accent was placed on the sense of region, of shared paths, of interprovincial brotherhood. The experience told us that our future is one of communion.

The days of the meeting were a time of grace. Barefoot, we were better able to listen to the Lord inviting us to walk in communion, to accompany life, to be searchers and explorers, to promote together a greater vitality of the charism. The house of the Escorial, the environment, the moments of sharing with the brothers in the formation course, the attentions received, all that helped us perceive better the message of the meeting.

Br Javier Espinosa

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