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Provincial Retreat Session for Brothers and Laity

04/08/2014: Argentina

The Provincial Retreat Session of Cruz del Sur took place in Villa Marista, located in Pilar, Argentina, from July 9 to 13, 2014, under the guidance of Brother Javier Espinosa, director of the Secretariat of Laity. This space of prayer and joint reflection focused on the specific Marist vocation of laity and brothers, in tune with the path the Congregation has undertaken.

The words of Brother Emili Turú, Superior General, are of paramount importance in this sense, and are a good framework for this experience of joint retreat session: “In first place, it seems to me that for us brothers, the fact that the Chapter has explicitly recognized the vocation of the Marist layperson, has been very important. Upon doing that, it is recognizing that it is a gift of God. We speak of vocation, and vocation is a gift of God. Therefore, it is not that we, brothers, yield something of the Marist charism to laypeople. The lay vocation is a gift from God. Therefore this situates us in a relationship of equals: the vocation of a Marist layperson, the vocation of a Marist Brother”.

The Retreat Session developed a central topic: Starting with God’s dream for the world, touching the mystical dimension; starting with God’s outward impulse, embracing the prophetic dimension. In this regard, the 21st General Chapter stated: “We desire to carry on his dream”. It is up to us, Marists today, to carry on San Marcellin Champagnat’s dream and inspiration.

As a necessary condition to take these steps, we addressed the issue of “changing our heart”, understood as setting out on the way, as a collaborative and constructive attitude regarding God’s plan.

“This is the real beginning of conversion, the true point of personal inflection. Conversion means a greater availability and predisposition towards what makes us fully happy as persons and as a human community”. Conversion means that God is near us; it is a path; it involves searching, and a call to move outside our comfort zone.

This personal conversion is closely related to and integrated with an institutional renewal. “This ‘New Land’ is an authentic renewal of the Institute; it asks of us a genuine change of heart”.

We must highlight the invitations and suggestions regarding the need to truly experience reality by letting go of every ideology, overcoming our wishful thinking, and assuming the normal rhythm that any process entails. We must take steps knowing we will never reach the end.

Both brothers and laity share this same path. We can understand the future of the Marist charism only from the perspective of communion.

As we tried to envision our personal path, the following questions echoed in the heart of the brothers and lay participants: How can we concretely fulfil our deepest desires of truth and goodness? How can we concretize our response to God at this time? How can we move forward in the same path with our brothers, sisters and the Institute? Under the presence of Mary, we closed these days of prayer and reflection, asking her to bless us and be our companion along the way.

_____________

Brother Joaquín Baron

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