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Marist Response to Laudato Si

14/03/2016: General House

We Marists (the four general councils - brothers, missionary sisters, fathers and sisters), representing the one Tree with its several branches, gathered from 14 -16 January this year to study the encyclical Laudato Si with a view to discerning how we might respond to Pope Francis’ compelling words. 

As each session about our Common Home unfolded, we became more aware of our common heritage as Marists. In the spirit of the Fourvière Bicentenary, we were led to reclaim the motto: All for the greater Glory of God and the honour of Mary. Other words which echoed again and again included: inter-connectedness, conversion, contemplation, collaboration, communion and deep gratitude. At the end of our gathering, we had a sense of being called as a Marist Body to give flesh to the common values expressed in various ways in our Charism and and in Laudato Si. 

Francis challenges us: ‘The mindset which leaves no room for sincere concern for the environment is the same mindset which lacks concern for the inclusion of the most vulnerable members of society.’ (L.S. 196) So, conversion is needed – and, as one of our members put it,  this entails a change of “heartset” too.

Many of Francis’ expressions seem to fit so naturally with our Marist way. One is the term humanity’s compass (L.S.200). Surely it is this compass which leads us towards love, truth, justice, peace, mercy, connectedness and collaboration…. towards a giving of “all for the greater glory of God” and a greater solidarity with our neighbour and the earth itself.

Less is more is another Francis expression, inviting us, Marists, to expand our capacity to be happy with less and grateful for everything – after the manner of Mary.

So where do we go from here? 

Can we develop within ourselves and amongst those we work with and for, 
a greater capacity for wonder and for gratitude?

Can we cultivate that “serene attentiveness which is capable of being fully present to someone,
without thinking of what comes next, which accepts each moment as a gift from God to be lived to the full”? L.S 226

Can we embrace a “culture of care”  that flows out from our community living
and permeates our neighbourhood and world?

But it will take work, prayer, joy, faith, spirituality, hope, simplicity, jumility, harmony, commitment...

…then planted in the soil of Nazareth it will put out shoots…
and from there we will see what we have to do

We invite you to make Laudato Si your own, to share it within community and with co workers and those to whom you minister... it is addressed to us all ... and awaits a response to the key question:

What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?

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