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But today, what remains of the flame?



Ten years on from the Canonization (VII)

17/04/2009: General House

But today, what remains of the flame lit during the days of the canonization? The profound emotions have subsided, the articles ceased, the prayers inspired by the event have become rare, some of those who celebrated in Saint Peter’s Square are no longer among us. The canonization is a thing of the past and fallen into oblivion. This is the way with what is human… But if the grain falls to the ground and dies, it bears much fruit.

Our Marist Family came away from the canonization with a much stronger sense of responsibility: being responsible for the Founder, for making his holiness known, for keeping his spirituality alive, for carrying his mission towards new horizons. The fruits of the canonization are evident in many of the initiatives which we are in the process of putting into practice.

This responsibility is stated in the message of the XX General Chapter which followed the canonization. The Message of that Chapter recognised that it had been influenced by the canonization and proved it by painting a portrait of Marcellin of a surprising richness:

« We look at Marcellin as our father and learn from him the values that he held dear. We see in him:

– A man of God, passionate for Jesus and Mary, a man of prayer, a pilgrim in faith. A heart in love with God.

– A father who cared for his Brothers as if they were his children, a man of strength yet full of gentleness, a man who knew how to bring joy and laughter to others. The heart of a father and a mother.

–A pastor who would listen to and welcome others, an apostle burning to proclaim the Good News of Jesus, a friend of children and youngsters, an educator who was both firm and compassionate, a man of creativity and daring. The heart of an apostle.

– A man whose vision extended beyond his own era, embracing the whole world and preparing missionaries ; a man who lived out his ideal so intensely that many others wished to be like him and to live like him. A heart without bounds.»

The document of the General Chapter invites us to « center our lives passionately on Christ ». An invitation which recurs in all Sean’s circulars: A Revolution of the Heart, Marvellous Companions, Making Jesus Christ Known and Loved, Reclaiming the Spirit of the Hermitage.

The Brothers volunteering for the project Missio ad Gentes give new life to Marcellin’s audacity and ambition: « All the dioceses of the world enter into our views! ».

The spirituality of Marcellin and the first Brothers is taken up again, refined, deepened, brought up to date in Water from the Rock.

The very sanctuary of Marcellin Champagnat, the Hermitage, is in train of being given new structures, a new face, an international community.

The Marist Family is opening up, more and more positively, spaces for lay people attracted by Marcellin’s way to sanctity.

New apostolates are flourishing in old Marist provinces, in closer contact with the least favoured children.

The canonization has made Marist families more attentive to the calls of the Spirit. The immense work in which we are all involved.
Br. Giovanni Bigotto

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