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28 November

Saint James of the Marches

Marist Calendar - November

A retreat from the hand of Mary



Day of reflection to clarify personal decisions

15/09/2009: General House

On Tuesday, all those at the Chapter took part in a day of retreat. It began with morning prayer in the main chapel and concluded with the Eucharist.

The day’s objectives

In announcing the day’s objectives, the Central Commission hoped it would be a day of relaxation, prayer, reflection and discernment, and encouraged all to take the time necessary to rest body and mind. It was intended that each one would be able to clarify the key areas on which to engage with the Chapter in reflection and dialogue, in order to define the invitations the Lord is offering the Marist brothers and laity at this moment in history. With their gaze fixed on Mary, who said: Let it be done to me, the capitulants tried to clarify, first, their own attitudes towards the call of God, and, secondly, what they felt they were being called to.

Resources for the day

The Central Commission reminded all, once more, that it was a question of harvesting what was most valuable from the regional letters, the General Council’s report, the opening address by Brother Sean, personal reflection and group discussion on the regional letters, the letter each had placed in the lotus flower in the chapel, the visits made on Sunday to the different ecclesial communities, and the exhibitions and presentations of the previous day. The day had its importance for the dynamic of the Chapter, since it provided each with an opportunity to bring to attention the thoughts, feelings, hopes and fears of the days preceding.

On the road to Emmaus

Some members of the assembly shared their discernment in small groups, like the disciples at Emmaus. They were offered three times, using the following dynamic: to form a group of three, who did not know one another well but who could communicate without much difficulty. The first task was to share one moment, or more, of their lives when they had been surprised by the goodness of God towards them, leading them to great confidence. A second time, with the same people, to share in the manner of Mary, what was of concern to each at this time, when the important part of the Chapter was beginning, and the attitude faith was inviting them to take in response. The third was to take two or three key areas they believed the Chapter should tackle in discussion and deep dialogue in order to be able to promote new hearts for a new world.

Preparation and celebration of the Eucharist

The retreat concluded with a reunion around the altar. The Eucharist was preceded by a personal time of adoration, contemplation, and silence. Each person had written two questions in which he/she sought to reflect his/her state of heart after the day’s discernment. These were collected in five baskets of different colours at the offertory time. In this way was achieved a first classification of the interests which the members of the Chapter would begin to share with one another the following day.

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