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13 June

Saint Anthony of Padua
1956: In Nigeria, the Brothers of St. Peter Claver joined the Marist Brothers’ Congregation.

Marist Calendar - June

Our spiritual life faced with European challenges



12th Assembly of the Union of European Conferences of Major Superiors

21/02/2006: Portugal

Europe finds itself faced with multiple challenges which arouse at the same time hope and creativity, fear, withdrawal and distrust. These challenges concern us all. They are also ours, male and female religious, in that which is the most essential and most valuable: life and its meaning, the dignity of every person, justice and peace. We share with our contemporaries the same wounds, the same vulnerabilities and insecurities. We are working to a greater unity to build, in veritable respect of the other.

It is good to be aware of all the richness of religious life. Following Christ conceals resources on which we can depend today.

- The primacy of God in our lives makes this time a time of grace. Having confidence in Jesus Christ anchors us profoundly in God and makes confidence in ourselves and in others possible. The experience of prayer and of contemplation makes us witnesses capable of proposing faith in a world in search of meaning, often without hope and uncertain before the future.

- Community life teaches us a “living together” that is demanding and rich in humanity. It opens us to the acceptance of diversity and to the patient learning of dialogue and meeting. It constitutes for us an invitation to go beyond individualism and to break the circle of fear of the other, of the foreigner, of differences… It leads to greater solidarity among congregations, between cultures, between religions… It is a place of permanent discernment for mission.

- Reconciliation is for each one of us the fruit of an experience of dialogue, of truth and of humility which makes us discover the force of forgiveness. We become bearers of this forgiveness capable of curing the tears in us and between us, between the people suffering from the weight of history and in our societies marked by violence.

- The vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, chosen freely, orientate the profound desire of the person and make him or her capable of loving and serving. They help us to free ourselves from the temptation to exercise our all-powerfulness on others and to work for the dignity of all human beings, in particular the most destitute, faced with today’s slavery.

- God’s welcome, which never ceases to surprise us, even in the difficult situations that traverse religious life, invite us to perceive the hopes and the expectations of a Europe that is being constructed and “seeking its soul”. We need to invent new ways of living the charisms of our founders in order to respond to the most pressing calls of our times, especially those of the young people who are the future of Europe.

With others, male and female religious, confident in the life of the Spirit and in the Church, can take the initiative of new pathways for Europe. It’s a demanding call to construct a Europe according to the heart of God.

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