Year XXIII - n째 39 - June 2009
Year XXIII - n° 39 - June 2007 Editor-in-Chief: Brother AMEstaún Publications Commission: Brothers Emili Turú, AMEstaún, Onorino Rota y Luiz Da Rosa.
índex Letter to my Brothers Br. Seán Sammon
Translators Coordination: Brother Josep Roura Bahí
Translators: Spanish: Brother Francisco Castellanos Gabriela Scanavino French: Brother Josep Roura Bahí Brother Jean Rousson Brother Gilles Beauregard Brother Aimé Maillet English: Brother John Allen Brother Edward Clisby Brother James McKnight Brother George Fontana Brother Don Neary
Genesis of The Year of Spirituality Br. Peter Rodney
A man, an Institute, a Society Br. André Lanfrey
Portuguese: Brother Aloisio Kuhn Brother Virgilio Balestro Fr. Eduardo Campagnani Ferreira Photography: AMEstaún, Archives of the General House
page 12 How “Water from the Rock” came into being Br. Peter Rodney
Formatting and Photolithography: TIPOCROM, s.r.l. Via A. Meucci 28, 00012 Guidonia, Roma (Italia) Production and Administrative Center: Piazzale Marcellino Champagnat, 2 C.P. 10250 - 00144 ROMA Tel. (39) 06 54 51 71 Fax (39) 06 54 517 217 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.champagnat.org Publisher: Institute of the Marist Brothers General House - Rom Printing: C.S.C. GRAFICA, s.r.l. Via A. Meucci 28, 00012 Guidonia, Roma (Italia) June 2009
page 16 On the roads of the Year of Spirituality Br. Teófilo Minga
page 22 “Water from the Rock“ and our mission to poor youth Br. Théoneste Kalisa
What are the most significant aspects of “Water from the rock”?
What is the most important aspect of Marist spirituality in your life? How do you see it expressed in “Water from the Rock”? page
My spiritual journey Br. Javier Espinosa Mary is also our sister Br. Afonso Murad Marist Spirituality, which flows from the tradition of Marcellin Br. Jaume Parés Our Saints and Marist Spirituality Br. Giovanni Maria Bigotto
My encounter with “Water from the Rock” Br. Horacio D. Magaldi
Marist Spirituality in my Christian life Rocío Zamora
Passion for our commitment Novices, Lomeri, Fiji
A simple story indeed Spiritual Formation Team, Sydney
How does “Water from the Rock” quench your thirst for spirituality ? page
Jesus loves us as we are Mary Luz Quiroga Revollo
“Water from the Rock” a source of challenge Linda Corbeil page
The image of God in “Water from the Rock” Br. Mario Colussi
How does “Water from the Rock” energize your spiritual life? page
Simplicity in the light of “Water from the Rock” Br. Alphonse Gahima page
The political dimension of Marcellinian Spirituality Br. Richard Rajaonarison Tiana
Living signs of the Father’s tenderness Br. John Kusi
Letter to my Brothers 24 February 2009
Br. Seán D. Sammon, FMS – Superior General
Dear Brothers and members of the Marist Family
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LETTER TO MY BROTHERS Br. Seán Sammon
he Church’s custom of celebrating a “Holy Year” began in 1300 when Pope Boniface VIII proclaimed the first one. The true origin of these Jubilees, however, goes back to biblical times and the Law of Moses which prescribed a special year for the Jewish people. During those 12 months adversaries reconciled, land was restored to its rightful owners, debts were forgiven, slaves liberated.
While not exactly a “Holy Year,” the Year of Spirituality celebrated by our Marist Institute from October 7th 2007 through October 12th 2008 was marked by the same fervor and included at least as much activity as those that occur in our Church at large every quarter century. More importantly, like the Holy Years that the Church celebrates, our Year of Spirituality gave us all a chance to strengthen faith by reflecting upon Marist Apostolic Spirituality and its place and meaning in our lives today.
The publication “Water from the rock”
of them he absorbed the practices of piety and the spiritual heritage of the high plateau region. The Founder was also fortunate to grow up in the District of Marlhes, a region of deep faith. His Sulpician seminary professors only had to build upon the foundation that was already in place. As a consequence, Marcellin’s great devotion to Mary deepened and the incarnational nature of his spirituality blossomed. For Jesus and
The publication Water from the Rock: Marist Spirituality flowing in the tradition of Marcellin Champagnat gave impetus to the year originally. Many saw its 12 months as an ideal opportunity to become better acquainted with this publication and to make their own the message that it contained. In so doing, they came to discover the Founder anew. This outcome may come as a surprise because we already know his story well. Not born a saint, he spent a lifetime becoming one. His mother, Maria Thérèse, and aunt, Louise, were the first to awaken his spiritual life. Their example and direction were foundational. From both
LETTER TO MY BROTHERS Br. Seán Sammon
not Mary was the destination of his faith. Most of all though we know of the Founder’s love for children and young people and his ardent desire to tell them just how much Jesus Christ loved them.
Activities to focus attention on “Water from the Rock” Provinces and Districts throughout the Institute held retreats, days of reflection, assemblies, and other activities to focus attention on Water from the Rock but more importantly on the message it contains. This issue of FMS Message will take you on a pilgrimage through the events of the last 12 months and acquaint you with what was done as well as the many people who contributed their time and efforts to make it the success that it was.
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As you begin, keep in mind the fact that Marcellin Champagnat was an ordinary man who lived his life at a particular time in history and had to deal with the political, religious, and economic realities of his day. But he is also a holy man because he lived that ordinary life exceptionally well and loved with an extraordinary love. Having discovered the message of the Gospel and letting it transform him, Marcellin wanted to share with others, particularly poor children and young people, all that he had seen and heard.
lenge is offered to all of us, brothers and lay Marists alike. As you read through this issue of FMS Message may you not only learn about the Marist Year of Spirituality that has just come to a close, may you also be inspired to keep its spirit alive in your own life and to encourage others to do the same.
Blessings and affection,
To make God known and loved To love God,” he often said, “to love God, and to make God known and loved, that is what a brothers’ life should be.” Today this very same chal-
Brother Seán D. Sammon, FMS Superior General
Genesis of the Year of Spirituality Br. Peter Rodney Chair - Religious Life Commission
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GENESIS OF THE YEAR OF SPIRITUALITY Br. Peter Rodney
he origins of the Year of Spirituality lie in the very first meeting of the International Spirituality Commission which produced the text: Water from the Rock. This group of Brothers and Lay Marists met in Rome in February 2004 to reflect on how best to implement the mandate that originated with the XX General Chapter. Very quickly there emerged within the Commission a consensus that what was needed was not just a text on spirituality, as much anticipated as it was, but also a process within which the document would be disseminated within the Institute.
The mandate of the General Chapter which requested the production of the text set it within a much broader framework: “to continue to encourage reflection on the subject of our spirituality at the level of the Institute” [Choose Life #48.1.] What the Commission envisaged was the most effective ways in which the text might be a means of spiritual formation. As the Commission proceeded with its task during the following years, this idea remained in mind.
Called back to the relationship with Jesus Between 2002 and 2005 the General Council conducted its first round of Province Visits. As the Council reflected on this first-hand knowledge of the Institute a number of echoes were being heard from many Provinces. Among these were two which bear upon spirituality. We kept hearing that the religious identity of the Brothers needed re-assertion and strengthening. We needed to be called back to the relationship with Jesus that is at the heart of our Religious Consecration. These visits confirmed the discernment of the XX General Chapter and the continuing value of its First Call:
To centre our lives and communities in Jesus Christ, like Mary, with passion and enthusiasm, and to implement processes of human growth and conversion which promote this.
GENESIS OF THE YEAR OF SPIRITUALITY Br. Peter Rodney
How to maintain the focus of the Institute on this Call, as well as the other four, now that the ‘first fervour’ of the General Chapter might have dissipated? Secondly, Provincial leaders were very conscious of the place that Lay Marists are now taking in the leadership of the Marist Mission. Thus giving rise to the challenge – how best to form them as Marist apostles?
A Year of Spirituality In February 2006 during its Plenary Session the General Council decided to consult the Provincials about focusing the Institute on a Year of Spirituality. The response was very positive and encouraging. The following June during the Plenary Session the decision was made to have a Year of Spirituality, commencing in October 2007. The timing of the Year was seen to be particularly advantageous. It would come immediately after the process of One Heart, One Mission, that culminated in the meeting in Mendes, Brazil (September 2007), and precede the year of preparation (2008-2009) for the XXI General Chapter. A Year devoted to deepening our spirituality would strengthen the natural flow from one focus to the next. In moving towards the discernment that is a General Chapter, the Institute would have focused on the twin facets of our charism: mission and spirituality. The Statement with which the Mendes meeting concluded contained five key orientations; one of which committed the Institute to a Revolution of the Heart – Open to the Breath of the Spirit.
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In part the Statement declared: “We need to ensure that our mission is shaped and informed by our rich spiritual heritage”. A Year of Spirituality, focused on deepening of our spirituality would be a clear and practical response to this desire. Jumping from the Year of Spirituality to the preparation for the XXI General Chapter, what do we see? In convoking this Chapter Br. Seán concludes:
We stand today in the doorway of a new chapter in the history of Marist life and mission. We could, though, just as well miss this opportunity for renewal. Let us, then, be prayerful and discerning, let us act with courage, let us be true to the dream and heritage of our Founder as we come together in Chapter next year. (Circular of convocation, page 52)
Hopefully, the Year of Spirituality has given us a greater capacity to be “prayerful and discerning”.
Invitation to drink from the stream of life, which is Jesus In choosing the theme for the Year, and a suitable logo to communicate it, the Religious Life Commission wanted to evoke the image of movement, evolution, growth - life. The theme: Water from the Rock: spring of life was an invitation to all Marists to drink from the stream of life, which is Jesus. Deliberately, the theme echoed the title of the new spirituality text as a way of both promoting the text itself, and more importantly highlighting that Marists have chosen the charism of Marcellin as their preferred way of living their Christian life. The logo pointed to the source, where the ‘flow’ of our Marist spirituality began – Marcellin and the community of the First Brothers at the Hermitage - in the valley of the Gier. The inauguration of the Year on Sunday October 7 th 2007 was intended to also communicate
GENESIS OF THE YEAR OF SPIRITUALITY Br. Peter Rodney
movement and to involve Marists, both Brother and Lay. The sense of movement and inter-connection was demonstrated by the Prayer Relay. Beginning with the Novitiate Community at Lomeri in Fiji, and concluding with the Novitiate Community at Morelia in Mexico, the prayer passed from community to community to community. To 48 communities in fact, who reflected the rich diversity of Marist Life and Mission – colleges and universities, communities of insertion, communities of Novices and communities of Senior Brothers. All united in prayer by a common spiritual heritage. During the Year thus inaugurated, the Institute was invited to focus its attention on spiritual formation.
The Year of Spirituality was very visible Each Province and District then took up the potential of the Year in its own way. Existing programs were injected with a new lease of life. New programs of spiritual formation were developed, promoted, conducted, evaluated, conducted again ……. There was no lack of colour and creativity. In many Provinces the Year of Spirituality was very visible. The image inside the cover of Water from the Rock captured exactly the process we envisaged for the Year.
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A Day of Thanksgiving on Sunday October 12th 2008 With each Province following its own rhythm and timetable, the Year concluded at different times in different places. Here in Rome we chose to close the Year with a Day of Thanksgiving on Sunday October 12th 2008. This is the anniversary of the election in 1839 of Br François as first Superior General. On that day leadership of our Marist life and mission passed from the generation of the Founder to the next generation of Marists, represented by François. Our celebration acknowledged with gratitude the next generation in our time who are taking up the role of Marist leadership. They are both Brothers and Lay Marists. All of them are the heirs of a spiritual heritage that we have received from Marcellin, François and the first Brothers. “We have been carried on the shoulders of a rich spiritual tradition”(#153). In the spirit of the Year of Spirituality, it is a heritage that has life, and is life-giving:
The Marist spirituality that originated with Marcellin and the founding community has been enriched by the successive generations of Champagnat’s followers. It has now become a stream of living water. Future generations will further enhance this spirituality. With Marcellin, we know that Mary continues to guide its development. (Water from the Rock 12) In this way, though the Year of Spirituality has concluded, we pray that the processes of spiritual formation for Brothers and Lay Marists which it prompted will remain, and more importantly - flourish. This will be the living legacy of the Year of the Spirituality 2007 – 2008.
A man,an Institute, a Society Br. AndrĂŠ Lanfrey International Patrimony Commission
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A MAN, AN INSTITUTE, A SOCIETY Br. André Lanfrey
From the spirit of the Institute to Marist spirituality
ur Marist spirituality rests on three original pillars: Champagnat, the consecration of Fourvière and the active interpretation of the Brothers. Through his father, Champagnat was the inheritor of a renewed Catholicism seeking to raise up Christians more conscious of their dignity and their responsibilities. The documents reveal to us four stages in the construction of his personal spirituality: the irrevocable decision to become a priest (1804); the concern to teach rich and poor (1812); the intimate link with Mary manifested in the expression: “I am your slave” (1815). Finally, if Marcellin adhered without reserve to the Society of Mary project in 1816, it was in affirming that : “We need Brothers”.
From 1816 to 1824 he succeeded in incarnating his own project at Lavalla in the form of an ‘oratory’ (Bourdin Memoir OM2/754) combining fraternity, a multiform apostolate, work and harsh mortification. He was formator and companion rather than superior. His disciples interpreted his message along two distinct lines incarnate in two men: Br. J.M. Granjon, given to missionary activity; Br. Louis, originally inclined to the life of seclusion. From 1822 (Life Chapter 10) a spirituality based on prayer, union with Jesus and Mary, religious life, and the apostolate of catechesis appeared fixed in its main lines.
recognized that the Hermitage was the city of Mary and the mother house of an Order which called them to a ‘ministry’ of catechesis.
Although recognizing Champagnat as father (1823) and as superior (1825), the Brothers found a certain difficulty in accepting a very monastic Society of Mary project founded exclusively on the school. For their part, the Fathers of the Hermitage, preoccupied with mission and little inclined to live under the same rule as the Brothers, refused the model of an SM centered on the Brothers. These vicissitudes forced Champagnat to deepen his adherence to the will of God (Nisi Dominus). Although his work remained unfinished at his death (with no civil recognition, nor approval from Rome nor a rule) his disciples
A MAN, AN INSTITUTE, A SOCIETY Br. André Lanfrey
Union with Jesus and humility During the following twenty years, the spirituality assumed definite shape in grand syntheses such as the Circular on the Spirit of Faith (1848-53), the Common Rules (1852), the Teacher’s Guide (1853), the Manual of Piety (1855) and the Life of the Founder (1856). The ‘Spirit of the Institute’ is composed of identification with that of Mary: union with Jesus and humility founded on the awareness of being nothing before God. This is not a simple devotion but a Marial mysticism. Br. Louis-Marie (1860-1879) and his successors fought step by step right up to 1958 to safeguard ‘the spirit of the Institute’ which they considered under threat from a world further and further from God. But at the end of the XIX century a crisis of conscience became evident: was the Brother first of all a monk or an apostle ? First of all a catechist or a teacher?... the secularization of numerous Brothers after 1903 brought to light a problem of interpretation of Marist spirituality which, strongly denied in theory, nevertheless remained present in practice. For traditionalists, Marist spirituality could only be
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expressed in community (rule, habit) while for the secularized, it was first of all an apostolic spirit assumed by individuals. The change of perspective was operative in the chapter of 1958 which accorded more spiritual autonomy (meditation and spiritual reading in private…) and replaced the concept of spirit of the Institute with that of spirituality (Circular of Br. Charles-Raphaël). This tardy opening was swept away by the Council and the social events of the years 1965-75: the Institute had to reform itself in earnest. In the years 67-85, Br. Basilio
Rueda laid the bases of a new and remarkable synthesis of our identity. On emerging from this troubled period, the Institute recognized spirituality as its central issue: hence the circulars of the generalates of Brothers Charles Howard and Seán Sammon on this subject. Since then the Marist identity coming from Champagnat is defined less as an Institute than as a current of spirituality addressed to all types of life (religious, priests, lay people). Water from the Rock appears as an aspect of this work of redefinition still far from achievement, insofar as achievement is possible.
How “Water from the Rock” came into being Br. Peter Rodney, CG Co-ordinator International Spirituality Commission
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“WATER FROM THE ROCK” CAME INTO BEING
Br. Peter Rodney
rom the vision of the XX General Chapter this text came into existence. Having discerned the five Calls, the Chapter began a more profound reflection on each of these key dimensions of our life and mission. What would be signs of vitality? How could this vitality be nurtured?
From this passionate seeking of God and the meaning of life, would grow communities experienced as schools of faith (Choose Life #20). Through incarnating her attitudes, our seeking would be done in Mary’s way (Choose Life #21).
In the area of spirituality the Chapter envisioned an Institute in which Brothers enter into processes of personal growth and conversion (Choose Life #19).
Among a number of means of nurturing this vitality the Chapter requested:
To continue to encourage reflection on the subject of our spirituality at the level of the Institute, and to plan the production of a document along the lines of “In the Footsteps of Marcellin Champagnat“, taking into account the two principal aspects of our spirituality: the Marial and the apostolic.
its style. Thus from the very beginning it was clear the audience would include Lay Marists; with their help it would speak to their experience of the charism of Marcellin. The Think Tank recommended that the commission given responsibility for producing the text make use of experts in our spiritual patrimony as well as in communication. Thirdly, it offered to the commission a suggested structure for the text.
(Choose Life #48.1)
By 2003 the General Council was in a position to advance the implementation of this mandate. In June it called together a representative group of Brothers. This Spirituality Think Tank shaped the document in three specific ways. It clarified the intended audience of the document and therefore
“WATER FROM THE ROCK” CAME INTO BEING
Br. Peter Rodney
The structure for the document By September 2003 an International Commission, composed of both Brothers and Lay Marists, was in place and it held its first meeting in February 2004. Following processes which formed its own spirit and clarified its mandate, the Commission built upon the work of the Think Tank. A key moment during this meeting came towards the end, when the structure for the document was changed significantly. Provisionally entitled: A Marist Spiritual Way, it was proposed that the body of the document consist of four parts: Marist Way to Identity, Marist Way to God, Marist Way with People, and Marist Way to Ministry. Using other terms these four parts describe – vocation (consecration), prayer, community, mission. In this way the proposed text would re-express today those elements whose integration the XVII General Chapter in 1976 saw as essential for the renewal of the Religious Life of the Brothers. Each part was to be modeled on the structure within the Constitutions, where most chapters follow the same developmental sequence.
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In the case of the spirituality text, the development would be: in dialogue with the world and youth of today, in dialogue with the experience of the Church, in dialogue with Mary and with Marcellin, the way of today’s Marists. By this means the text would be based in experience, especially of young people. It would then reflect on that experience in the light of the Christian tradition, as mediated for us by Mary and Marcellin. Finally, we wished that the reflection within each part would conclude with practical means by which this dimension of our spirituality is lived and nurtured today.
Scripture was lacking. The draft text lacked stories of Marcellin. Part One (on identity) was very problematic and needed to be re-written entirely. The Writing Group set to work and shaped the structure of the text to what it is today. Part One opens with a statement of our identity and the origins of our spirituality in Marcellin and the Founding Community.
Collection of material Between April and December 2004, the Commission conducted its First Consultation. A great variety of groups, consisting of Brothers and Lay Marists, were consulted about their experience of our spirituality – apostolic and Marial. Information on both our patrimony and Mariology was gathered from experts. All this material was studied during the second meeting of the Commission in February 2005. The structure of the text was The characteristics of our spirituality are identiconfirmed. Planning commenced on the specific fied and explained. Each Part has a scripture thread through it. The text concludes with a content of each part. ‘magnificat’ prayer to Mary. Thus we arrived at By the time the Commission gathered for its Version 7. third meeting in February 2006, a draft text had passed through three revisions. This meeting re- When the Commission met for the fourth and fivised the text again, producing Version 5, which nal time in November 2006, it further refined the was then refined even further. Version 6 was sent text into Version 8. As well, this meeting settled out to representative groups within the Institute on a name for the text. The entire title has sigduring the Second Consultation. From March to nificance: July feedback was invited. In August 2006 a Writing Group of the Commission spent eight days reading the mountain of material that was sent in, analyzing it, and synthesizing the comments. We were told that the draft document contained the essential elements of our spirituality. Yet a number of other things were also very clear. The draft was seen as too theological for the intended audience. Jesus was insufficiently present.
Water from the Rock Marist Spirituality flowing in the tradition of Marcellin Champagnat
“WATER FROM THE ROCK” CAME INTO BEING
Br. Peter Rodney
The Commission knew that in everyday usage the document would come to be known by the major title, so we wanted something both distinctive and evocative. The twin images of ‘water’ and ‘rock’ are very rich in both our Christian and Marist traditions. Further, we wanted the title to identify the book as one dealing with spirituality. In identifying the spirituality as Marist we needed to qualify this term, since we are not the only Marists. Finally the verb ‘flowing’ was chosen deliberately. It conveys the sense of movement, of life. In that the spirituality flows from Marcellin conveys both our origins and development since that time. This development continues beyond our time and circumstances. Might I suggest one means, in relation to Water from the Rock by which this development is taking place. The structure and ‘flow’ of the text can be diagrammatically presented as follows:
INTRODUCTION PART 1 PART 2
Part 1 (“Drawing from Streams of Living Water”) articulates the origins and characteristics of our spirituality. Parts 2, 3 and 4 present how the spirituality thus described, is lived out and nurtured in three key areas of our life. The titles of each part connect together to demonstrate the flow and the unity: Drawing from steams of living water, we journey in faith, as
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brothers and sisters, bringing good news to the poor. We see new visions – dream new dreams. What is just beginning is a study of the text from a more ‘horizontal‘ perspective. Diagrammatically it could be presented as follows:
It is well worthwhile to study a theme across the text. The four themes given here are offered as examples. [Some of the articles in this edition of FMS Message present the fruit of this method of reflection.] In January 2006 the Commission was relieved and happy to have concluded its task and presented Version 8 to the General Council. It was accompanied with ideas, prepared by a Communications Group within the Commission, on how best to publish and disseminate the text. The Commission was firmly of the belief that a text alone does not entirely communicate our spiritual heritage. Pictures, images, symbols all have
significance. For this reason, for example, each part of the text has its own distinctive image: the rock at the Hermitage, a stream, pathway, table at Lavalla, fire, and Marcellin carrying the child. The Council suggested further improvements to the text. Thus emerged Version 9, which redacted in its base language (English), became the Final Version. On June 6th 2007 Water from the Rock was formally promulgated for the Institute by the Br.Seán, Superior General. This is the text, so attractively published, that we have in our hands today. We trust that it invites a response.
On the roads of the Year of Spirituality Br. Teรณfilo Minga Secretary of the Religious Life Commission
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ON THE ROADS OF THE YEAR OF SPIRITUALITY Br. Teófilo Minga
Some personal reflections
ow was the Year of Spirituality lived out in the course of its twelve months? How was the book Water from the Rock (WfR) received in the various Provinces of the Institute?
An original idea: the ‘Prayer Relay’ at the opening of the Year
I have been asked to write a word for this issue of FMS Message, based on my experience as Secretary of the Religious Life Commission during the Year of Spirituality. This experience consisted of the animation of retreats, seminars, conferences, and week-ends of reflection. Moreover, personal contact with people of the Marist World, Brothers and Lay Marists, during the Year of Spirituality, was very rich as well.
Throughout the Marist world the ‘Prayer Relay’ that opened the Year of Spirituality was very much appreciated. In it people were responding to one of the three wishes formulated by the Commission that wrote the text: “Our hope is that the document will enrich prayer, provoke reflection and inspire action“ (WfR, page 19).
A lay friend expresses it this way: “Frequently I read a couple of paragraphs in order to be penetrated by Champagnat spirituality. It is gradually becoming a very important source of nourishment for my everyday life.”
The whole document was prayed on the opening day. Sections (hereafter numbers #) of the text had been distributed across the forty-eight participating communities. In addition to the sense of unity it created within the Institute, the Prayer Relay has had at least two other advantages: 1) it inspired many Marist Brothers and laity, to make their own prayers from Water from the Rock, especially in important moments of the Spirituality Year and of the Province, and 2) some Provinces created their own ‘Prayer Relay’ committing all communities to this initiative. The exercise generated from the beginning a phenomenon that was to be seen throughout the Year of Spirituality: a great love for this document, seen as a special source of prayer.
ON THE ROADS OF THE YEAR OF SPIRITUALITY Br. Teófilo Minga
The enthusiasm generated by the document throughout the Congregation People had been expecting the document as a necessary tool for the life of the Congregation in general and for the life of Brothers and Lay Marists, in particular. One voice among so many others: “I will also want to pass a word of thanks to the commission that came up with this document “Water from the Rock.” I want to think that it really is the work of the Holy Spirit and that the commission was guided by the Spirit to come up with such a beautiful work that merits our appreciation and our careful consideration”. The enthusiasm generated by the document is expressed in at least three ways: 1. The number of translations that were made of the document. The original document is in English and was immediately translated into the other official languages of the Institute: French, Spanish and Portuguese. In addition, paying attention to the differences in expression that occur in the same language, we printed a version of ‘Portuguese for Brazil’ and ‘Spanish for Latin America’. There are translations in
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German, Dutch, Italian, Catalan, Korean, Hungarian, Greek, Sinhala, and Tamil. Counting the Brazilian and Spanish versions prepared for Latin America as ‘independent’, we calculate that WfR has been published in sixteen languages. Translations into Arabic, Kiswahili and Urdu are on the way. Apart from the Constitutions no book in the history of the Institute has had such a linguistic extension, or received such a warm welcome. The different translations respond to a need to ‘feel’ and to ‘live’ the document. 2. Another element that speaks of the enthusiasm generated by this document across the Marist World is the number of copies that were printed. Again, most probably, no other document in the history of the Congregation has been printed in so many copies. In all, 61,700 copies have been printed – so far. (See Appendix). 3. The third element that demonstrates the enthusiasm aroused by the document is the number of activities and prayers that were generated during the Year of Spirituality. These initiatives continue to be promoted at both local and Province levels. In addition, prayers were prepared in Rome primarily for centres of formation or for Provinces as requested by the Provincial. All these prayers and initiatives show great creativity, dynamism and audacity. On such occasions the feelings were always the same: the book was and continues to be a source of inspiration for both individual and communal prayer.
Here we may mention that the document will help all of us to deepen the reflection on Marist Spirituality. This reflection started long ago with our researchers and historians. Water from the Rock is one element more, helping this reflection. Some long articles with a certain depth may be seen already. Others, simpler, offer as well a worthwhile reflection on some parts or numbers of the document. They are smaller articles, but they respond to the wish of the Commission that the text be a “source of reflection”. I think it is appropriate at this point to comment on the fact that Lay Marists expressed a special joy upon receiving WfR. What surprised me was how, almost everywhere, the attitude of lay people has been that Water from the Rock is, as they say, “our document.” Throughout the Institute, the idea has surfaced that for Marist lay people sharing in the mission is not enough. They feel it necessary as well to share the spirituality, and to live the spirituality, that Marcellin handed on to us. A Lay Marist wrote: “I’d say that ‘Water from the Rock’ is a book that needs to be read over and over again. More than that: it is a book to be worn down, like a ‘biblical tablet’ under a cascade of ‘water from the rock’.“ Because they share a common mission, Lay Marists and Brothers have lived a sense of communion. Now such communion is to be consolidated and deepened by spirituality.
ON THE ROADS OF THE YEAR OF SPIRITUALITY Br. Teófilo Minga
“The unsuspected riches of our new book of spirituality” This statement was part of a personal reflection made by an Ad Gentes Brother. The Brother went on to mention some of the riches, to which I add others.
a) ‘Eucharistic man’, ‘Eucharistic woman’ Is Eucharist a fundamental dimension of Marist spirituality? The answer seems to be affirmative, when one thinks either of the traditional elements of our spirituality (such as the practice of the presence of God and of having the ‘first places’ - at altar, cross and crib) or of the new elements suggested by Water from the Rock. In the three numbers of WfR that explicitly mention the Eucharist (#23, #86, #104), the sacrament is presented as the CENTRE of our lives. In three other numbers, the theme arises in connection with Jesus as the CENTRE of our lives (#4, #116, #135). However, Water from the Rock does not stop after mentioning the Eucharist in our lives, as a Sacrament. It points to a Eucharistic life, to a way of living in a Eucharistic way. This is well expressed with the four adjectives coming, all of them, from the Eucharistic world: gathered, blessed, broken and shared (#86, #104- #108). From this perspective we may understand better the expression we find now so often in spiritual writings: to build up within us the ‘Eucharistic man’. We understand better, as well, the expression John Paul II applied to Mary; calling her “the first ‘Tabernacle’ in history” (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 55). This is to say, Mary is the ‘Eucharistic woman’.
b) Dimensions of the spirituality To be complete, spirituality must not neglect these three dimensions: mystical, biblical-theological, and ascetic. It is clear that WfR does not overlook any of these elements. Keeping them together in a balanced way is to place all of us on the right track, revealing what is best in Marist spirituality as a way of life for many people in the Church. The mystical dimension appears in Chapter Two (#71 - #73). There, mystic people acknowledge the active presence of the Holy Spirit in the world and the presence of the Lord in all events. Mystic people discover the Lord so as to enter into communion with him. The mystical is, in the end, an attitude of welcoming and of contemplation of God and his mystery. Its aim is communion between man and God. It is important that WfR underlines this aspect. In doing so it presents, again in a Marist way, one dimension that is present in all
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3. One of the practices suggested in the document is that we nurture our spiritual life that is to say, our spirituality, through Lectio Divina, or meditating on the Word of God (cf #80).
spiritualities. Christ is the mystic per excellence because of his total and permanent union with God, thanks to the strength of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. WfR underlines the presence of the Holy Spirit in the growth of all mystic people. It is the Spirit who leads us to full communion with God: we are Temples of the Holy Spirit (cf John 14: 23; 1 Cor 3: 16). Chapter Two, as well shows the ascetic dimension, suggesting to all Marist people “certain practices that are essential to nurturing our faith life as Marists” (#79).
c) A fundamental importance of the Bible in our Marist Spirituality Is there a biblical dimension to our spirituality? It is completely appropriate to raise this question because from Vatican II onwards the Bible starts having a fundamental importance in our Marist Spirituality. Water from the Rock is within this biblical flow. It is a good example of integration of Scripture, more and more, in our Marist Spirituality.
4. An attentive observer would note that the symbols associated with the different chapters are all rich in biblical overtones: water, fire, rock, the way, the table. Moreover, we could even say that all spirituality is dynamic. Consequently, any spirituality can assume, today, some elements of the past that were forgotten or were not discovered or were not even there. Rather they are now emerging as a way of responding to the basic needs of the human person. The Bible is today, more and more, at the heart of Marist spirituality.
d) Beyond the apostolic and marian aspects of our spirituality Water from the Rock widened the horizons of our spirituality. Such is the unanimous feeling in all Provinces. Practically, since the days of Vatican II and the General Chapters of our Congregation in 1967/1968 and 1976, the study of Marist spirituality focused on its apostolic and Marian dimensions.
1. All chapters are introduced by a biblical text of great significance. The last of the chapters clearly refers to the proclamation of the Good News to the poor. Therefore the Good News of the Bible is central to our apostolic activity. 2. One of the features of our spirituality according to Water from the Rock is “Love of Jesus and His Gospel“ (cf #19-#24). Moreover, all the chapters and in a special way the fourth one contain several biblical references.
ON THE ROADS OF THE YEAR OF SPIRITUALITY Br. Teófilo Minga
In fact, the Chapter of l976, in its Prayer, Apostolate and Community document, coined for the first time in the Institute, the expression ‘Marist Apostolic Spirituality’. Water from the Rock does not deny the apostolic and Marian character of our spirituality; on the contrary, it is reaffirmed many times. The document states from the very beginning that Marist Spirituality is “passion for God and compassion for people” (#1). To speak of “compassion” for people is to describe the apostolate we are invited to do in the Church, doing it in a compassionate way. Compassion and apostolate are not two distinct realities. They form a unity when we speak of Marist Spirituality. But Water from the Rock also reminds us of other elements of our spirituality that were not as repeatedly stressed as the apostolic and Marian elements. These ‘new’ elements are not found so explicitly in the six defining characteristics that appear clearly in Chapter One. All of us now know the characteristics by heart: the presence and love of God; confidence in God; love of Jesus and his Gospel; spirituality lived in Mary’s way; family spirit; a spirituality of simplicity. In addition to these six characteristics, however, Water from the Rock also makes us aware that our spirituality is communal, relational and affective, simple and down-to-earth, passionate and incarnated, missionary and eucharistic. We are not used to this language. Gradually, however, WfR will make it a common language in the Marist world. These characteristics have always been our richness, but they were somehow hidden. Now they will appear in the light. Water from the Rock has served as a ‘revelatory’ document.
e) An apostolic spirituality where mission “ad gentes” is highlighted It is clearly accepted and understood around the Marist World that our spirituality is an apostolic one. Water from the Rock recalls the apostolic dimensions several times; as does the introductory letter from Seán. Chapter Two also reminds us of this aspect, in a way perhaps that is too repetitive. For its part, Chapter Four completes Chapter Two in a magnificent manner, widening the world of our apostolate, “directing our journey to those places where others would prefer
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not to go“ (#149) and “generously answering to the call of Mission Ad Gentes“ (#150). Although WfR does not make the point explicitly, it is clear to the Marist World that our spirituality is a ‘missionary spirituality’ confirming and consolidating what was already present in our Constitutions: the existence of a “Marist missionary spirituality“ (Con. 91). Now WfR confirms the point, calling to mind explicitly the invitation of Mission Ad Gentes. Lay people and Brothers accept this dimension, not only as a response to the call of the Lord: “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News.“ They accept it as a constitutive dimension of our spirituality. And we have here a wonderful relationship between spirituality and mission. Both realities complete each other; one does not go without the other. On the other hand WfR assuming and confirming this missionary dimension of our spirituality
just updates a tradition coming from our origins: Champagnat sent Brothers to Oceania. WfR proposes with strength and courage the rediscovery of Mission Ad Gentes by the Institute. In doing so WfR is telling us that an attitude of openness and missionary availability is part of our spirituality.
f) The feminine dimension of Marist spirituality Our spirituality is also “strongly relational and affective“ (#31). Would it be an exaggeration to speak of a ‘feminine dimension of Marist spirituality’? The question arose often and in many Marist milieux. This is because in WfR the theme of Mary is one of the most present, if not the most present. Mary inspires our attitudes (#27, #113, #114, #131); with Mary we praise the Lord (#88, #151); Mary is present in our mission (#5, #11, #26, #27, #75, #132, #133, #149); we put
ON THE ROADS OF THE YEAR OF SPIRITUALITY Br. Teófilo Minga
our trust in God as Mary did (#61, #68). These few references tell us that it is from the presence of Mary in our spirituality and in our document that we can deduce, without any difficulty, a possible feminine dimension of our spirituality. Number 31, speaks of how Marcellin relates precisely to Mary: “the image of sister has enriched the ways Marists relate, and define their ministry“. Could we not say, as well, the image defines our spirituality? Doubtless Mary inspired the first Marists to dream of a renewed way of being Church. She inspires the Marists of today to be “a Marian Church having a maternal heart where nobody is abandoned” (#114). As we underline this Marian dimension of our spirituality we are underlining at the same time its feminine dimension.
g) The presence of the Spirit in us The Holy Spirit is the source of all spirituality and all ministries: such is the case for all Christian spiritual traditions. To state this is almost a repetition of terms: there is no spirituality without the presence of the Holy Spirit. Moreover, to live spiritually is to live according to the Spirit of God. It is amazing the number of times that the Water from the Rock makes the point that the Spirit is source of our spirituality (see page 15, #50, #87), source of the apostolate (cf page 15, #124, #148 , #156), or source of both at the same time (see #13, #43, #60, #72, #74, #117, #132, #133). In visiting the Provinces, I have come away feeling that we need to go back more insistently to the action of the Spirit within us. In fact, someone called my attention to a certain similarity between
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the ‘little virtues’ and the fruits of the Spirit. Are not the Little Virtues a fruit of the Spirit?
Continuing on the familiar road Have the Provinces and the Marist World in general lived the Year of Spirituality? There is no doubt that they did. The panorama “Marist Spirituality 2008“ - is in fact very varied: there were activities, prayers, plans (some already leading up to 2010), Province magazines published on the subject, interviews given to newspapers and radio; even a televised Mass on Marist spirituality. Such are some of the events which are visible. Of course, in the hearts of people, God and His Spirit have worked as well. Some of the testimonies received indicate this. Now we are called to keep journeying. Let us not forget that WfR is a precious help in that spiritual itinerary. Let us not allow the Water from the Rock, this river of living water, to dry up. Let us continue to drink from this stream of living water which started at La Valla. From it many Brothers and Lay Marists have been drinking for almost these two hundred years of our Congregation. Now it is our time to drink; to become, in turn, streams of living water for others.
NUMBER OF COPIES PUBLISHED PUBLICATIONS
Argentina Brasil Chile Venezuela Equator Mexico Africa Sri Lanka
10.000 7.100 3.500 1.000 2.000 5.500
10.000 16.150 3.500 1.000 2.000 5.500 1.000 1.000
Greece Hungary Germany Netherlands Korea
2.000 500 80 50 20
500 2.000 500 80 50 20
Number of copies published in Rome – English – French – Spanish for Spain – Spanish for Latin America – Portuguese for Portugal – Catalan – Italian
18.400 5.100 2.300 4.400 3.400 1.100 1.100 1.000
Our mission to poor youth Br. Théoneste Kalisa General Councillor
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OUR MISSION TO POOR YOUTH Br. Théoneste Kalisa
he publication of Water from the Rock is linked with the change in our relationship to the Marist identity. With the multiplication of new ideas about what it means to be Marist in following Champagnat, the General Chapter of 2001 felt it necessary to have objective and commonly agreed references. I would like to take up again the place the document Water from the Rock gives to our mission among the most disadvantaged young people. It is towards this social group that the charismatic intuition of Champagnat is directed. Basically, then, I will confine my contribution to several paragraphs from Chapter 4 of the document: “Bringing Good News to the Poor”.
Champagnat’s Marist spirituality is directly situated in Christian compassion. As with Jesus, who at the beginning of his mission proclaims: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has chosen me to bring good news to the poor …”, so the mission of Marist apostles is born of the experience of being loved by God and of the desire to participate in the mission of Jesus (WfR #124). The Christian mission of Champagnat directs him towards children and young people from poor environments. He sees them as the object of particular compassion on the part of Jesus. Their lack of experience and economic dependence because of their age make children the most vulnerable elements in a society dominated by an often blind and pitiless competition.
situation is more complex, but the problems remain basically the same. Faced with the new forms assumed by the challenges, compassion requires more openness and spiritual depth but also more zeal. The claim of our spirituality, which
The problems remain basically the same Having spent his childhood in a disturbed environment, Champagnat was an excellent partner for expressing the compassion of Jesus for young people. One hundred and ninety years later, Water from the Rock places before us again the harsh reality of the place of our mission of evangelization (#125); the world has changed, the
OUR MISSION TO POOR YOUTH Br. Théoneste Kalisa
finds expression everywhere in the document, reminds us to take the initiative to leave our place and go out to young people in difficulty wherever they are, to show our preference for them and seek concrete responses to their painful reality(#144).
Compassion for neglected youth Number 146 of Water from the Rock reminds us that education is our privileged place for evangelization. Marcellin’s personal experience, especially in his childhood, threw light on the charismatic intuition of his maturity. Water from the Rock speaks to us of our fidelity to Champagnat’s spirituality in the reality and in the words of today. The compassion for the neglected youth of the countryside with whom Marcellin was well acquainted, we extend today to all young people to whom is shown no preference of any kind. Confronted with
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the unacceptable situation of deprived children, Marcellin thought that education could make a difference. It was the means he took to help young people to take control of their lives. Today still, abandoned children and youth are numerous. They constitute a major problem for society and an apostolic challenge for us. The text of Water from the Rock condemns this situation and challenges us: â€œEach Marist ministry shows a preference for those to whom preference is never shownâ€?(#146). The passage of our spirituality from spontaneous practice to written formulation will then have also been an opportunity for underlining its basic appeals and orientations, notably those directed towards poor children and young people in order to evangelize them through education.
tiste Montagne. He acted immediately and in a practical way. We too have to keep our eyes open, contemplatives in action, meeting God in the reality of everyday events and situations. The questions for our discernment are simple: Who are our J-B Montagnes today? Among the multitude of needs of children and young people we discern those which arouse in us an apostolic response and action without delay. In its indicative style, Water from the Rock challenges us and reassures us; it tells us of our fidelity to Champagnat and invites us to look at the long road that we have yet to travel.
Water from the Rock presents us with the Marist method of youth ministry. Champagnat saw an urgent call from God in his encounter with the young Jean Bap-
WHAT ARE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT
A new way of meeting with God; a loving, responsive God who engenders trust so that dialogue becomes a prayer. It provides an opportunity to look
to the future, revaluing our origin and the loving surrender of those who have placed their faith in Jesus and have followed him. A call of the spirit, to convert ourselves into torrents of life; Marist spirituality that is fire, challenge and action; fire that illuminates and attracts others,
challenge that requires us to announce that we are apostles, and action that allows us to give witness and to dream that a new world is possible. A legacy of life, a new spiritual testament, so as to meet those who are today’s Montagne and to be for them Good News.
CARLOS ULISES CENTENO LÓPEZ México central
The Year of Marist Spirituality, 2008, was an important year for me. I received the document Water from the Rock, and I began to become familiar with it thanks to an attentive reading – personally and communally – by our Fraternity. I am certain that the document will remain part of the history of the Institute because of contents which are very rich but expressed with simplicity and good graphic presentation. Enriched by the spirituality of this document, I was invited in 2008 to take part in the creation of an animation team for the fraternities of the Mediterránea Province. In the numerous meetings we made use of Water from the Rock
CARMINE IODICE Mediterránea
for reflections and also for times of prayer. This beautiful experience attained its culmination on the occasion of the first provincial meeting of the Fraternities, held at Grenada from 5 to 8 December 2008. I shall be a member of the animation team for another two years; I will try to give the best of myself so as to achieve a greater unity among all the Fraternities of the Province. May our Good Mother always accompany and enlighten the way of the youth who journey under her mantle.
“WATER FROM THE ROCK”?
This book is written in a very attractive arrangement. The images used literally and pictorially incite reflection and contemplation – “Water from the Rock”, “living water”, “journey in faith”, dining table of La Valla Community etc. The book presents
Marcellin positively as being open, frank, resolute, courageous, enthusiastic, constant, equable, feeling loved. It maintains tradition – Crib, Cross, Altar, Psalm 127, simplicity etc while employing modern expressions – communion with nature, justice, peace, solidarity, anointing etc. It maintains the cherished
Marist practices. Mary’s place in our spirituality was faithfully maintained: #131 – #133; Chapter 2. It agrees with the apostolic dimension of our spirituality, hence we “seek occasion to be with young people”; and stresses communion/community, while giving space for personal spirituality.
Br. CHRISTIAN MBAM
Br. NEVIL BINGLEY
When I first encountered Water from the Rock I also heard the explanation of how it was constructed: four parts, giving the essence of Marist spirituality, then the implications of this for me, the implications for us living with others and finally the implications for ongoing ministry.
This made a good deal of sense and it started to become clear how I could use it. It further made a great deal of sense when I realised it must be read, as with the Gospels, from the perspective of our own evolving image of God. So for me it is a thoroughly useful document, giving something new almost each time it is used.
Br. JAVIER ESPINOSA Director of the El Escorial Spirituality Center
My spiritual journey All you who are thirsty, come to the water! You who have no money, come, receive grain and eat; Come, without paying and without cost, drink wine and milk! Is 55,1
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sense that putting my spiritual experience into systematic form is not an easy task for me. All the same, in the following simple presentation, I highlight a few features that I have been able to sort out with some degree of precision. The occasion for doing so was the Quito meeting in which I participated along with Brothers and lay people. My Christian experience is intimately associated with my Marist experience. I have a sense of the freely-acting God who has placed within my being a certain joie de vivre in living out my life as a Marist Brother, in feeling at peace within myself. That’s the sum and substance of it. I am conscious too that when I think of such matters, I feel a certain poignancy, and am profoundly touched. The God who appears in my life is a God of deeply felt compassion, of mercy. He calls me to a similar compassionate vision. He is a God who is present in a convincing manner: here and there/above and below/within and without/always it is You/You are there/You/All and nothing/You are like that/my God/my Lord/my all/Fullness/empty/Fullness. My time at the novitiate in Venta de Baños helped me to discover God at the deepest levels of my heart: God in that which is most authentic and true about the person; both of myself and of others. I remember a Tamil hymn: “Oh God, you are at home in the depths of my heart...” In that place I have been able to contemplate, admire, adore God. I used to put the perception in the following way, “Each person, each Brother is a sacred history. Respect for the other. Full attention and listening.” As time passed, I came to see that growth as a person is to convert oneself to become the transparency of God. God desires that I be a person complete and fulfilled. I have come to perceive that every personal step along the way of authenticity, truth, of acting in accord with my convictions... is a real contribution towards creating a world that is more human: or rather, a world that is in harmony with God. My spiritual journey is closely linked to the God of surprises who makes use of the surprises of life itself. Thus I came to write down in one of my per-
sonal life plans, “I believe in the newness of God, always creating surprises, creating things that could not have been foreseen. I believe in the invitation that God offers me to live with a certain light touch and with creativity each stage of my life.” My image of God is that of God-made-history, made human event, made relationship and communication, made man, made path and search, made gift and love. My God has meaning only in the midst of the men and women of our world. Such message. Knowing how to find God in everything an understanding I have joined to Champagnat’s presupposes a spirituality of dialogue with the world, idea of the Presence of God: “God present in all a spirituality marked by an acute spiritual sensitivity things”: a call to keep my eyes open to the ways in that I have not managed to attain. At present, I have instead the inclination to eliminate from my which God will be made manifest. The XIX General Chapter represented a certain mile- life arguments about doctrines, traditions, religious stone in my faith. The writings that were sent to practices, religious conceptions. It is as if I were tryme by my friend Marce, the experience of an AIDS ing to remain as one exposed to the elements, to treatment center, attending the Chapter: all these link myself more to faith than to Religion, to God experiences introduced me to the apostolic dimen- more than to norms, to the person rather than to the sion of our spirituality: to contemplate God in con- forms of worship. I would like to live out a faith that templating life. The disposition of Mary at the An- is more personalized and integral, a true experience of God beyond tradition and doctrine. nunciation has helped me to follow Yet, I sense that such a process is peralong such a pathway, one that is spiriTrust ilous, and that sometimes I am left in tual, but not in the sense of “out of in the Lord need of support and identity. touch with reality”: Mary’s self-questionforever! At the present time, I am discovering ing, her silence, her attentiveness... her acceptance of God’s will. For the Lord an invitation to focus on the essential. Certain holy Brothers whom I have is an eternal I love moments of silence: to be there, to be, to welcome, to give freely, to known have also reinforced the role that Rock. give without procrastination. In my faith exercises as a challenging force. Is 26,4 personal life plan, I ask of God, “Grant These Brothers say that Marist spirituality that the daily events of my life may beis a way of living that includes community, simplicity, relationships, availability to Brothers, come a unified life in love.” I think that this to humanity... They tell me that everything which is prayer calls me to honor life as a way of honoring profoundly human has a divine character. I readily God. Such an approach implies finding a fullness of admit the difficulties which I encounter along this meaning in that which I am doing, in that which I journey of life. I have experienced times when I am experiencing, as response to the will of God have gone forward and times when I have gone who gives me life in abundance. I would like to backwards, the darkness, the light, my beliefs and situate the essence of life in love. my want of faith, the moments when God is present, At certain moments, I think that a life given for the moments when God is absent; the ambiguities of the sake of others has no need of reward or of life, of experiences, of people... at times become an heaven. In my most recent personal life plan, I aspect of my questions about God. I find it truly dif- found myself writing the following prayer, “May ficult to go beyond life, beyond reality, to touch the there now grow within me: the sense of each day’s worth, an ability to admire, creativity in serving transcendent dimension. Sometimes I find it hard to develop within myself others, love of life, a smile for my confrere, a unitthe disposition of heart needed to perceive God’s ing of my life with that of your Gospel.”
Br. AFONSO MURAD Brasil Centro-Norte
Mary is also our sister A reflection inspired by the document “Water from the Rock”
or Brothers and Lay Marists, Mary is known as the teacher of Jesus and as the Good Mother to whom we have recourse with confidence. Water from the Rock completes and enriches this undisputed characteristic of our spirituality with other equally important specific features. Mary is called our sister and first disciple of Jesus and, as a result, is the person to whom we refer. Water from the Rock maintains that the Marist way of living Christian spirituality, coming from the witness of Marcellin, consists of regarding Mary as our model of living. This is the backbone running through the four chapters and the conclusion of the document. To follow Jesus in Mary’s way is a privileged way of living the Christian life. What is it that differentiates an exaggerated and sterile Marian ‘devotion’ from a legitimate relationship with Mary? The centrality of Jesus is what accurately forms the connection between the biblical figure of Mary of Nazareth and the glorified Mary. In this sense, “Water from the Rock” reflects a legitimate and well balanced Christian spirituality. The document always starts with Jesus. It recalls that to make Jesus known and loved is the meaning of our vocation and the aim of the Institute. From this comes the centrality of Jesus in our life and mission (WfR #19). Our spirituality draws us to deepen our relationship with Christ and in trust to give ourselves in service in community life and mission (#90). Like Jesus we
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doubts, like Mary at the Annunciation. Yet, in each moment of our search God remains faithful and always present, continually inviting us to see our lives through God’s eyes (#61). Mary welcomes the Word of God with a generous yes (#53, #68), renewed each day. In her condition of ‘apprentice’, she gives all her attention to understanding the meaning of events. Thus, like Mary, who ponders events in her heart, we are constantly alert to the signs of the times, to the calls of the Church, and to the needs of youth (#75). Confirmed in her vocation, Mary feels herself impelled to leave home and to serve Elizabeth. A sensitive and compassionate disciple, she goes in haste to announce the good news of a God who loves. Thus she shows us the direction of our apostolate: that we are to meet others where they are (#5, #76, #77, #131, #133).
recognize the urgings of the Spirit, calling us to witness to this Good News (#124). As apostles we passionately centre our lives on Jesus. We allow ourselves to be No, the Lord captivated by him and his Gospel. Close to him, we want to form is my secure height, our hearts. Learning from him the my God, ways of the Kingdom, we commuthe rock where nicate his message and his way of I find refuge. being and acting through our presence, our words and our Ps 94,22 deeds (#135).
Mary’s canticle, the Magnificat, points out several features of a contemporary spirituality: to accept joyfully the marvelous gifts God gives us (#61, #68); to dream of a just and sustainable society, living in solidarity, and to commit oneself towards it (#122); to bring to young people news of the justice and faithful mercy of the
For another thing, Water from the Rock places the accent on the Marial aspects of our spirituality. It affirms literally that, since their foundation, the Marists have had a growing relationship with Mary, their sister in the faith (#29). In what follows, we take up again some of the biblical traits of Mary signaled by the document. Mary walked in faith; she was a woman with her feet on the ground. At the Annunciation she was not at all certain. She was a woman challenged to trust in God without knowing all the answers (#29). She trusts and commits herself to a God who inspires a total trust (#51). It is the same for us. Sometimes we struggle with our fears and
Br. AFONSO MURAD Mary is also our sister
Your mother was like a vine planted by the water; Fruitful and branchy was she because of the abundant water. Ez 19,10
Lord (#27); to put into practice preferential love for the most impoverished (#151, #156). At the marriage of Cana, Mary is sensitive to the needs of the persons and, with discretion, intervenes to resolve the situation. She encourages us to exercise authority in a spirit of service to our community, and demonstrates that our actions can spark an increase in the faith of others (#113). Water from the Rock justly places in relief Mary’s role as the Good Mother who, close to Jesus, intercedes for Christians. Following the example of Champagnat and the first Brothers, Marists today foster a loving and filial relationship towards her (#4, #7, #25). They believe that the mission of the Institute is a sharing in Mary’s mission: to bring the Christ-life to birth and be with the Church as it comes to be born (#11). They know that she continues to watch over the development and the identity of the Marist work (#12). This relationship with Mary also makes possible the creation of a community of brothers and sisters enjoying the same dignity, and inspires the building of a ‘Church community’ with the characteristics of a mother (#10, #31, #98, #114). In this perspective, which integrates the multiple aspects of Mary as disciple, sister, teacher and mother, Water from the Rock finishes with a beautiful prayer (#156). The way the document Water from the Rock looks at Mary combines traditional aspects with a present-day, pluralist and ecumenical vision of the mother of Jesus. There is there a rediscovery of the image of Mary of Nazareth as a pilgrim in the faith, a human person close to us. The document joins the biblical figure with the devotional one, which is of enormous value for contemporary Marist spirituality in dialogue with the modern world.
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Br. JAUME PARÉS CASELLAS L’Hermitage
Which flows in the tradition of Marcellin
he spirituality we inherit from Marcellin Champagnat is Marial and apostolic.”(C 7). Our Constitutions express clearly and definitively that our Marist spirituality emanates from our Founder himself.
God has validated the experience and life of Marcellin Champagnat which gives to the Church a unique style of spirituality life, with which the first Brothers were saturated. The same spirituality has been brought to us through the lives of so many men and women who have made it part of their own lives. This spirituality has also been elaborated and deepened through writings; above all through the circulars of our Superiors General and through Chapter documents.
And all drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank from a spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was the Christ. 1 Co 10,4
It is within this same spirit that we should place the document, Water from the Rock, which we well know came from a mandate of the XX General Chapter to the General Council: this document “must take into account the principal characteristics of our spirituality: the marial aspect and the apostolic aspect”.1 This document is meant to help systematize and deepen Marist spirituality in the language of today and for today. The International Commission has taken this challenge upon itself. This title itself, it suggests a very intimate relationship with elements of our tradition, it adds the subtitle: “Marist Spirituality which flows from the tradition of Marcellin Champagnat”. It remained clear from the start that this proposal was inspired by Champagnat, the idea that Brother Seán emphasized in the statement: “that spirituality had at its heart Marcellin’s own experience of being loved by Jesus and called by Mary” 2, and the International Commission reaffirms by stating: “Marcellin was gifted with a profound relationship with Jesus and Mary. Our spirituality began with this gift.” 3 1
Marcellin and his experience of God is the thread which holds this document together - it is cited more than 190 times. But over and above this explicit citation, we see how the intention is to outline
XX General Chapter “Choose life” 48.1 Water from the rock, p. 9 Water from the rock, p. 15
BR. JAUME PARÉS CASELLAS Which flows in the tradition of Marcellin
But as for cowards, the unfaithful, the depraved, murderers, the unchaste, sorcerers, idol-worshipers, and deceivers of every sort, their lot is in the burning pool of fire and sulfur, which is the second death. Ap 21,8
Water from the rock, #6 Water from the rock, #12 6 Water from the rock, #15 Water from the rock, #9, #10 8 Life, 2nd Part, chapter VI, p. 341 9 Water from the Rock, p. 15 5
the intimate connection between the lived experience of the Founder and the proposal of a Marist spirituality for today. This idea is very explicitly stated in the first chapter. Some examples are: “In time their way of living the Gospel became a reflection of the character and values of the person who inspired them, Marcellin Champagnat.”4 – “The Marist spirituality that originated with Marcellin and the founding community has been enriched by the successive generations of Champagnat’s followers. It has now become a stream of living water.” 5 – “We are inspired by the vision and lives of Marcellin and his first disciples as we journey to God.” 6 A very interesting element in the document Water from the Rock is the way that Marcellin Champagnat is appropriately presented not as an isolated individual; he is presented in the context of his time and within the framework of the proposed project of the Society of Mary.7 Not by himself, but always in relationship with the foundational community. Marcellin and the first Brothers are those who embody and transmit Marist spirituality, giving shape to the characteristics which are gathered together in numbers 15 to 41 of the document. These “rivers of living water that flow” from the heart of Marist believer, are the characteristics of the manner in which Marists of today continue to follow Champagnat and the first Brothers. The experience of faith, the way of living fraternally, the commitment to mission (Chapters 2, 3 and 4) define and make real the face of Marist spirituality with elements intimately connected with Champagnat: – The icon of the Annunciation as an example of the pilgrimage of faith, connects us with Mary, who inspired Marcellin to live his own journey of faith. – The centrality of brotherhood lived by Champagnat and the first Brothers, - imaged by the table at Lavalla - that remains forever; mentioned in the Spiritual Testament citing the words of Jesus about the new commandment (John 13: 34-35) – The special characteristic of the Marist mission, defined by Marcellin as: “to make Jesus Christ known and loved” 8 All of this allows us to affirm that effectively, at this time of attempting to give shape to the outline of Marist spirituality, the document Water from the Rock finds in Marcellin Champagnat and the first Brothers the direct source of its inspiration. With the International Commission we are able to affirm: “We live out this Christian spirituality in a distinctive Marial and apostolic way. It is an incarnated spirituality springing up in Marcellin Champagnat. It developed with the first Brothers who handed it on to us as a precious inheritance.” 9
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Br. GIOVANNI M. BIGOTTO Postulator General
Our Saints and Marist Spirituality
ince the appearance, in June 2007, of the book Water from the Rock, in which we have attempted to capture the main characteristics and nuances of Marist spirituality in writing, I have often had the idea of applying this book to the lives of our saints. In the universe of spirituality, we can speak of two poles.
The first consists of Father Champagnat and the group of the first Brothers at La Valla, then at the Hermitage. This was the moment when our spirituality germinated and slowly took form, taking on more and more of the traits which were to become characteristic. This pole is at the same time a mirror and a source. A mirror because the Brothers of succeeding generations have always looked back to the beginnings in order to verify their own identity. A source because Marcellin and the first Brothers are not only in the past but in the heart, in the thought, in the life, and in the prayer of the Brothers and Lay Marists today. They are in the heart as a presence and dynamic affective force, like a healthy challenge to safeguard the quality of the Marist identity. This is strongly felt by those who make a pilgrimage to the Hermitage: one becomes well aware that one is at the source, that Father Champagnat inhabits these places, that the cemetery at the end of the garden contains our beginnings. The chapel draws us and we kneel before the reliquary which contains Marcellin’s remains and we pray at the tomb of Br. François. It was with this Brother that the Hermitage became more explicitly ‘a Marist sanctuary’. Br. François was the one who said: “The whole house of Notre-Dame de l’Hermitage can be considered as the grand Reliquary of venerable Father Champagnat. He was the one who built it. He lived there for 16 years. Everything in it speaks of him, for he put his hand to everything, and directed it all.” Brother François wanted this place to remain holy : “I desire that this place (l’Hermitage) remain pure and holy… My intention is that, if the Brothers come to stray from perfection, this place may always be blessed and subsist as the mirror
Take the staff and assemble the community, you and your brother Aaron, and in their presence order the rock to yield its waters. From the rock you shall bring forth water for the community and their livestock to drink. Nm 20, 8
Br. GIOVANNI M. BIGOTTO Our Saints and Marist Spirituality and model of the whole Institute, like a sort of chandelier before the throne of God and before the altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary. My children, take good care not to abandon this place… for it is holy ; it is the dwelling place of Jesus Christ and of the Blessed Virgin Mary his Mother. It is here that the Lord multiplied us when we were small in number; for that reason have a great veneration for this place. Here, the one who prays devoutly will obtain what he asks.” Basilio was on the same track when he relaunched the Hermitage as a sanctuary and a place of researching our identity. Sean and his Council follow the same path in wishing to renovate the whole house of the Hermitage. Every Marist who visits the Hermitage becomes young in soul again, in communion with the enthusiasm of our beginnings. It is as if, in the first years of our adventure, the Spirit was more at work, precisely to produce in the Church a new identity and a new spirit. We relive the same ambience as in the first chapters of the Acts of the Apostles : the newness, the freshness and the force of the spring. From these beginnings, we should still better bring to light and better integrate in ourselves the biographies of the first Brothers. In them also we read the newness of the origins of our spirituality. The other pole is precisely the book Water from the Rock. The life of the beginnings and the years that have followed, through the different generations, has found expression in writing, in the Constitutions first of all, and then in Water from the Rock. But this writing is still fidelity to Marcellin and to the first Brothers. We become aware that our spirituality may be extricated from the straight-jacket of a hectic and confused life and that the Marist soul may plainly appear to us. This book is in its turn a mirror and a source. A mirror because I can go to it to find my identity in its richness, and according to the words of Saint Peter : “I will know how to give an account of my way of life ! “. A source because in reading and meditating on Water from the Rock, the Brother, the Lay Marist, communities, Provinces can renew themselves ; they can drink at the spiritual springs which the Spirit has opened in the origins of our family. Thus, the two poles resemble each other and vivify each other.
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But, between these two poles there is the life of the Brothers and lay people ; the life animated by the spirituality. This is not something static, it accompanies and gives dynamism to each generation of Brothers, and to each Brother and Lay Marist. We can almost say that Marist spirituality is no longer especially at the Hermitage, still less in the book Water from the Rock. It is first of all in the life, in the work, in the prayers of Brothers and Lay Marists, communities and Provinces. The river which flows from the source is larger than the source. The spirituality - which animates our prayers, our meals, the welcome given to pupils, parents, friends, the apostolate in general - is much richer, more vigorous, nuanced than any book which tries to describe it. Because our spirituality is so deep in us, it appears in whatever we do. The Hermitage and Water from the Rock are meaningless unless the Brothers are living their Basilio, our martyrs: Lycarion, Bernardo, Lauspirituality, unless they have ‘inside and under the rentino…and Chris Mannion, Servando, Joche Alskin’ the DNA of Marcellin and the first Brothers. bert… it is easy to show how our spirituality enOn one side, the assimilation of the Marist DNA ergized them and how in them it blossomed for takes place almost by itself, in the houses of for- the good of many and first of all for the good of our religious family. mation and from the fact of living together : one generation Many Brothers have incarnated transmits to the next the Marist Everyone in a marvellous way the Marist values. When one reads the biowho listens to style and spirituality. Every graphies of the Brothers of the these words of mine Province cherishes the memory third and fourth generations, and acts on them of certain Brothers in whom we from 1890 to 1900, one rediswill be like see ourselves more fully realcovers the characteristics of our ized because of their intimacy spirituality integrated and reina wise man with God and the dynamism forced, and that is the same in who built his house which resulted from this. But the Brothers who follow. In adon rock. those whose causes we have dition, in each one of us, the Mt 7,24 opened offer the advantage of Spirit provides this spirituality having had their lives scrutiwith a personal face, a particunized from close up, in detail, lar colouring, a dynamism differing from Brother to Brother, from lay person to illuminated by many witnesses, ending in books, lay person. As one says, and this is true even in in such a way that it is easier to rediscover a our Marist Family, ‘God knows how to count only good image of what we mean by ‘Marist Brother’. We can verify it by looking at the pillars of our up to one ! ‘ spirituality : Jesus, Mary, Marcellin, the special Thus, between the two poles of Marist spirituali- Marist virtues, etc. We will be surprised by the ty, the source and the book, there is this lived fact that many among them anticipated our own spirituality, with its emphases as well as its nu- way of formulating the spirituality, sometimes ances. If we look at those Brothers, whom we saying word for word what Water from the Rock call more especially our models: François, Alfano, makes clear.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT OF HOW DO YOU SEE IT EXPRESSED IN Of all the aspects of Marist Spirituality we have chosen ‘family spirit’ as the most important, precisely because our vocation has been to form a family and unite with others in the spirit of: simplicity and humility…. In the chapter ‘As Brothers and Sisters’, from Water from the Rock, we see reflected in a clear and simple way those aspects which we are trying to live out as much within our own small family community as with our fraternal relationships within the Marist
family and, as Christians, with everyone else. “By giving and receiving love, we are challenged to fight our tendency to individualism, self-preoccupation and diminishing generosity. The building up of family spirit is demanding. We need to be present to others: attentive to them, able to listen, and give of our time. In this area, young and old are equal since, in the gift of self, one does not age.”(#108)
JOSÉ IGNACIO and MAYTE Ibérica
The most important aspect of Marist Spirituality in my life is the way it leads me to contemplate like Mary. Marist community provides an ideal venue for such contemplation. It brings together Brothers who have similar aspirations and who offer deep compassion, as together we embark on our daily ministry of evangelisation. It is understandable therefore, that Water from the Rock describes Marist community as a ‘sacred space’ (#141) where we can live eucharistically ‘gathered, blessed, broken and shared’ (#86).)
Br. JOHN McMAHON
MARIST SPIRITUALITY IN YOUR LIFE? “WATER FROM THE ROCK ”?
What is most important in Marist spirituality from my point of view is Champagnat DYNAMISM. I find this dynamism present in all the documents and in recent circulars that have been helping us understand more about our identity. In such sources I find attitudes, like courage, simplicity, humility... qualities that arise when one follows Champagnat: quite a daring man, a man who loved his little brothers more than anything else. Our Constitutions present us with these sorts of marvelous features drawn from our spirituality - despite many ineffectual Statutes! Since the appearance of Water from the Rock, I have been consciously giving my preference to the text, because I feel strongly challenged by what it has to say about Champagnat, Mary, the community and its mission, Marist laity, our dreams.
BR. EDWARD BLONDEEL
In my life there are two aspects of Marist spirituality which are essential: the presence of Mary and the community dimension. Water from the Rock, with its clear and
profound language, helps in the better understanding of these dimensions and their consequences for the life of the person who wants to take on Marist spirituality as a way of living out his or her baptism. Champagnat wants us to form
communities of mission and to live there as brothers, with Mary as our ‘ordinary resource’. In this sense, Water from the Rock imbues us with the sense of Marcellin’s Marial and apostolic spirituality, and impels us towards a new way of acting.
ADALGISA OLIVEIRA GONÇALVES Brasil Centro-Sul
Br. HORACIO D. MAGALDI Cruz del Sur
My encounter with “Water from the rock ” My safety and glory are with God, my strong rock and refuge. Ps 62,8
want to tell you what most delighted me in my encounter with Water from the Rock or simply detail some precious pearls of wisdom I discovered. ■ I enjoyed this retelling of the life of Champagnat and of his special relationship with the Mother of the Lord (Part One), gleaning from it, without forcing the point, the basic traits of our spirituality. The commission succeeded in doing so, cohesively and without getting too anecdotal. After the first part, the document continues to reward us with more well-founded parallels. (e.g. WfR #51 & #52). ■ “For us Jesus is the human face of God.” (#20) This statement, taken from Col. 1:15 can be an important guidepost when we wish to deepen our searching and, why not, also purify whatever it is we worship. ■ The document of the XIX General Chapter has been recovered exactly and at an opportune moment has been brought into the present. (# 64, #73-#76) ■ Regarding Mary and ourselves, # 27 says: “We go without delay into the ‘hill country’ of the lives of young people, bringing them news of the justice and faithful mercy of God. By relating to young people in a Marial manner, we become the face of Mary to them”. How beautifully expressed! How true it is to say that young people are in the ‘hill country’ and that we have to go to them promptly! It awakens in me the desire to do so. Number 29 presents Mary as the “First Disciple”. “Sister in Faith, a woman with dust on her feet, a woman
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new experiences. For this reason they can be who was disturbed and puzzled by God, who the conduit for unexpected appearances of the was challenged to trust and give without knowHoly Spirit. ing all the answers, whose faith life was a journey”. Through these few lines, don’t we see in her the essential traits of Marist apos- ■ “Marist spirituality, being apostolic, is lived tolic spirituality? out on mission” (#124). I value this statement, as I do the explanation of what it im■ I think one of my favorite pearls is found in arplies (#124-#129), via precise choice of words ticles 78 and 79. They describe the various and fitting commentary that show the origimeans the Brothers have used to nourish their nality of the concept. spiritual life throughout our history. And then they give congregational endorsement to some ■ Finally, I found the questions at the end of basic ways in which the Broththe document, provided to ers of our time seek life. These guide dialogue and group reflecAnyone two articles serve as an intertion, to be very well directed to who gives you pretative hinge appropriately value the experience of each joining the ways of ‘yesterday’ a cup of water to drink one; they are down-to-earth and with the new things of ‘today’. I believe they will very much fabecause you belong cilitate the richness of sharing. to Christ, amen, ■ There are symbols familiar in I say to you, our tradition. I can truly reFor the sake of honesty and balwill surely visit “the table at La Valla” ance, I would also like to (#91, #92), “the Hermitage” humbly point out places where not lose his reward. (#17, #100, #101), “brother the document seems to be Mk 9,41 and sister” (#31, #119-#121, awaiting perhaps some future #138, #139) in the context of tappings into this blessed Rock. recounting our spirituality. We know that sym- On saying this, I am well aware that it must be a bols are ambiguous. When they touch our con- joint effort on the part of all of us who consider sciousness deeply they connect us freely with ourselves Marists at heart.
Br. HORACIO D. MAGALDI My encounter with “Water from he Rock” How little consideration of the historic Jesus and his work does our Marist Apostolic Spirituality have! About Mary and Champagnat, volumes. But about Jesus? For example, in #20… and then the reflection goes off in other directions. I feel that in this the document is being faithful to our actual reality and sensibilities. Perhaps the fact is that we don’t feel totally at ease with Jesus Christ in our culture of prayer, if it is not Bethlehem and the Cross. In our schools we have persons who are ardent devotees of the Good Mother and of Marcellin. But passionate about Jesus?... What might this indicate?... What I found least inspiring and motivating was the conclusion of the document, “Seeing new visions, dreaming new dreams”. If we end up imagining nothing more than ‘our dreams’ then the spring has dried up. It seems as if, in confronting the theme, the authors’ inspiration has dried up. All that has to be said appears in but a single number (#155) which consists of only three paragraphs. The repeated idea is that the dream would be to “to reach out to” (the
poor, youth, intercultural and interreligious dialogue). It sounds like a goal for mission, more than referring to spirituality. And in the final paragraph it is not clear what relationship exists between what is said about Marcellin and that to which we commit ourselves to “actively engage” in. Naturally, reading the document caused me to question and obliges me to consider my own “dreams”.
In summary Cfr. Maristas Cruz del Sur n. 9 julio 2008, p. 60-64 ¿Qué encontré en el documento “Agua de la roca”?
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I believe we should rejoice that our Marist congregation has brought this document to light; it is a sign of our maturity. We owe our sincere gratitude to those who have gifted us through their efforts. Surely it will be as they wished: “a companion for our spiritual journeys”. And may it also “be reflected upon and worked with”… “a path leading us to streams of living water” (Introduction).
ROCÍO ZAMORA BARQUERO América Central
Marist Spirituality in my Christian life
y work as an educator got under way thirteen years ago. I had, yes, heard of a ‘Marist College,’ but of the Marist Brothers never, even less of their Founder. I remember how, when I came to Marist College and was spending my first days there, I used to wonder: who might be that gentleman whose picture I see in all the classrooms? With the passage of time, and helped by my lay colleagues and by the Brothers, I have now come to learn about the charism of Saint Marcellin Champagnat and Marist spirituality. Looking back upon my life, I may attest, without fear of contradiction, that my life as a Christian has been marked by a ‘before’ and ‘after’ in being Marist. As the years pass I grasp more clearly that Marist spirituality, inspired by the tradition of Saint Marcellin, has shaped my manner of living, and ultimately my way of relating to other people.
I will be standing there in front of you on the rock in Horeb. Strike the rock, and the water will flow from it for the people to drink.” This Moses did, in the presence of the elders of Israel. Ex 17, 6
This passion for God, this compassion for others, along with other distinctive characteristics which form the basis of Marist spirituality have helped me to discover the presence of God more frequently in persons and in the events of life. I have found ways to exercise greater confidence in God, in his providence and his mercy, to feel more deeply loved by God, and to understand that he calls us to serve, and that he has need of us as instruments in building his Kingdom. I understand that God invites us not only to slake our thirst at the Streams of Living Water, but to become ourselves streams of living water for others. God asks us to be more attentive to the needs of others, to evangelize not merely through our words but also through our actions, and to walk with others along the pathways of faith.
ROCĂ?O ZAMORA BARQUERO Marist Spirituality in my Christian life
Marist spirituality has also helped me to approach Mary more frequently, to love and admire her as a example: Mary, the First Disciple of Christ. Marist spirituality has helped me too in prayer, not only prayer for myself but for others as well; in getting me to read the Word of God more regularly; in helping me understand that God enters our lives in multiple ways, ways that are frequently inexplicable; yes, in understanding that he brings to perfection everything that he does, because his love in infinite.
That one is like a person building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when the flood came, the river burst against that house but could not shake it because it had been well built. Lk 6,48
May our Savior, who is rich in goodness, bless all of us abundantly, may he grant us the gift of being transformed into streams of living water for others, thereby multiplying the work of our holy Founder, Marcellin Champagnat.
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NOVITIATE OF LOMERI Fiji
As young Brothers beginning your Marist life and mission What in “Water from the Rock” gives you passion for your commitment?
or us ‘Water from the Rock’ is a beautiful reflective book that takes us to the heart of Marist Spirituality and gives us passion for our commitment “to make Jesus known and loved” as Mary did. It shows well how Marcellin Champagnat and the first Brothers lived in simplicity, and related to God and to others. In this way it encourages us to Brothers who are open-hearted in our relationships, active in our apostolic mission and enlivened in our spirituality.
The way it talks about crossing religious and cultural borders reminds us to seek the same dignity for all: human rights, justice and peace.
Standing left to right: Robert Ek (PNG), Oscar Irebake (PNG), Blaise Jai (PNG), Valentin Samsam (Vanuatu), Br Dennis Cooper, Br Herman Boyek, Ezrah Kapin (PNG), Borerei Katarake (Kiribati), Br Bernard McGrath Front: Desmond Sawai (PNG), Amberoti Nantei (Kiribati) Renaud Tsione (Vanuatu), Bonaventure Tolack (Vanuatu) Charles Tavore (PNG), Ueanimatang Kimaere (Kiribati) Absent: Br Bertrand Webster
The section on Family Spirit in the life-style of our early Brothers, “united in heart and mind” inspires us to commitment to formation and discernment as Brothers through our efforts in community living. The book stirs us to seek our Brothers’ help to deeply explore the inner self, in daily prayer, study and work. It feels like it is personally directed.
I Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war. Ps 144,1
NOVITIATE OF LOMERI As young Brothers beginning your Marist life and mission
The most passionate part is chapter 4, ‘Bringing Good News to the Poor’ which shows what being ‘a Brother’ to others means. We know that this is not easy but we strive to live it. The book has just the right level of detail for people like us starting this journey into Marist life. We are applying the reflections in our Champagnat and Marial prayer. It is a great resource for spiritual insights and understanding Marist tradition, thus helping us to discern well about becoming Brothers.
And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because he is a disciple, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward. Mt 10,42
The pictures in the book make us aware of many situations, e.g. people looking happy, smiling, while others are sad and worried. Showing the different faces led to reflection on past experiences, reminding us of our happiest and hardest moments.
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SPIRITUAL FORMATION TEAM Sydney
A simple story indeed
Spiritual Formation Team, Sydney: (from left to the right) Tony Clarke, Br. Robert O'Connor, Br. Graham Neist, Carole Wark, Br. Michael Flanagan and Br. Michael Callinan.
The story of our spirituality is indeed a simple one. It is a story of women and men who find within a thirst that only God can quench. Having drunk deeply, they find themselves filled with Jesus’ own desire – to give flesh to God’s Good News. Moved by the Spirit, urged by God’s own longing to bring life to the world, we become streams of living water. Water from the Rock, #43
here is a rock at the very heart of Australia. It is a very large and very unique, deep red colour — as a heart should be. It is sacred to indigenous Australian people and a holy grace to all those who feel touched by the spirit of our land. It is called ‘Uluru’. In very special times, when rain comes to the desert, we receive “water from the rock” and the desert is transformed and becomes abundantly alive.
He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: It fears not the heat when it comes, its leaves stay green; In the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit. Jr 17, 8
The story of our spirituality is indeed a simple one It is in such simple beauty and mystery that the text of Marist spirituality first connects with many Marists, both lay people and Brothers. In the beauty of the presentation, the richness of the wonderful images, the accessibility of the language and the spirit of the meanings for Marist life, many Marists feel drawn into a deep appreciation and celebration of their life and vocation.
SPIRITUAL FORMATION TEAM A simple story indeed
It is a story of women and men who find within the thirst that only God can quench Many social commentators have pointed out that we live in times where there is a deep hunger and thirst for spirituality and meaning.
He split the rock and water gushed forth; it flowed through the desert like a river.
We find this to be very true of many of those who share ministry in our Province. We have found that people are keen to hear about and understand our spirituality as it is outlined in Water from the Rock. The majority find it easier to access the spirituality through the windows of personal life (chapter 2), building community (chapter 3) or being alive in mission (chapter 4).
A number of Brothers and lay Marists have commented that the text “tells their story” or “speaks of their experience”. Many state that it “captures so much of what I am feeling” or that their “lived experience of a journey in faith is reflected in the pages”.
Through retreats, half day and full day programs, Brothers and lay people have engaged in reflection, dialogue, prayer and liturgy based on Water from the Rock. So far we have concentrated on looking at the text as a whole, but in future we could focus on a particular chapter each year and also try to develop some programs using an approach based on an integration of Water from the Rock and In the Footsteps of Marcellin Champagnat. A good number of those in our programs have mentioned how they feel the spirituality of Water from the Rock informs and enriches the vision and practice outlined in In the Footsteps of Marcellin Champagnat.
Having drunk deeply People have used the Water from the Rock book in many different ways. We have mentioned its use in the formation programs. Besides this, many Marist communities and staffs have used it for community prayer and reflection. Individuals have used it for recollection and personal prayer, and Boards and Commissions have used it to review their commitments and actions. Sections from Water from the Rock have been used in staff prayer, reflection and prayer with students and student leaders.
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level of nice spiritual thoughts. But true to the claims of the spirituality, people are lead quite naturally to a desire to enflesh Jesus into our world today, in the way of Mary. More and more Marists are realising it is not enough to speak of Jesus, but rather that we must live in ways that make Jesus present to and in our world today. One of the challenges of the future is to find ways that will allow this desire to move to the next stage – public commitment and lived expression. We find that the text invites people to meditate on their own lives and to identify God’s action within their lives. The theology is very workable, an encouraging theology, beginning with the heart and leading to reflection on vocation and following in the way of Mary. In reflecting and meditating on God’s relationship with Mary and Marcellin, people have found insights and inspiration for their own faith lives.
Urged by God’s own longing to bring life to the world, we become streams of living water As we are able to engage more and more people in dialogue and action around Marist spirituality and our following of Marcellin, the richness of our Marist vocation becomes clearer.
Often people speak of being nourished by the text, and that they find day to day encouragement and challenge. They like that the text is rooted in the reality of their lives and that the ‘incarnational’ basis of Marist spirituality is emphasised so often. We believe there is so much in the text that we will continue to be able to use Water from the Rock for many years to come, as long as we can imagine creative ways to connect the text with people’s lives.
They find themselves filled with Jesus’ own desire to give flesh to God’s Good News While the word ‘apostolic’ has not been emphasised in the title of the text, a very interesting aspect of working the text with people is how the desire to be apostles is developing in Marists today. It would be understandable, if sad, if the text of Water from the Rock simply stayed at the
It would be enough to have our thirst quenched by God and to be given the gift of life-giving water. But we are invited and graced for more. We are to become streams of living water, especially for young people, especially for those most neglected and excluded. It is in this area that the real challenges for ‘ongoing formation in Marist Spirituality’ stand out – filled with faith, how will we continue to live and re-imagine Marcellin’s dream in our time and place?
HOW DOES “WATER FROM THE ROCK” Br. SEBASTIÃO ANTONIO FERRARINI Amazônia
Water from the Rock is a beautiful text, light, familiar, through which the soul of Marcellin appears. It inspires praise, thanksgiving, involvement in solidarity. I feel that it fills a gap in our spirituality; for myself, it has quenched my thirst. There are words and images which invite us to be persons of God so that we become persons of community, prophets in a challenging world.
Water from the Rock has brought to our notice realities which should not be forgotten today in our apostolic and political action, such as Ecology . Marcellin’s spirituality, of which simplicity is one of its characteristics, is capable of proposing to the world dominated by consumerism and wastage on one side, and by misery on the other - a style of life which first looks at LIFE. Simplicity makes us more aware of solidarity and more capable of sharing.
I perceive this text as a breath of fresh air for the great Marist family. It’s a unique opportunity to realize the message of Marcellin. It’s a document full of life that proposes to us new ways of living the message of Jesus. It’s an opportunity of looking for new paths of growth moving closer toward children and young people. It’s a call to attend to our roots which at times we leave along the way because we fill ourselves with routines and sterile weariness. It’s a message of hope for the future. The truth is that it would be presumptuous to consider myself perfect and that all of the realities that the document presents I have assumed in my life. But yes I am certain that I intend to live according to this ‘Marist spirituality’. I feel deeply attracted by the figure of Mary. In my school I pray to her every day with my students and when the month of Mary arrives we’ve devised a simple form of “making her known and loved” as Marcellin said. For me, Water from the Rock is a road full of life.
FELICÍSIMO PÉREZ F. Compostela
QUENCH YOUR THIRST FOR SPIRITUALITY? It has helped me to grow in my identity as a Lay Marist, making me see the importance of transmitting the charism “in each place and moment of history” in the style of Mary. To find the “footsteps of God” in all events at times is not easy; as a doctor like me
it is especially difficult in front of the pain and suffering of the patients, but it is there where our prayer, which should come from life, restores to us this impulse to be instruments of God in each of our actions, struggling each day to confront adversities without becoming discouraged, like our Father Champagnat.
MARIA GABRIELA SANTANIELLO Norandina
Though the Water from the Rock is not the last word on the Marist Spirituality it is the encapsulation of the almost 200 years of the movement of the Holy Spirit, in our institute, that began with Fr. Champagnat. By the mere fact of been called to be a Marist Brother, this is one of the important sources to which God leads me. Moved by the Holy Spirit, in my study and reflection, my personal and community prayer, and sharing based on this document God provides me the nourishment that is appropriate for, the particular moment. Through this document, God either reminds me or renews me or invites me to begin a new life.
Br. NICHOLAS FERNANDO South Asia
MARY LUZ QUIROGA R. Santa María de los Andes
Jesus love us as we are but dreams each day that we are more like Him Two evils have my people done: they have forsaken me, the source of living waters; They have dug themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that hold no water. Jr 2,13
ince I gained the use of reason I have always regarded the little brothers of Mary with a great impatience to know the great mystery of their vocation in the service of children and young people. But also in their community life as well, perhaps because in general we lay people do not understand all the life and choices of religious until we share and live with them. I thank God for the opportunities he has placed in my way to be able to share community life with them. And to discover many of the things which Father Champagnat dreamed for his little brothers when he founded them. The first time they invited me to be part of a community in 2003 in Lake Titicaca in La Paz – Bolivia, the situation did not appear unfamiliar to me since I was known by two of the Brothers and that gave me confidence to launch into the adventure. An experience which allowed us to grow in confidence in God, through the adversity in which the country found itself, as well as the Aymara culture. We were intent on being faithful to the mission entrusted by Father Champagnat: “ To make Jesus Christ known and loved” . A second opportunity came in 2007 and 2008 in the community of Grajales in Santiago de Chile. In the beginning of my integration into the community, at the first moment of adaptation, fears and questionings came and went; as much on my part as on the community. Eventually there was a complementarity and feeling of belonging to the community.
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Two experiences which have profoundly marked my life as a Christian and lay Marist and which at the time I felt had been a mutual enriching of lay people and brothers sharing life and mission in community. This is why I believe that ‘community’ is a word holding a great mystery and at the same time a great challenge. Mystery because it is a place of exchange and growth in diversity (ages, cultures, etc.) and challenge because “we are accepted as we are…” - a rather complicated task, not always easy in the beginning but which invites us to the brotherhood of feeling at home.
deavor to live a simple life, marked with a particular stamp of family spirit.
As I said before, living in community is not alTo feel that each one is a support for the other, ways easy; it may require us to live in a continual that one complements the other, and at the same process of reconciliation, where each one makes time enriches the life of the community. To dis- him/herself bread for the other. Both from the cover in my brother the face of riches which are our older Brothers God, considering that everyday exwho give to us through their ways Come, periences are special places of enof being and the way in which counter with God. let us sing joyfully they were formed and through the young who are impatient to do to the Lord; In addition to being able to bring something new. It has taught me, cry out alive what one knows or has heard and me particularly, that Marcellin to the rock about the charism of Father Chamdreamed of his communities as pagnat, these experiences have special places for growing together of our salvation. challenged me to hold on with in feeling ourselves family, sharing Ps 95,1 greater strength to my vocation as a and celebrating our faith. Marist educator and my great passion in the service of children and young people. Furthermore, the power to tell Jesus every day how much one loves him, with the same passion Community life, between its highs and lows, lets that a Brother of 85 has offered him his work us discover our need for one another. “At the and his whole life for years. core of our being we desire to love and be loved. We long for belonging, solidarity, the chance to I feel myself very privileged and full of gratitude share our lives and the opportunity to change our for sharing the charism of our beloved Father circumstances. We unite to create families…Each Champagnat. That is why I find echoing in me family, group or community is uniquely marked by two little sentences which Br. Seán spoke on his visit to the Province: At the end of his Marist that which unites them”. (WfR #93). novitiate, a Brother should The richness which each community contains in – Be in love with Jesus and his gospel. hospitality, fraternity, work, life … and all in – Be a living image of Marcellin Champagnat. connection with the table, the table of la Valla, which today too is a great symbol of family and Today I dare to affirm that it is also so for all the service for the community which Marcellin lay people who share and live the Marist mission in dreamed of. A table which incarnates the en- the world. To be Champagnats today.
LINDA CORBEIL Canada
â€œWater from the Rockâ€?
a source of challenge!
Hezekiah fortified his city, and brought water into the midst of it; he tunnelled the sheer rock with iron and built pools for water. Si 48,17
or a start, I would like to mention that I, in company with my children, Anne, Catherine, Gabriel, and my husband Claude, received the book Water from the Rock when it was launched in the Marist Province of Canada. Each member of my family had the privilege of receiving a copy. The children were very happy with it. On reading the book, I immediately recognized the fundamental values which inspire the Marists whom I know and I rediscovered what I most appreciate in the Marist world, a spirituality of a great humanity and beautiful simplicity. This book recalls to me the essentials of Marist spirituality, its characteristics and its fundamental features which guide the Brothers and Lay Marists who wish to carry out the Marist mission under the inspiration of the charism of Marcellin Champagnat.
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The contents of this book help me to better I appreciate its format and its page setting out grasp the very essence of Marist spirituality and which make it a practical reference guide, easy to the values which we are invited to live in our use (‘user friendly’) and very accessible. The daily lives. Water from the Rock challenges me chosen images and photos allow as well a time for interiorisation: taken individin the different aspects of my ually, they are for me “an image life : my prayer life, my family Wild beasts for praying”. life, my life within the two Marist families to which I behonor me, long, my involvement in a jackals and ostriches, Briefly, as you can gather, this is a book which challenges me. And Marist work for children, etc. I For I put water with the last chapter, entitled appreciate each chapter and in the desert “ We dream new dreams” which each paragraph of the text, for and rivers they invite us to pray, to reflect opens on to the future, our and to share on the fundamental dreams, our visions, that underin the wasteland themes which bring us together, well the dynamism of the for my chosen people lines Brothers and Lay Marists. I have Marist Community for remaining to drink. had the opportunity of sharing vibrant in responding as best it Is 43,20 different passages from the text can to the needs of its time and and each of these occasions of for evolving in terms of the new sharing has led us to exchanging realities. our deepest convictions and to putting these convictions into practice in our daily lives. That is also one of the great riches of this book, promoting the sharing on fundamental values. Many passages also raise questions for me on the level of the challenges posed by Marist spirituality; challenges such as: to be listening to the needs of the poorest of our times, to make sure of a quality of communion and union with others, to forget oneself (gift of self) for the most deprived of our societies, etc.
BR. MARIO COLUSSI Soothern Africa
The image of God in “Water from the Rock” His heart is hard as stone; his flesh, as the lower millstone. Jb 41,16
uring the Ash Wednesday Holy Mass I attended earlier this morning, I was struck by the common Old Testament phrase describing God: Turn to the Lord your God again, for he is all tenderness and compassion… (Joel 2, 13).
In these days I have been re-reading Water from the Rock where the notion of compassion occurs repeatedly - not only our human compassion for those in need of relief from pain and want, but especially God’s compassion for us: For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life (John 3, 16). Marist spirituality – like all Christian spiritualities – is based on God’s great love for us, a God who loves us first, a love that is faithful, an unconditional love, a love that never ends: Give thanks to Yahweh, for he is good, for his faithful love lasts forever! (Repeatedly found in the OT) Marcellin Champagnat had a profound sense of this great love poured out on him, a sense that made him aware of the presence of God everywhere and at all times. It was this awareness of God’s presence and love in his own life that caused him to be profoundly moved by the Montagne event – that there were young people who had hardly any idea of God at all, still less of the
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divine presence and love in their lives. The event proved to be pivotal in Marcellin’s life. Within less than three months, he had already started a new community that was to become the nucleus of the Marist Brothers. Marcellin’s zeal and compassion for people were ultimately grounded in his realisation of the great love God had for everyone: I cannot see a child without wishing to tell him how much God loves him.
For our Founder, God is to be found both in the tranquillity of the Hermitage as well as in the noisy streets of Paris. No situation is foreign to God. Even at those times when we’ve not responded to God’s call to love him and our neighbour with all our heart and soul and mind and strength, God offers us his love and the grace of repentance, and gives us the strength to continue on our journey.
In my reading of Water from the Rock, it is the second chapter that most reveals the intensity of God’s love for us. No matter where we are or what we’ve done or what our present circumstances, we are assured of God’s loving presence. This Chapter reminds us that no matter what Dt phase of life we are in, despite any turbulence in our life’s journey, irrespective of the twists and turns it has taken, regardless of our present attitudes and feelings, God is always with us. Created in the image of God as we are, in our very living we men and women become an incarnation of God.
It is the realisation of God’s presence at all times, that generated his willingness to take all things in prayer to the Lord, never to undertake any major project without having prayed over it for a long time, and not to hesitate in asking God for great things. It is not surprising then, that when 8,7 Marcellin was approaching the end of his life’s journey, he urged his Brothers to remember the presence of God, and to love one another – for God is present in our community members. Our very fraternal love in community is a means of conveying the awareness of God and his love to others.
For the Lord, your God, is bringing you into a good country, a land with streams of water, with springs and fountains welling up in the hills and valleys.
HOW DOES “WATER FROM THE ROCK”
Every day, on opening Water from the Rock, I randomly choose a theme to read and meditate. The words can stimulate, nourish and strengthen me. In a way, cultivating our spirituality leads us to this dynamic,
to a movement of feelings and insights that at times reassure us and at others energize us. No doubt Water from the Rock forces me to recall that our Marist spirituality is apostolic, demanding I be proactive, giving my attention to the real problems of today’s children and
youth. In face of such a responsibility, I hope to remain at peace and keep my heart open to discern t he movements of the Spirit, allowing God to assume the leadership of my life, knowing that “if the Lord does not build the house, in vain do the builders labor”.
ALEXANDER GOULART Rio Grande do Sul
AGNES S. REYES East Asia
Prayerful reflections on Water from the Rock provide me an experience of constantly being in touch with the richness of the Marist spirituality. It deepens our identity with Mary and Marcellin, and draws us closer to an experience of loving Jesus more and more in our
daily lives. As companion to my spiritual journey, it provokes a yearning of wanting to know more and a longing to share the treasures of the Marist tradition. It is nourishing and inspiring me to actively work with the brothers in animating structures here in the Philippines that will sustain our on-going reflections on the document.
ENERGIZE YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE?
I have found Water from the Rock to be an affirmation of the spirituality that I have learned, lived, and experienced in my years as a Marist Brother. Part of its appeal for me is that it gives Brothers and lay Marists a ‘common language’ to use in our ongoing spiritual development.
While grounded in the spiritual heritage we have received from Father Champagnat and the early Brothers, Water from the Rock is a living spirituality which reflects the joys and challenges facing the world, the Church, and our Marist mission today.
Br. HANK HAMMER United States of America
To realize God’s love for me, to acknowledge that my sinfulness makes me unable to experience that love, and that only in Jesus Christ am I forgiven and made holy, bringing me to center my life in Him and to make Him known and loved. My personal prayer, based on slowly reading the texts of Water from the Rock, has helped me live a ‘disciple at Emmaus’ spirituality, trying in every personal encounter to experience Jesus, who walks with us and reveals to us the mystery of love and that, in the end, sets our hearts on fire and sends us out on mission. I know I am still on the way and that my spiritual life continues to be nourished and to deepen. The goal is clear: to belong to the Lord Jesus, for whom I have left behind whatever had been of value to me. Mary is my mother, my companion on the journey, and she encourages and protects me. Marcellin, the man passionate for God, is my model of compassion for others. I hope to touch young people by my life and actions, in such a way that they feel drawn to the Lord Jesus.
Gospel, in the mission which calls us in turn to live our vocation as consecrated religious or as laypersons, with the Water from the Rock same dream that continually awakens in Marcellin had. I feel a me the restlessness to restlessness and a follow the same life project of which Marcellin challenge in continuing Champagnat dreamed. It to live out this life, is deeply moving to know remaining always in the presence of the Holy that as we go on living Spirit; with Our Good as Marists, brothers and sisters, we are brought to Mother at our side, we a clearer sense of the call lack nothing; we need nothing more. to be committed to the
Br.LUIS FERNANDO VEGA Distrito de Paraguay
Br. LUIS DÁVALOS México Occidental
BR. ALPHONSE GAHIMA Afrique Centre-Est
Simplicity in the light of “Water from the Rock” When they thirsted they called upon thee, and water was given them out of flinty rock, and slaking of thirst from hard stone. Ws 11,4
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fresh reading of the guide Water from the Rock brings us into contact with one of the essential elements of our spirituality, namely simplicity. At the heart of Marist spirituality is humility. It is expressed in simplicity of behaviour, most especially in our way of relating to God and others’’ (WfR #33). Simplicity is a Marist legacy, a precious pearl from the Founder, handed on to us through his disciples.
This article, inspired by chapter one of ’Water from the Rock’, reflects on the virtue of simplicity which has characterised and shaped Marcellin’s disciples. Our reflections, reconstructs some basic social and theological elements that make simplicity a key component of every spirituality in general and of Marist spirituality in particular.
Even while contemporary society places a great deal of emphasis on security and on having the material, psychological and even spiritual resources to attain their goals (Wicks, 2000), people are becoming more aware of the need for inner simplicity. It is what the early monks of the desert, known as abbots and abbesses, called ‘purity of heart’. Simplicity allows us to be free to both enjoy and let go of all of life because we know there is more. We trust that God will provide us with what we need at each successive stage of life, even after we die (Wicks, 2000). An attitude of simplicity also allows us to receive and enjoy more of life than we would if we spent time focusing on getting our share. Simplicity transforms us from worried, preoccupied, and demanding individuals into grateful ‘receiving’ people. It is indeed a wonderful grace to embrace.
and being balanced. Simplicity is also a prerequisite for spiritual advancement.
At the heart of Marist spirituality is humility, expressed in simplicity (WfR #33). Humility is revealed in the way we speak to people, speaking a Great persons and saints in history (Blessed language that everyone understands. Simplicity Mother Teresa, St Vincent de Paul, Abbé Pierre, is a mental attitude that assumes many other qualities. It involves honesty, and St Marcellin Champagnat) consistency, truth, and modwere simple. They always esty which contribute to spoke their minds. For a simHe shall transparency, spontaneity and ple person, the outer life coindwell authenticity (Stockman, cides with the inner life. We 2008). St Vincent propheticomplicate ourselves by spliton the heights, cally stated that ’’simplicity is ting our personality. Inwardly, his stronghold realising that it is God who we are something but outshall be pulls us towards him, who wardly we are different bethe rocky fastness, guides us. God is most simple cause we mistakenly feel that or rather: he is simplicity itoutward patterns of behaviour his food self. Therefore, wherever simshould be different under difand drink plicity is, you meet God; and ferent circumstances. We are in steady supply. as the phrase goes: he who also not understood because Is 33,15-16 leads a simple life, follows his we are not simple and path with certitude’’ (Stockstraightforward in our way of man, 2008). According to communicating with others. Vincent de Paul, simplicity is Simplicity can be applied in all spheres of life, telling the truth, saying things as they are, withfood, dress, behaviour and interactions. How- out keeping silent or concealing things. ever, it does not equate with shyness, naivety, ignorance, irresponsibility or being unimpressive, The Marist characteristics of humility, simplicity childish and backward (Langar, 2009). It is not and modesty and especially the family spirit, are living on a shoestring. It is instead having a central in Marist life, mission and formation. clear conscience, being free of any ambiguity, These characteristics have always impacted on
BR. ALPHONSE GAHIMA Simplicity in the light of “Water from the Rock”
our mission and apostolic life. Indeed, most Brothers identified simplicity as the thing that most attracted them to Marist life, as have lay people and other Marist partners. Furthermore, simplicity in Marist mission has created an atmosphere of respect, attention, family spirit and dialogue. That is why Marist schools have been places of growth and places of choice for many where young people from all social, economic and cultural backgrounds can share brotherhood, ideas, knowledge and life experiences. We conclude that as Marist persons we have been blessed by an uncomplicated and down to earth spirituality (WfR #34) involving a simple lifestyle, communion with God, with others and with nature. This virtue has played a key part in the history of our Institute. Let us, ‘sons of Champagnat’ cherish the value of simplicity - for the spiritual advancement of Marist Brothers and partners and the attraction of more holy and simple Marist vocations to the Institute. May the Holy Spirit help us perpetuate this treasure for future generations of Marcellin’s disciples, Brothers and lay people.
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BR. RICHARD RAJAONARISON TIANA Madagascar
Political Dimension of Marcellinian Spirituality
was struck during the study of the document Water from the Rock (WfR) when I heard about the political dimension of the spirituality of Marcellin. We were listening to an explanation of the fourth chapter, “Bringing Good News to the Poor.” I had paid attention to the explanation of the three other chapters where I found new and interesting things. But this “political dimension of the spirituality of Marcellin” left me somewhat puzzled. I wanted to know the meaning of such statement. I do not hear such things every day. It is the very nature of the apostolic work that the Province has entrusted me in the high plateau of Horombe (Madagascar) that aroused my curiosity. Usually people are afraid of the word ‘politics’ and sometimes I have even heard that Religious and priests should not engage in politics. Finally I became aware that not only must they do it, but if they do not do it, they are not faithful to the Gospel mandate entrusted to them. How-
Then the Lord will guide you always and give you plenty even on the parched land. He will renew your strength, and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring whose water never fails. Is 55,11
BR. RICHARD RAJAONARISON TIANA Polítical dimension of Marcellinian Spirituality
ever, to understand this in the most correct way, we have first of all to define ‘politics’ in the most general sense of the term and take into account different levels of politics.
In fact, there is only one political level where consecrated Religious and priests should not be engaged according to canon law: that is, party politics. We can perfectly understand and accept this prohibition by the very nature of party politics: Food from heaven party politics leads to a policy that divides, while the you gave them essence of Religious and priests within the Church and in their hunger, society is to be creators and builders of communion.
water from a rock you sent them in their thirst. You bade them enter and occupy the land which you had sworn with upraised hand to give them.
Therefore, apart from party politics all the other levels of politics (voting, civic and political education of our students, advocacy of the human rights of all human beings [not forgetting children], promotion of justice and peace...) are necessary, and it is desirable that Religious and priests be actively engaged in such political activities.
In general terms “politics is all we do for the good of the community.” Taking into account this definition, I have begun to understand that there is a political dimension to the spirituality of Marcellin, as, indeed, in a broader way, there is a political dimension to Christian faith and apostolic work within the Church. One keeps ever in mind:
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The circles or levels that we may traditionally discover in the text Is 61: 1-2, Lk 4: 18 are: The SOCIAL level/circle: I was sent to proclaim good news to the poor; The POLITICAL level/circle: I was sent to proclaim to captives deliverance; The PHYSICAL level/circle: I was sent to proclaim to the blind the recovering of sight; The PSYCHOLOGICAL level/circle: I was sent to heal the broken of heart; The RELIGIOUS level/circle: I was sent to proclaim an acceptable year of the Lord.
all that we do has to be for the good of the civic community. Who could have any doubt that all the apostolic ministries of the Church and of the religious congregations are, in fact, for the common good, for the promotion and defence of human beings? In fact, our new book on Marist spirituality, without writing directly the words “political dimension of our spirituality,” refers several times to such dimension. Water from the Rock invites us to perceive the suffering of the world with “a spirituality of compassion and mission” (WfR #126); it also invites us to consider the calls of our time that strive for the same dignity for all: human rights, justice, peace, and equitable and responsible sharing of the planet’s wealth (see WfR #128). Indeed WfR #129 is even clearer: “Our compassionate response to the needs of the world wells up from our spirituality,“ a spirituality which immerses itself fully into what we call politics in general terms. Is not there a certainty of bettering the
world when we try to meet its needs with a spirituality of compassion and mission? However we could also reach this conclusion by another way: through the biblical text that introduces this chapter. The Commission has made the best choice to introduce the section on apostolic ministry because it is the choice that Christ himself made when he started his apostolic life. As well we can notice in this text what are usually called the “concentric circles of the mission.” To “proclaim freedom to the captives” is indeed a “political circle1.” Because of this political dimension of our spirituality, I feel doubly encouraged to continue my work in the highlands of Horombe. It is a question of freeing so many people, captives to ignorance as we announce to them the liberating power of education. This is, indeed, a ‘political’ message we are carrying forward through the seventeen schools that we have already founded. And there are still many more to be founded.
BR. JOHN KUSI West Africa
Living signs of the Father’s tenderness On the cliff he dwells and spends the night, on the spur of the cliff or the fortress. Jb 39,28
he above title is taken from number one hundred and thirtyseven (#137) of Water from the Rock (WfR). I have chosen this title because it speaks to my heart and inspires action. Before I proceed with this reflection, I would like to acknowledge with gratitude the good work done by the team who organised the Marist Spirituality workshop in Nairobi for Brothers and lay people. I am indebted to Brothers Teófilo, Mario, Pau and Christian for organising such an enriching workshop and also sharing so much of their experience with us. I was introduced, together with other Brothers from the Marist District of West Africa to
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Water from the Rock for the first time during our annual retreat this year, 2008 in Kumasi. I opened my eyes to the richness of the book. Then, again, I have learned more about the book also during the workshop on Marist Spirituality in Nairobi. The manner in which the book was presented sparked a fire in my heart and probably in the hearts of all the eighteen participants as well. I felt the same way as the disciples on the way to Emmaus (Luke 24:32). We were open to the strength and power of Marist Spirituality. At the end of the presentation one could not help but love the book, cherish it and treasure it. Water from the Rock is a gift from God to the In- ‘little Brother of Mary?’ What type of Gospel am I stitute; it is the greatest legacy we as Marist preaching to people with my life? Is my presence Brothers and Lay Marists have received. Thanks Good News to people around me? This number to Marcellin Champagnat and the first Brothers challenges me to reflect on my life, and it also who handed down this treasure to us. The docu- invites me to be Champagnat of my time. ment, Water from the Rock indeed enriches prayer, provokes reflection and inspires action Again as I reflect on number 104, I feel myself (WfR page 19). Since the day the book was pre- being invited to not only gather, bless, break, and share but also to become a sented to us during the work“living altar, where Christ’s sacshop, I have made the docuJesus answered rificial love is made present as ment my personal prayer book. and said to her, an inspiration and a source of I reflect on a number of issues raised in the document. Water “Everyone who drinks spiritual nourishment to everyone … I meet” (Benedict XVI from the Rock is a practical this water 2008). In addition, I am struck book, a book that calls for acwill be thirsty again; by the invitation in number tion. Any time I open it, I feel but whoever drinks 137, that in spite of my limitathe presence of Marcellin Chamtions, I am being called to be pagnat, I fall into prayer and I the water I shall give “a visible and permanent memofeel called to put what I read will never thirst; ry of the loving and merciful into practice. the water I shall give presence of God in the midst of will become in him people: living sign of the FaI am particularly challenged a spring of water ther’s tenderness” This is both and at the same time encourchallenging and encouraging. aged by some numbers of the welling up The document, Water from the book. In number 6 , it is said to eternal life. that the first Brothers’ “way of Rock speaks constantly of God’s Jn 4,5-14 living the Gospel was a reflecloving presence in spite of our tion of the character, values, nothingness. It is this reason and spirituality of … Marcellin Champagnat”. that I say, the book; Water from the Rock is a This number raises several questions in my mind: treasure, which every Christian must look for. It Questions such as, does my life reflect the name is indeed living water.
Album of the Year of Spirituality
1. Asunción – Paraguay; 2. Canadá; 3. Roma – Italy; 4. Dadiangas – Philippines; 5. Bangkok – Thailand; 6. Atenas – Greece; 7. Jérémie – Haití; 8. Los Teques - Venezuela; 9. India; 10. Cruz del Sur – Argentina
11. Kidapawan – Philippines; 12. Loja - Ecuador: 13. Medellín – Colombia; 14. Nyungwe - Malawi; 15. Madagascar; 16. Norandina; 17. Roma – Italy; 18. Giuliano – Italy; 19. Marcellin Nivasa - Sri Lanka; 20. Nairobi – Kenya; 21. Valladolid – Spain.
Fear not, be not troubled: did I not announce and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses! Is there a God or any Rock besides me? Is 44,8
The burning sands will become pools, and the thirsty ground, springs of water; The abode where jackals lurk will be a marsh for the reed and papyrus. Is 35,7
Published on Jan 18, 2011