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Carlos Ares Antequera - España,

 

Prov. MediterráneaPersonal experiences

What captured my heart…

A generous response is born of a grateful heart. On looking back with gratitude on my life I remember the joyful and happy experience of a childhood privileged to be in contact with the Brothers as the captivating experience of my heart. The brotherly welcome, the respectful participation and generous dedication infected me with their enthusiasm.

They say of Father Champagnat that he convinced and swept people along because he practised what he preached. In the same way, meeting with Brothers with real names and faces (Abel, Goyo, Míchel, Fernando, Ventura, Servando, Pepelu, Pepe…), young and vibrant witnesses among us, gave us the enthusiasm to live in a style which was so full of LIFE.

Marcellin also told the Brothers to spend as much time as possible with the young people. I spent a lot of time in the school; many were the chats in the patios, visits to the chapel, morning prayers, time spent in prayer groups and Christian life, time spent in accompanying me in my personal project of life from the tenets of faith, the coherence of LIFE (thus the capital letters.). All these experiences penetrated deep into my heart. Where your treasure is, there is your heart” Ventura always reminded us during the vocation retreats.

To know Marcellin…

I began to really know Marcellin when I stopped being an adolescent and entered adulthood. I was surprised to discover a normal person, with limitations, with a process in his life, with a great passion, a total commitment, a special sensibility, an enormous trust in God and an incomparable devotion to Mary.

I discovered in Father Champagnat his strong, powerful personality which carried people along. And I also ended up following him. Faced with the We Need Brothers of Marcellin I feel that I am receiving the invitation and try to respond through my position as a lay person. I also try to be a presence among the children and young people, accompanying them, dedicating my time to them putting at their disposal the talents that God has given me.

The capacity of Marcellin to dream something new and to put life into it always astonishes me. With no support other than that of God, without security, with many obstacles… trusting. I am fascinated by the marvels that the Lord works in those who trust in Him and allow Him to take them where He wants. To be aware of this experience helps me to trust in God when I am give an answer to my missionary restlessness, and it is that experience of Providence which pushes me into continual trust.

The pillars of my Marist life …

Prayer: At the moment I live the community dimension of prayer in the two daily moments that we reserve to pray together. Personally, I also try to take care of my personal prayer, retreats and try to live with intensity the “hard times”.

Community: Since September of 2005 I have enjoyed the opportunity of sharing a roof, belongings, spirituality, prayer, life and mission with the Brothers in a mixed community. Also, for three months, my partner has also shared this experience. It is an experience of feeling in communion with her and with the Brothers who, from another state of life, are called by The Lord to the same thing. I perceive in our house signs that characterize our Marist being: the small details, the family spirit, the call to work…

Apostolate: Directed towards the most disadvantaged children and young people and from a Marist style: favouring presence, carried out with simplicity, following the maxim of Marcellin to educate a child you must love him and having in our sights all the dioceses of the world.

Mary: In the style of Mary, fixing my sights on her, going to her, trying to imitate her.

My relationship with the Brothers…

Carrying out an exercise in the last retreat about people who have helped me to grow in my life, I discovered that, apart from my family and my partner, all the other people were Brothers.

God has used the Brothers to make Himself present at the different stages of my life. As a child, as I have already mentioned. In my young days of my personal process of faith and discernment.

In my experience of community life, discovering the Brother to be an equal, not as a stranger or a superior being. Valuing their options and gifts, and understanding their limitations and deficiencies. Having communal experiences and disagreements, being stimulated and stimulating when sharing our lives. Learning. Being welcomed, respected, and not judged. Invited and not forced. Opening up their house. Being valued and kept in mind. Knowing myself to be tolerated in my more difficult moments. Appreciated. All this through simple and fraternal relationships, of small details that say a lot. If I had to choose a couple of words, fraternal relationship and communion.

What do you dream...?

Next month I finish my experience of community life in the mixed community of Brothers and lay people of El Campico in Alcantarilla, Murcia.

In January, Bea (my partner) and I are looking forward to a sabbatical year in Comarapa, Bolivia. There we are interested in continuing to share with the Brothers, in whatever way possible, since it is not a mixed community.

On our return we do not know what will happen, but our deep feeling of being Marists will make us find the means to continue living and sharing something more than the mission with the Brothers. It will be a different format, but it is our dream to be able to continue living this new reality which has been born already, the possibility of being a community both lay and Marist.

I dream of being able to bring together my life as a lay person, a family, and to live the Gospel in a radical way. I dream of being able to live my vocation as an educator in the Marist way.

And, why not? I dream of some kind of bond.