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Retreat of brothers and lay marists 2012, Quito-Cumbayá

20/04/2012: Ecuador

As Marist laity working in the establishments of Quevedo, Santo Dolmingo, Catacocha, Macará, Quito and Loja, we were invited to take part in the Brothers’ annual Retreat from 8 to 14 March in the « San Patricio » retreat house, region of Cumbayá-Quito

During the retreat, we were able to share on different themes presented by Br Javier Espinosa, Director of the Secretariat of the Laity. The retreat shed light mainly on two themes: « Urged by God to set out » and « God wants me as I am, but he dreams me differently».

The retreat helped us recognize, firstly, that God has put in each of us the wherewith to construct our lives (recreate them) by using the possibilities which surround us, in sensing His presence and collaborating to forge our lives in such a way that we can freely give ourselves to others.

It allowed us to discover a new face of God, a God-with-us, a Father and Mother God who loves us as we are and with whom we live in intimacy through prayer which leads us to give ourselves to others, by fighting for just causes, for freedom, in being faithful to him. That is why the world needs God, why the world needs us to help others encounter Him through our activities, our gift, our freedom, in order to forge together a better future close to him.

We feel we are a people summoned by God to live and to promote life, since he came that we may have life in abundance. We are called by God to an active mission, each with his/her particular way of being and acting, for we are a concrete and unique manifestation of GOD’s love which impregnates the totality of the BEING and leads us to transcend ourselves.

We know that GOD has been good to us and that he will continue to be so in the future. God wants to count on us and invites us by prayer to do his will, where we are, in giving FREELY what we have freely received. He has always protected us and invites us to remain calm since he is with us to the end of our lives. He says that if up to now he has done marvels in us, he will continue to do marvellous things for us. He invites us to cross to the other shore, where many people have need of a friendly hand, need to feel loved, accepted...

Comparing our lives with those around us, we have been conscious of our failings, of our limitations. We have realized that to live without loving and without being loved renders life insupportable. We need others to mature from the affective point of view. We would not know how to speak about fidelity to God if our human fidelity was wanting. Let us try, patiently, to « grow together, side by side », before God, and to share more and more « grace and pardon ».

We feel calledto be part of this GREAT FAMILY  and we ask you, Lord, to give us your eyes to see better; we ask you, Mary, to help us purify our sight, to cure it. Give us, Lord, the deep compassion that does not stop at the sight of our limitations... We want a world that is more human, more just, where equality reigns... The world needs God, the world also needs us; hence the need for us to strive to construct communities which allow us to witness to Jesus and his Gospel.

The retreat also allowed us to reflect on the new epoch for the Marist charism, which has filled us with hope: roads common to brothers and lay Marists are visible on the horizon, for it is only in journeying together that we will make the 'dream' of Jesus happen for each of us, laity or brothers.

Our manner of envisaging the futureleads us to further self engagement, for the future bearer of hope is based on a TODAY full of hope, effort, optimism and audacity; invitation to be capable of giving more LOVE, MERCY and COMPASSION. To know that united we are 'more', that a single heartwill lead us to a single MISSION. Let us be bold and take up this challenge with HOPE. Let us open the doors of our communities, enlarge our hearts. Let us accept, welcome, give our life: that would be worth trying!

We felt the proximity of Mary, our Good Mother; we are not alone on the route, SHE it is who leads us and brings us closer and closer to her son Jesus. Let us set to work where we are, giving further strength to the dream of JOURNEYING TOGETHER, Marist Laity and Brothers. Let us spread our wings in freedom, close to Mary.

Thanks to Br Javier Espinosa for the animation of this retreat. Thanks to his words, and above all to the example of his life, he has known how to touch our hearts deeply. During this retreat, God has given us the possibility of sharing the Marist charism. At the end of this encounter, we are committed to taking up new challenges in each of our works, in favour of poor children and young people.

__________
Gloria Narcisa Cornejo Chalán
Fraternity – Loja – Ecuador

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