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Manziana - Third Age Course

12/10/2012: Italy

We give thanks to God, to the Institute, and to our provinces and communities for allowing us to live this moment of grace, the Third Age course. We are twenty-four Brothers from eleven provinces: Compostela, Mediterránea, Ibérica, the Hermitage, Cruz del Sur, Norandina, Central America, Canada, Santa María de los Andes, Río Grande do Sul, and Marianist Spain. Our animation team consists of Brothers Inocencio Martínez, José Feix and Anthony Hunt. The large house in Manziana provided comfortable accommodations and welcoming green zones. The age range is from 66 to 81.

The course began on Sunday, August 8, and it finished on Sunday, October 7. Previous to the start of the course we received three communications that prepared our spirit with practical information and motivating reflections that helped us to arrive with an open heart.

From my experience I can say that the subject matter has been beneficial, the rhythm calm, the prayer alive, the liturgies rich , the speakers prepared, the outings attractive and numerous, the climate benign, the group marvelous … what more could we ask for?!

Here a synthesis of the main themes that we have undertaken. Third Age: psychology and anthropology of the older Brother, health issues, the elders in the Bible. Religious Life: prayer, following Christ, my personal history of salvation. Marist Spirituality: with Mary go out to new lands, laity and Brothers living the same charism, Water from the Rock.

Sunday mornings are dedicated to discussing life in our Provinces, and we end with a festive fraternal sharing. How gratifying it is to feel stimulated by the quality of Marist vitality in other parts of the world and confronted by other apostolic initiatives and ways of life!

The papal audience was an opportunity to experience the universality of the Church gathered in St. Peter's Square to listen to the words of the Pope. Our meeting with Br. Superior General and three general councilors stimulated us and updated our view of the Institute. A moment particularly striking was the week we spent at the Hermitage recovering our historic memory and traveling through the places where our Institute was born. How generous the Spirit was by giving us Marcellin and our first Brothers as founders!

It has been a magnificent opportunity to contemplate the footprints of God in our history, to thank him for his loving providence, to take on constructively stumblings and vulnerabilities, to listen to new calls. We know our limitations, but even so we desire to go along with the responses of creative fidelity that new times demand. We wish to continue the search for the face of our good Father, we want to live the few or the many years that still remain following the call of the rainbow. We ask Mary and Marcellin to give us the gift to approach the Omega point, that of the great encounter that will transform time into eternity, with eyes full of the future.

________________
Br. Carlos Martínez Lavín

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