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Marist Bulletin - Number 109

 

The marist calendar for December - Brothere François Year
30.11.2003

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THE MARIST CALENDAR FOR DECEMBER

In this Marist Bulletin we are publishing the Marist Calendar for December, which appears each day on our web site www.champagnat.org


1 Remembrance of deceased Marists - World Day for combatting AIDS.
2 1915, Marist foundation in Morocco – International Day for the Abolition of Slavery
3 Feast of St. Francis Xavier, Patron of the Missions – 1956: the first Marist Brothers left for Bolivia – International Day for People with Disabilities
4 1889 – opening of the first Marist school in Colombia (Popayán) –
5 International Day of Volunteers for Social and Economic Development
6 Marist Saturday: specially dedicated to praying for the Marist Family
7 International Day of Civil Aviation
8 Feast of the Immaculate Conception – 1942, Consecration of the Marist Institute to the Immaculate Heart of Mary – First Marist foundations in Indonesia (1950) and Kenya (1984)
9 1889, death of Br. Louis-Marie, second Superior General of the Marist Brothers
10 International Day of Human Rights - 1948, proclamation of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights – International Day of Forests
11 World Day of Asthma
12 Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
13 Marist Saturday: specially dedicated to praying for the Marist Family
14 Third Sunday in Advent
15 1949, the first Marist Brothers departed for Nigeria
16 1845, Bishop Epalle died on St. Christopher Island in the South Pacific
17 “Gratitude is the heart remembering.” Anonymous
18 1886, the Marist Brothers arrived in Spain – International Day of Migrants – Multiple Sclerosis Day
19 “Lifelong education rests on four pillars: learning how to know, do, live together, and be.” UNESCO Report
20 Marist Saturday: specially dedicated to praying for the Marist Family
21 Fourth Sunday in Advent
22 This Christmas, give your friends and relatives a free subscription to our Marist Bulletin on the web
23 “Every newborn child conveys the message that God has not lost hope in humanity.” (Rabindranath Tagore)
24 1817, Br. Laurence, the third member of the Institute, joined the community in La Valla - 1836, the first Marist Brothers left for Oceania
25 The Feast of our Savior’s Birth – Merry Christmas to all our subscribers and visitors - May God and our Good Mother bless you and your families
26 St. Stephen, Protomartyr
27 St. John the Evangelist - Marist Saturday: specially dedicated to praying for the Marist Family
28 Feast of the Holy Family - The Holy Innocents
29 International Day of Biodiversity
30 1931, the Vatican formally recognized the Marist Missionary Sisters (SMSM’s) as an international Congregation
31 1852, the first Marist Brothers departed for England
31 As each year came to an end, St. Marcellin would pray for forgiveness and thank God for all the gifts and graces he had received. Today we have the opportunity to follow his inspiring example.

BROTHER FRANÇOIS’ YEAR (VI)
6 june 2003 – 6 june 2004


HEROICITY OF CHRISTIAN VIRTUES

We may be sure that the above expression does not enjoy the sympathy of our current cultural sensitivity. Modern psychology busies itself so much with the human flaws that to speak of heroicity of virtues may appear presumptuous as if we were presenting a far-fetched portrait.
However, it is exactly the first thing we are asked to demonstrate for any servant of God whose confessor’s cause we want to present.
There is no need to marvel that a man of God practises all virtues at an extraordinary degree. Virtues call each other through a sort of logical logic where grace and a habit of human generosity come into play. A climate of love is created that facilitates gift and fidelity. There are two actors: God who is love and fidelity and man who, attracted and seduced by Him progressively climbs towards Him. Life unifies itself in love.
But heroicity of virtues does not signify absence of limits, sufferings, problems, searching… and still less the moving away from the others. Jesus, although the Son, experienced his share of suffering, he prayed with cries and tears, (Hb 5, 7-9), he became man, he was near us and he multiplied his contacts with men. Heroicity of virtues means generosity, love, faith, as acquired virtues, in a human framework that exacts efforts (asceticism) and is lived in a body that suffers. Indeed, any servant of God is filled with enthusiasm for human adventure. So, he multiplies his relationships and makes himself near the unfortunate ones.
Once the heroicity of virtues has been confirmed we are inclined to trust those who lived with the servant of God, our admiration ceases to be purely theoretical. This confirmation invites us to study the life and virtues of the servant of God.

PRUDENCE

Brother François’ Thought

Let us admire the kind ways of God’s divine Providence:
what we consider as misfortunes and disgrace
often become abundant sources of grace and blessings.
If God seems to afflict us with one hand,
He caresses us with the other;
He surrounds us with his mercy and with his very paternal protection
When we confidently throw ourselves into his arms
and we give ourselves to Him completely and forever.
His advice facilitated agreement and charity in the communities…


Brother François’ Prayer
O God, grant me your grace
that I may become a superior according to your heart,
faithful to all my duties,
having only those in mind
looking at you only, seeking you only,
hoping in you and fearful lest I offend you.

Please, give me zealous collaborators,
send good workers to your vineyard.
Grant me the discernment to choose them properly
piety to train them well,
wisdom in assigning them to various tasks,
vigilance and kindness to govern them.

Bless them, preserve them, sanctify them,
make them men according to your heart
filled with your spirit
and always assiduous with their ministry.
(Fr. François: 60 ans d’histoire mariste, p. 79)

PRUDENCE IN BROTHER FRANÇOIS’ LIFE
The preceding pages showed us Brother François’ faith, hope and charity. Let us continue to admire him in his virtues of prudence, justice, strength and temperance. You might find the framework a bit too classical; yet the discoveries will be beautiful.
The reading of the testimonies that praise Brother François’ Christian prudence reveals a virtue all in nuances, a conjunction of human and spiritual forces and qualities, much richer than we could first have imagined.
This virtue, according to the witnesses issues forth from God’s intimacy, from one’s opening to the Spirit’s wisdom. «His prudence was all supernatural and rooted up in prayer. Brother François never undertook anything without having seriously reflected and without having prayed abundantly and having requested us to pray. He recommended his project to god, examined it carefully, he cared to consult. He was careful to avoid rushing up to a quick decision, to avoid passion that blinds a person. He never showed any stubbornness or vanity. He did not speak before having requested God’s enlightenment.»

Prudence requires one to bear listening to others. It also wants us to be opened to any advice that might clarify a situation, a problem or ease the taking of a decision. «Brother François appeared thoughtful and calm. He knew how to consult the wise people.»
«He liked to consult Father Colin, the bishops and his councillors. He did not neglect any human means, but once this was done, he put his trust in God and appealed to supernatural and divine means.»
Prudence and wisdom hold hands. Because he was prudent, people came to ask for Brother François’ advice, «He was endowed with a great wisdom and a supernatural prudence; people from all around cam to consult him. Our boarding schools’ directors came to the Hermitage to commit their difficulties to Brother François’ judgement. I often heard brothers pride themselves for the wise advice they had received from him. In the various establishments, brothers loved to receive his advice that allowed charity to unite them. Brothers left his office encouraged. When consulted, he did not reply immediately; if the matter was serious, he paused, prayed and reflected. He sometimes needed to consult someone else, afterwards, he usually gave a very correct solution. I never heard that Brother François had lacked prudence. On the contrary, I know that he often held back and slowed down certain imprudent and daring brothers.»

There is an agreement between prudence and sincerity. «He was sincerity itself, he never dissembled. His frankness sheltered him from dishonesty.»
Prudence becomes a life attitude. Some witnesses attributed Brother François’ success to his prudence, «Brother François’ prudence was put in evidence by his success in difficult endeavours; examples: the joining to our Institute of the Viviers and the Saint Paul Brothers and the government of the Institute.»
(Source: Positio super virtutibus : Information, p. 60-64)

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