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Marist Bulletin - Number 167

 

Course at San Lorenzo de El Escorial
04/11/2004

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International Course at San Lorenzo de El Escorial (II)
WHAT YOU DO NOT DO WILL REMAIN UNDONE

In August, a course for Spanish-speaking and Portuguese-speaking brothers started at El Escorial, in Spain. Nineteen brothers are attending this course, which will finish in December. It is a chance for these brothers to step aside from their busy schedules so as to enjoy a renewal time of ongoing formation in a spirit of reflection, prayer and fraternity. Brother Javier Espinosa, accompanied by three other members on the team, is the facilitator of this course. The brothers come from nine different countries and are between the ages of 50 and 65. I took the opportunity to ask some of the brothers at this course a few questions. This is the second and final part of their responses.
Brother Lluís Serra


What values stand out in young people today?
Hugo Depiné, Brasil Centro-Sul
Young people today have a great deal of energy and for that reason it is not difficult for them to face new situations and start over again because they see life as a challenge. In their friendships they value affective, faithful relationships; they share a strong spirit of solidarity with those in search of new lifestyle alternatives even though this can be through mass protests; in this way they grow in their political consciousness, taking on leadership roles with persistence and enthusiasm.

What suggestions would you make to young people today so that they could live their lives more fully?
Eutimio Rubio, Argentina, Cruz del Sur
Perhaps first of all I would ask some basic questions like: What is your mission in life? What values are you seeking?
I would say to them: Friend, life is a continuum of moments. Each moment is unique. Try to live the present moment: carpe diem. Dream of great ideals and try to “deepen” your mission in life. There are some value indicators that you cannot do without, like: to be in solidarity with another, try to be a loyal friend, study so that you can become a competent professional, be a good son in your family and try to be a good son of God. God loves you as you are.
You hold your future in your hands so you can do something great with your life. Nobody can fulfil this mission for you. What you do not do will remain undone. You can do more and by the magic of total dedication you can accomplish marvellous things. If you put your heart and soul into all that you undertake, you will succeed and you will give meaning to your life. Human knowledge has no limits. You can always improve yourself and make a greater effort. It is worth trying. Now is the time. Begin each day as though you have to live for a thousand years and live as though you were going to die tomorrow. The greatest difficulties are always occasions to climb higher towards the great summits of your personal development. Each person has their own mountain range to climb during their life. The aim is to conquer it. Go for it!
Choose life, peace, coexistence, solidarity…. so as to change yourself before you change the world.
Never lose hope of becoming a Samaritan working for a more human world.
To live happily and fully, everything depends on you.

Is it worth teaching about solidarity today and what commitment does this kind of education entail?
Imeldo Link, Rio Grande do Sul
There is no doubt that it is worth the trouble, because the immense scale of social problems in the world today demand that an effort be made in terms of social integration through new solidarity and educational projects.
This implies:
- creating places where people in need can be welcomed without charge
- giving people who do not have the means to go to good schools the chance to have a formal education
- promoting and guaranteeing activities that facilitate autonomy and freedom of people, for example, encouraging groups to generate an income by organising themselves into small cooperatives.
We can confront complex problems, such as child abuse, through education in formal schools and through aid that is entirely without charge.

What values of the Marist Education Project are still relevant today?
Esteban González, México Occidental
In a world that is so changeable and full of passing pleasures, the value of presence in our education work has a very deep meaning.
Our young are crying out to be listened to and to be appreciated as people.
The mechanical rhythm of our lives accentuates the necessity to be able to find someone with whom we can share and unload our problems, which are sometimes overwhelming. A Marist way of presence with its pedagogical and evangelical character provides essential help to so many young people who are confused and disorientated in their social milieu. Therefore, we must act as brothers by showing a real interest and compassion towards their situation and by suggesting ways in which they can improve their life.

How valid are Voltaire’s words about religious: “They enter religion without knowing one another, live without loving one another and die without mourning for one another”?
Pablo Marín, Province of Ibérica
First of all, I find it ambiguous. That we, religious, entered without knowing one another is generally correct.
“They live without loving one another.” I understand that our love is not a natural filial love, at least with the usual characteristics of family life in marriage. But, we live a love that makes us interested in the other brothers in the community; a love which finds its meaning in community, around Christ, and which does not rest only on what is human. We are sensitive to the needs, to the limits and to the joys of each brother.
“They die without mourning for one another.” It is terrible to believe that this sentence could be true for us. At the human level, if we are interested in our fellow brothers, how equally important is it to be so for the one who has died. What matters, are not the visible tears, but the esteem and the feelings in our heart: concern about his illness and his infirmities, presence, comfort and prayer for the repose of his soul in the Lord… Isn’t that loving one another as brothers?

Your parents are still alive. What age are they and what are your feelings towards them?
Jesús Navarro, Ibérica
They are still alive but they do have problems with their health and they have seen better years. My father is 86 and my mother is 85. Naturally, my feelings towards them are ones of affection and gratitude; a filial affection to which they respond; gratitude to them because they gave me one of God’s gifts, the gift of life.
I am grateful to them also because they were the first ones to teach me to look to God and to Mary. I show my thanks through prayer and frequent visits.

What role does prayer play in your life?
Rogelio Jiménez, Colombia, Norandina
I am gong to begin this short reflection with a sentence that had a strong impact on me when I first heard it: “As you live, you pray, because as you pray, you live.” For some time, through a special grace, I have been able to feel the love of God in my life; this has doubled my personal prayer, since it was a time when God was strongly present in my life through his merciful love. My personal prayer life has been my lightning conductor on some occasions. It has helped me to get through some difficult moments and to discover the meaning of community prayer. Through personal and community prayer, I try to find unity and coherence in my life.

How much value do you give to nature and ecology? Do you believe that we can do something in these areas in education?
Angel Merino, Puerto Rico, Province of América Central
The world in which we live is dominated by violence, injustice, death… you only have to look at the papers each day. The common factor in all of this is lack of respect and of tolerance. I believe that these two things: respect for nature and an understanding of the ecology, taught from an early age, can lead to a greater respect for others and other things.
As educators, we can do a great deal, since nature can be seen as God’s creation and a reflection of Him. An ecological consciousness will be developed if we can make others understand that nature is a part of our environment and that we cannot survive without it.

How do you explain the fact of a religious vocation?
Moisés Caballero, Province of Ibérica
In a family, the birth of a child is greeted with great joy because this life is a gift from God. Thus, just as God calls everyone into existence by giving them life, he also calls us to accompany him and to follow him in different ways. One of these ways is religious life.
And your personal vocation?
In my case, I believe that it was a clear call from the Lord following the death of one of my brothers who was a Marist Brother. When he died, he was 22 years old and I felt that the Lord called me to replace him.
Throughout my life, I have often thought about the importance of my brother Fermín in my decision to belong to the Marist family. He was the one who had invited me to become a brother when he was still alive.

What do you admire most about Saint Marcellin Champagnat?
Alipio Herrera, Colombia, Province of Norandina
Marcellin Champagnat had a strong sense of the love of God throughout his whole life. This love called him to love God passionately, to love Mary passionately, and to love his brothers, children, young people and especially those most in need passionately. What has made him a great saint and an exceptional apostle is the fact that he was able to do this in his life.

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