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Marist Bulletin - Number 296

 

In the heart of Mary - Manuel Jorques Bru, FMS
24/05/2007

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Today we send with our Bulletin a letter of Brother Manuel Jorques Bru, Provincial of the Marist Province of Mediterránea to the secondary and senior secondary students of the Marist colleges and works of the Province.


Dear friends, may Peace and Wisdom be with you.

Perhaps you are surprised to receive a letter from a brother whom you do not know, or whom you have heard spoken about by the brothers and teachers or even through the Internet. I will thus start by introducing myself: Brother Manuel Jorques, Provincial Superior of our Province of Mediterránea. Even though we do not know each other, I can assure you that in my function as Provincial, I do not forget you as you are the raison d’être of our life. We want to help you “to be good Christians and virtuous citizens”. And this letter – you wonder – what is it all about? Very simple. A few days ago, I sent a letter to your teachers to encourage them to live, to celebrate and to motivate others about something very important in the life of the Marist Family: THE MONTH OF MAY, THE MONTH OF MARY. And as this year we have the slogan: “Where Champagnat’s heart will lead you”, I have entitled my letter: “In the heart of Mary”. A few days ago, during the evening meal, a young brother said to me, “Why don’t you write a simple letter to all the secondary and senior secondary students of our schools to encourage them to live and celebrate the Month of Mary?” That seemed to me to be a good idea, to address you, as I am sure that your enthusiasm, your example and your courage will be contagious for the little ones. When I was studying at Salamanca, one day I heard this sentence that struck me a great deal: “Young people, if you ask them little they give nothing; when you ask them for a lot, they give a lot, they give more.” I know your generosity and I have confidence in you.

The month of May that we are already celebrating was very important for Father Champagnat. In 1818, Marcellin Champagnat was a young vicar of La Valla and at the age of twenty-seven he started the foundation of the Marist Institute in order to form “good Christians and virtuous citizens”. From the first year of his vicariate, he established in the church of the parish the pious practice of the Month of Mary, who was little known and who would some years later produce extraordinary spiritual fruit. He himself did this exercise every morning before Mass. On this occasion, he distributed throughout the parish a large number of copies of a small book entitled “Month of Mary” and other similar texts to inspire the worship of and devotion to our Good Mother. Also, in a short time, the exercises of the Month of Mary were being done in all the hamlets of the parish and soon each family even had its own chapel where in the evening they gathered before the image of the Queen of Heaven to implore her protection, to sing her praises and to meditate on her grandeur and her goodness.

Later, when he founded the Institute of the Marist Brothers, he wanted the Month of Mary to be a very important celebration and he recommended to the brothers to celebrate Mary in all the Marist schools. He wrote to them in these words: “Endeavour to celebrate the month of Mary with devotion, encourage your students to celebrate it also with great devotion”. You can now guess the reason for my letter: I am encouraging you to live this Month of Mary with sentiments of joy and gratitude, together with your Marist teachers, placing there the love and enthusiasm that Mary, our Good Mother deserves from us.

Dear friends: to celebrate the Month of Mary with our Good Mother is to have confidence in Her, as She helps us to grow and mature; it is to accept to grow up like Jesus who grew up under the gaze of his Mother; it is to help us to transform our heart so that it resembles his own all the more. Mary, our Good Mother, loves us, helps us and encourages us to be courageous and to live without fear, with strong desires to love. Mary helps us to fight against the culture of death, of comfort and of what is temporal and passing. Mary helps us to be good Christians and virtuous citizens, full of enthusiasm and hope. She helps us to live with enthusiasm and in joy, avoiding in our lives all that is rottenness, manipulation, corruption and lying. Our Good Mother wants us to develop all that is good and positive in us; She will not allow us to be used as marionettes or to be prevented from developing ourselves in a harmonious and balanced way, fruit of daily effort and work. Our Good Mother wants us to have Jesus reign in our heart, so that we will be the joyous, merciful and full of hope face of her Son in the world of today.

For many years, the Marist Family that forms us all has been characterised by something that is our own, and that we can and must recover, for this has a totally particular value. I can assure you that many people, a great number of people, have been helped by this to live their Christian life fully, to feel in solidarity with the poor and to feel loved by Mary. I am passing on to you what I have experienced and what is for many an extraordinary means of a human and Christian life in solidarity. Marcellin Champagnat “recommended the recitation of the rosary and wanted all the brothers to carry it with them always”. He said: “If by some unforeseen event or by extraordinary occupations you do not have the time to recite it entirely, say two or three decades; and if that is absolutely impossible, say the first three Hail Marys or at least take your rosary beads and kiss them before going to bed. The one who loves Mary is never without some object that reminds him of his Mother in Heaven, and he always has with him, night and day, his rosary beads or his scapular”.

The rosary, my dear friends, contains a large range of possibilities and it is a remarkable means and very adapted to our life and to all the circumstances of life; it can help us mightily to be the Good News in the society where we live. Today, in the traditional way or by adapting it to our age, it is a way of showing our love to Mary and to feel close to and in solidarity with the poor, a means of saying to Mary that we want to resemble her, to learn from Mary her gentleness, her simplicity, her welcoming nature, her attentiveness, her love of the poor and of the will of God.

• Through the Rosary, we can approach the world of sorrow, of terrorism, of depression, of violence, of death and be builders of peace, harmony and solidarity.
• Through the Rosary, we can approach the world of joy, of the child who is born, of the one who receives First Holy Communion, of the one who lives in groups of friendship, of the one who goes to a holiday camp or who lives in direct contact with the mountains, of all those who radiate joy and live in the way of the Resurrected Jesus.
• Through the Rosary, we can approach the world of hope; we can commit ourselves to the construction of a world that is happier, more in solidarity and more human; the rosary helps us to accept and to live the will of God, making us live the life of Jesus by following in his footsteps and his teachings without the fear of what others will say.

The Rosary is a simple prayer of praise, of welcome and of forgiveness; it is an easy prayer that invites us to live the Gospel in the way of Mary. The rosary is this drop of living water that falls unceasingly on the heart and which penetrates the heart of those who recite it, helping them to reflect, to meditate and to act according to the Gospel, in accord with Mary. I encourage you, then, to recover and strengthen this Marial prayer among us. Ask your teachers if they will help you to recite this prayer to our Good Mother adapting it to your life, to your intentions, to your needs, as well as those of your family and of the world.

And I will finish by asking you for a favour. I would like the 20th May to be the “DAY OF OUR GOOD MOTHER” throughout the whole Province: a special day to celebrate as a Marist Province the love and devotion that Saint Marcellin Champagnat had towards Mary and to live the desire that he had that we live her spirit and her attitudes. A special day for demonstrating in words and in actions the importance of our Good Mother in the life of all of us, her children. A special day when all of us who identify with the “Mediterranean Marist Family” invoke Mary under the title of Our Good Mother, when we place ourselves under her protection and imitate her virtues and attitudes, especially those of attentiveness, of simplicity, of solidarity, of the small details, of patience, of love… This date could be fixed for the years to come. As the 20th falls on a Sunday this year, I will leave it to the Direction and Pastoral Ministry Teams to determine the actual special day consecrated to our Good Mother.

I cannot and do not want to finish this letter without launching a call to your young and generous heart: If you hear within you the call to work in the Family of Mary, as a Marist Brother or Marist Sister, go with this and do not be afraid. It is worth following Jesus by consecrating your life in the service of children and young people, especially those most in need.

I would like to thank you for the patience and graciousness that you have had in reading my sentiments and wishes for the great Marist Month. Let us try personally as a family in the College to demonstrate that we are truly the Marist Family. To say Marist is to say Mary. The heart of Champagnat leads us to the heart of Mary. And the heart of Mary leads us to the heart of the Trinity.

All the best and have a Good Month of Mary.

Your friend and your brother,

Brother Manuel Jorques Bru
Rome, 1st May 2007

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