2007-09-04 BRAZIL

Brothers and Laity together

As we come closer to the celebration of the Assembly I imagine that most of us will have built up our expectations or made some reflections on it. My personal reflection has wandered about, with varying intensity, on several topics that the event raises, looking to highlight the informative point of view that could raise great interest. But, on the other hand, there has arisen in me the fear of entering in a land under cultivation and of seeking to pick fruits that have not yet matured. Nevertheless I can advance some personal contributions on this great Marist world meeting.

The first idea that came to mind is that all the participants in the Assembly take part as equals. It is a very positive and very interesting fact. The General Council has decided to create this area of international encounter where everyone, Brothers and laity, laity and Brothers, will have a voice and a vote on the topics under discussion. Perhaps for many this fact is a significant one, highlighting this realization. I do not doubt its great importance. Nevertheless this circumstance must not be an occasion to decrease things to pure legalese as a way of regulating relationships and the work to be carried out by the participants. On the other hand, I think it is more important to highlight the fact that the first principle that has promoted the summons to this Assembly is the fact that, laity and Brothers, as members of the same Church, feel themselves to be together, for the first time at this level, to meditate on how to respond to the challenges that outline the Marist mission today.

The fidelity to the commitment of baptism is a fundamental responsibility of all Christians. Brothers and laity share the Christian vocation. Baptism and confirmation have been the common expressions that have forever summed up the option for Jesus Christ and his Church. To affirm that Brothers and laity meet on equal terms shows the maturing of some very significant processes of ecclesiastic life. The adherence to Jesus Christ and the dedication to his Church are the sacramental expressions of the rights and the fundamental obligations acquired by those participants in this Assembly put their ideas and their experiences in common. I certainly believe that this is important news that reflects the vitality of the Marist charism in todays world. For that reason the expectation that is raised in me is eminently ecclesiastic.

H. AMEstaún


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