2009-09-17 GENERAL HOUSE

First consensus steps on the fundamental call

?Ten days of Chapter already and still nothing!? This from someone who is not part of the Chapter. Seeds below ground stay hidden a long time before the first shoots appear and the colour of the fields begins to change. The Chapter is in a period of gestation. The Central Commission is not of the opinion that in ten days nothing has been reaped, since today it announced with joy that the Chapter has arrived at its first consensus, although the lines are not well defined. Life advances in its creative process.
Today work continued on trying to define the centre of the call, which in some way is what unites all the themes and glues them together. The synthesis of the contributions of the day before had not been completed when the chapter re-assembled. For this reason, the first hour of the morning was spent in personal work. In the meantime, the secretaries and the Central Commission finished compiling the summary of the contributions.

The feeling of the tables
The contributions from the tables were grouped around three reference points, in which the various nuances had been brought together under different formulas. A first grouping was made of all those which signified newness of heart. For example: ?We need to be visible signs and recover significance and our prophetic role?. ?The consecrated dimension must be emphasised over the professional?. ?We need new hearts to revive our identity: lovers of God, friends and brothers of children and youth, building communities of brotherhood, simplicity and poverty?.

The second reference point collected what referred to Mary and the Church: ?To go with Mary of the Visitation in haste to the house of children and youth, brothers and laity together?. ?With Mary of Pentecost creating the Marial face of the Church given by the Holy Spirit?. ?Mary will teach us how to discover God incarnate in people and in everyday life?.
The third brought together the relationship with mission, that is, with the presence God is requiring of the Marists in the world of today. ?The brothers are not sufficiently present among the young?. ?We need to make present a new spirituality, a new form of mission and a new form of brother and lay relationship?. ?Cross the frontiers and discover the implications of the international character of our mission?. ?Create in ourselves, brothers and lay Marists, the missionary heart of Champagnat?. ?To celebrate our shared vocation and thus remind the Church of what it longs to be?. ?To express Church as communion?.
The second phase was a rereading of what the tables had contributed the previous day in order to detect in them, even the most disparate, an echo appealing to the assembly. By means of this exercise, they were attempting to obtain a global vision of which way God is calling the Institute. The morning session concluded with an open forum for those who wanted to speak.

Work of the afternoon
The afternoon session started with Marian prayer. There followed some moments of personal time for picking up the thread of the morning?s work. At each table, there was discussion to arrive at consensus on the fundamental call. After the break, the whole assembly sought to keep to the ryhthm of the work done. Some tables were able to give an outline of what the fundamental call was for them. But for the majority, there was still dissatisfaction with the results obtained. So the following session begins with the search for consensus.

First approximations to expressing the fundamental call

At the conclusion of the day, the contributions from the tables led to the first approximations of the fundamental call in the four languages. The English one was as follows:

Champagnat Marists with a new Marian heart among the poor and religiously ignorant children and young people in our world.
Inspired by Mary and Marcellin, we Marists, brothers and laymen and women together:
1. cannot help but be disturbed and transformed by God?s dream for the world and
2. allow God to provoke us to live the gospel in a new world.
Impelled by the needs of today across the whole world, with a Marian heart, we are called as Marists to grow together new ways of animating, forming, supporting, organising, and renewing all of those who are attracted to share in our mission

WHY so that:
(a) they are authentic Marists, spiritually and apostolically, i.e. like Mary: full of grace, the Lord with them, ready to say yes, ready to go into the hill country with the good news of God?s faithful love and mercy, to bring Christ-life to birth, to be with the Church as it gathers;
(b) in each educational and pastoral ministry there will be Marists who see themselves as a community of faith and mission, who live close to young people, and be able bring them to a knowledge and love of Jesus;
(c) the wider Church will see a genuine expression of communio, a Marian way of being Church, where all can grow in their respective vocations as Marist.

At the end of the day, Eucharist
At the celebration of the Eucharist, the capitulants presented to the Lord the whole day?s work and commended to Him the life and eternal rest of the father of Brother Fernando de la Fuente, one of the martyrs of Zaire, who had just passed away. Three rites marked the day?s liturgy: the washing of hands, as a sign of forgiveness, anointing one another with oil at the end of the Mass, and singing the song ?A new heart?, composed especially for the Chapter by Brothers Miquel Cubeles and Maurice Goutagny. You will find words and music on the page dedicated to the Chapter.


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