2008-07-08 COLOMBIA

Marist Brothers? Spirituality Year – Water from the Rock

When we met together with him, Brother TeĆ³filo Minga, presented the leading ideas of the Marist Brothers? Spirituality Year. His presentations were drawn from the booklet, Water from the Rock. Brother TeĆ³filo?s purpose was to lead us in reflecting upon our spirituality as it is lived out across the Marist Brothers? world. Both Brothers and lay people are committing themselves to such a spirituality and are experiencing in their lives a feeling of communion with the Institute. Such has been true especially this year. The twelve months of the Spirituality Year ought to be precisely the occasion for the Marist Brothers? ?family? to find one another in the dimensions of communion and of spirituality.

Brother TeĆ³filo is also insistent that our spirituality has value for the young people and the children to whom we are sent. It is a spirituality which ought to be vibrant in every place in which our apostolic work is exercised, in our communities. We are to make real the words which Jesus spoke to the disciples of Emmaus, ?Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?? (Luke 24:32)

Brother TeĆ³filo emphatically stressed the pedagogical value of symbols. He told us how the five symbols of Water from the Rock, Source of life, are enriching the prayer and the retreats of many communities in different Provinces. This was a surprise to us, being the first time we heard such a comment. The symbols found in Water from the Rock help us deepen our spirituality, because they draw their power from the Gospel; they express that which Jesus wishes to receive from us.

The ROCK, an invitation to be solidly founded upon the Lord?s love. WATER, symbol of life which quenches the thirst of those in need. The WAY, an invita-tion to be like Jesus, who has become the way, the truth and the life. The TABLE, which brings to mind not merely the gift of the Eucharist, but also our LaValla origins. FIRE, the dynamism for apostolate so vividly seen at Pentecost. a dynamism which marks the beginning of the Church and which, over the course of Church history, has enflamed the hearts of so many apostles, Champagnat among them.

To the five symbols, both Marist and biblical, one might add the statue of Marcellin showing him with a child upon his shoulders (the photo appears in the last part of the booklet): an invitation to look beyond our ?little? horizons, to carry our spirituality beyond the Marist Brother frontier and into the Church and the world. The presence of the child acts as a challenge urging us to look ?beyond,? to discover new horizons for future generations.

To wind up his presentations, Brother TeĆ³filo led us through a project, viz. to structure a retreat which (a) has a character distinctively based upon Water from the Rock, and (b) uses the document as the source of the meditations and prayers which make up the normal thirty day retreat. In this case, however, the retreat would be Marcellinian as the classic Exercises are Ignatian!

The final section of Water from the Rock is an invitation to dream, an activity that is sometimes good for Brothers to do. Brother TeĆ³filo drew our attention to the fact that such an activity cannot be the outcome of only one person?s work. There must be working together many ?heads? formed in the Marcellinian spirituality.

The Marcellinian Exercises would have as their reference point the Christological experience of Saint Marcellin and the first Brothers, an experience which is both community-based and apostolic and stamped with a spirit of compassion. Here is what the Marcellinian Exercises might look like. Week One: compassion; Week Two: the three First Places, treated in a theological way that leads to the mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption. Week Three: Mary, woman of the Holy Spirit, woman of the Incarnation, the one who has already lived out the fullness of the Redemption. Week Four: our mission, our spirituality?s apostolic dimension which makes Pentecost present in the Church today. Brother TeĆ³filo quoted the Portuguese poet: Ā« Dreams steer the course of our lives ?.?

A heartful thank you to Brother TeĆ³filo for the conferences which he gave and for his brotherly approachability which we all experienced.

Br. Ɓlvaro Fredy Jacanamijoy
Br. Vladimir Orlando Viveros
Br. Jorge Mauricio Chamorro
Br. HĆ©ctor Xavier Colala


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