2008-05-05 ITALY

Signs of the tenderness of the Father, sustained by the tenderness of a Mother

The voice of Br. Teofilo finds a deep, responsive echo in the hearts of Brothers and lay people of the Marist community of Taormina. He invites us to reflect on the document Water from the Rock – Marist Spirituality that Springs from the Tradition of Marcellin Champagnat. The text is more than a simple afterthought to be read in a hurry or in a superficial manner. On the contrary: one must get to the heart of the text and meditate upon it, both personally and communally.

All of us are being called to reconsider spirituality, both personal and communal, in the light of a living dynamism, lived in fullness. Among so many towers of Babel offering only discordant sounds and contrasting colours, we are women and men on the journey, in search of someone with a serene countenance, one who speaks words full of life-giving sense. We scrutinize full of hope; we are attentive to the direction of the wind which, blowing where it will, shows us, once again, new ways of understanding spirituality. We want to walk hand in hand with the people of today; we want to listen to their heartbeat.

Out of the silence of the desert, a gentle breeze encourages us to go higher. And from there it invites us to look upon the pathways of the world, to find ourselves among the people to whom we speak and for whom we are called to be witnesses. Then, close to the wells of living water, we learn to draw of its water and let ourselves bathe in flowing springs. Yes, in such a way the ?streams of living water will spring from those who believe, and this water will be for them a source of life and holiness.?

It is true that the document very carefully blends together the calls of the Scriptures and the fundamental themes proposed and lived by Marcellin. He was a man who moved into the future with ardour and with courage. He did so by living each day with dignity, prudence, and altruism. He took an active role in carrying out his personal role in God?s plan. In a striking manner, he experienced within himself a hunger for God.

Today the hands of brothers and lay people are ready to knead the bread, to share the mission, to answer the hunger of the world, putting the fundamental ingredients together: water or the hunger for what is essential; salt or hunger for faith; grain or the hunger for charity; leaven or the hunger for truth. We all are grains gathered into one. We are a gift given and received. We are individuals who become communion to clothe ourselves with Christ and to live because of him while becoming bread shared for others. This is the essential meaning of being both Christian and Marist in today?s world.

Mary, the Eucharistic woman, the tabernacle of the Fathers love and the Ark of the Covenant shows us how to give a generous yes to God. She continues to teach us how to rejoice, how to be gratefully aware of Gods marvels; how to cultivate simplicity and transparency in our relationships; how to create communities that pray (like the one in the Upper Room) and that welcome (like the one at Nazareth.)

She is the woman who united in an admirable way the service of obedience and the service of charity. Mary offered the service of obedience to the Lord when she said: Be it done to me according to your word. Immediately afterwards she offered the service of charity, setting off for Elizabeth?s house to offer her consolation, joy, and the salvation of God, the God who had already taken flesh in her virginal womb. From Cana, Do whatever He tell you, to Jerusalem, in silence at the foot of the cross, Mary teaches us how to live obedience to God and charity towards people.
Taormina group
March 5, 2008


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