2007-12-19 MEXICO

The Family, the Domestic Church, the Salvation of the World

On October 26 ? 28, 2007, more than 160 members of the various Marist Brother Fraternities of Mexico gathered in order to spend a weekend together, a weekend of joy, learning and community. The assembly was held in the John Paul II Pastoral Center, a delightfully located retreat house in San Juan de los Lagos, Jalisco State, about eighty kilometers from Aguascalientes, the site of the host Fraternity, ?Nuestra Señora del la Asunción.?

The meeting began in an atmosphere of great warmth, because each of was given a beautiful jacket with two logos, one in honor of the encounter we were beginning, the other in honor of the Spirituality Year. Such a unique jacket will serve not merely to chase the cold out of bodies; it will warm our hearts as well. The manner in which we were welcomed into the rooms allowed us to prepare ourselves for other wonderful surprises of the assembly. The comments made before the meals were an invitation to reflect and relax, helping us as well to feel at ease with the other participants and with all the fraternities. Conversation at table with the Brothers was so pleasant as to make us forget about dessert.

Father Miguel Jiménez invited us to establish our project of family life by taking Jesus as our guide and master. Doctor Jesus Lomelí remarked that the family is of such importance that all of us must consider it the best of all schools, and even more, as the most sacred of all sanctuaries. Brother Luigi Lovato, religious of the Holy Family, showed how the Blessed Trinity also forms a family, with distinct personalities within the same Divinity.

The experiences of the weekend were quite deep, especially the one which helped us to ponder the example which was given us – without words – by our parents. Such example we ourselves as parents are now giving to our children . Brother Enrique Escobar helped us to benefit from this exercise.

All the individuals who gave the conferences prepared us to dedicate ourselves to the most important part of our meeting: an true encounter with ourselves as members of a family within God?s plan. The fact that we are ministers of the domestic community suggests that we be open to the idea of sharing with other families the experiences we have in our own homes.

Brother Pau reminded us that the Marist calling consists not only in the vocation to be a Marist Brother but also in the calling to be lay people who work with a Marist heart: in their family, in the place where they work for a better world. The family is, for father and mother, their first apostolate even if not the only one.

In asking ourselves, ?How much of your day do you dedicate to God??, we perceived that we ought to be praying more frequently in the family. Prayer is the true power which unites and protects us as family since it is the greatest force for uniting us with God. As a result many of the persons at the meeting made a specific commitment to family prayer.

It was a meeting that filled us with joy and peace. It was a meeting in which we learned a great deal from the speakers and also from the attitudes and values of the participants. We learned to develp a presence to others which is attentive and well disposed, to show simple deeds of kindness in our works and actions. During the meeting we found our hearts echoing with the words, ?Good Mother, bless and protect our families.?

Zandra Llamas – Fraternidad Nuestra Señora de la Asunción – Aguascalientes, México


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