2014-03-25 GENERAL HOUSE

To be Brothers Today

 With so many cultures at the General House in Rome, each day begins with the echoes of various morning greetings: “Buenos Días”  “Buongiorno” “Bom Dia”  “Bon Jour” and each day around our Marist world, there are also the sounds of:

To be ‘Brothers Today’ acknowledges our global village is closer than we once realised and that every diocese of the world is indeed at our front door step.

To be ‘Brothers Today’ is mindful of this moment in history: this day, this ‘today’,

and like the various ways one can greet the morning, there are a several ways of interpreting when ‘Today’ begins.  

Today can begin…

  • When the minute hand of the clock informs us at the stroke of midnight.
  • At dawn, when the sun breaks through the horizon.
  • When I wake up and be conscious of the new day.

The concept of ‘Today’ was also in the theme of the General Conference of 2013 – ‘Awakening the Dawn – Prophets and Mystics of Our Time’.  It is a theme rich with opportunities, not only to wake up and be conscious of the realities of today but also to recognise how the sacred presence at this moment, is calling us deeper into our vocation.  

There is much to excite our fraternity in the coming years:

* 2014 is the awakening of the recognition of being ‘New Marists in Mission’ with the Marist International Assembly in Nairobi in September.  

* 2015 is the awakening of the appreciation of being brother in the Church, with the proclaimed Year of Consecrated Life.

* 2017 is the awakening of our celebration of being Marists with the bicentenary of our institute. 

With such considerations, a simple logo has been designed for the ‘BrothersToday’ Secretariat.

It was inspired with a satellite image of the sun dawning over the horizon of earth, illuminating a partial arc of our common home.  The stylised arc becomes the ‘f’ of fms. This incomplete arc, this edge refers to Pope Francis’ recent conversation with the Congregational leaders in Rome in 2013 about the importance of being at the periphery.

“Truly to understand reality we need to move away from the central position of calmness and peacefulness and direct ourselves to the peripheral areas.  Being at the periphery helps to see and to understand better…  the need to become acquainted with reality by experience, to spend more time walking on the periphery in order to become acquainted with the reality and life experiences of people.” (1)

The flash of light on the arc represents the dawn.  It is a stylised cross which echoes the Nativity star on many Christmas decorations.  The dawn can be interpreted as in the realisation of Christ’s presence as “I am the light of the world.  Who ever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) 

Behind the flash of light is a constellation of stars.  The twelve stars represent the traditional twelve stars on Mary’s crown.  The stars are configured to follow the shape of the letter ‘M’.  This is the quiet and abiding presence of Mary with Christ in our charism.

In the poster version of this Brothers Today logo, it incorporates part of the 2013 General Conference logo. The call of being prophets and mystics, especially amongst disadvantaged young people.

This logo was also inspired by the elegant words written by American poet Maya Angelou for the inauguration of President Bill Clinton in 1993.  This extract from the final part of her poem, “On the Pulse of Morning” is most apt for our common daily greeting for each other and our common call to be Sisters and Brothers Today.

“…Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.
History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, but if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.
Lift up your eyes upon the day breaking for you.
Give birth again to the dream…
…Lift up your hearts
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.
Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally to brutishness.
The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out and upon me…
…Here, on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister's eyes,
into Your brother's face…
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.”(2)

Maya Angelou


Antonio Spadaro,S.J, ‘Wake up the World!’ Conversation with Pope Francis about Religious Life.  Viewed on 24 Jan 2014

Maya Angelou, ‘On the Pulse of Morning – Inaugural Poem” 20 Jan 1993 – Viewed 18 Feb 2014


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