Saint Augustine, St. Edmund Arrowsmith
The years we will live up to 2017 will be fundamental for discerning Marist mission in the new world. The calls of the 21st Chapter urge us to look for new conceptual and strategic visions for the mission. The conceptual vision will express for us what God desires of us, Marists of Champagnat, in the light of the bicentenary of the Marist foundation and the calls of the General Chapter. The strategic vision will help us take the strategic steps towards constructing this new reality God is proposing to us.
Responding to the calls of the mission in the new world requires fidelity to the dream of Marcellin and great attention to the calls and needs of the children and youth of today. The Chapter asks us for “a strongly significant presence among poor children and young people”. We have already moved some distance in this direction, but we should place our hearts even more with children and youth in peripheral or boundary situations. We must take up the challenge to commit all our mission structures and fronts, independently of the persons we are caring for, in the transformation of the situation, of social justice, of the construction of the project of the Kingdom of God.
To make this step, it is necessary, as the Chapter says, “to see the world through the eyes of poor children and young people”. This means to see the world from below, from the level of the excluded and overlooked of this world, just as Mary and Marcellin saw it. To see the world from below requires a change of position. A sincere, authentic presence, one of solidarity with poor children and youth, favours a personal and institutional conversion of heart. Evangelization and commitment to fullness of life, in conformity with the Gospel, should be in all our mission projects as in our hearts and minds.