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Shared formation meeting - Miraflores

16/04/2011: Spain

The « Champagnats » with the « Marys »! This was one of the phrases heard amidst the laughing and joking at the moments when brothers and laity exchanged in « couples » during the shared formation meeting in Miraflores, 18 – 20 March 2011.

Each of the dozen brothers chose a numbered image of Champagnat… and each of the dozen lay Marists did the same with the image of Mary. This procedure made us move physically towards one another and then both together towards the point of sharing. The two images from the last General Chapter invited us to leave for « new lands ». And it was really so, in going to meet the other, in confidence, simplicity, and naturally to share feelings, hopes, difficulties… and, in short, life.

In this first of three meetings which complete the process, we concentrated on sharing our journeys of faith and spirituality which unite us as Marists. In the next meeting, we will deepen our common and specific vocations, and in the third, we will be concerned with mission.

As in all meetings of shared formation, the family atmosphere of confidence, joy, and enthusiasm was evident from the beginning. This is not easy to communicate, YOU HAVE TO LIVE IT.

Times of personal reflection alternated with times of sharing in couples, or of reflection in small groups; times of quiet prayer and spontaneous sharing were followed by times of games and fun, promenades in the beautiful area of Miraflores… But the best summaries are the ones each provided:

- I value the family climate and the ease of communication among us and of  SHARING LIFE, not simply ideas. I see this initiative as ONE MORE STEP on the  long road towards the new way of understanding and living the Marist charism becoming alive.

- I retain especially the conviction that we are more in harmony than I imagined at the beginning and the conviction of the importance of doing what we have to do with enthusiasm, of accepting what will happen as a challenge, without paying attention to the fears and the securities of what we have.

- In a close and free encounter, differences are blurred, you see what unites us and you live with AUTHENTICITY. This meeting produces enthusiasm, the feeling that IT IS POSSIBLE TO LIVE SOMETHING NEW TOGETHER.

- I would like to underline the moments of sharing in « couples », for being   persons with very different experiences and lives, we shared in an attitude of affection and trust, even if we did not know each other previously. What fills me with hope is to see elderly brothers here because, having lived another style of life, they are open, and this makes me believe something new is possible.

- To continue to work for the diffusion and the living of the Marist charism with other persons: that is what encourages me!

- Extreme ease among the participants in expressing themselves and communicating with simplicity and depth.

- It has been a gift, for the sharing with those who feel called by God to live the same charism and spirituality is always enriching.

- I have realised anew that I am a privileged person: I can find time to take note that there are are a number of us questioning ourselves about the presence of God in our lives; I have found certain brothers who have helped me perceive the God of kindness, simplicity, service… which makes me serene, peaceful, and gives me the desire to return to my own situation.

- I am taking away the atmosphere of depth, openness, respect, trust and joy, the fact of our « confirming » one another, of encouraging one another to journey, search, trust…

- I emphasize the harmony which has reigned in the transmission of experiences lived. And the family spirit I had the chance of sharing and living.

- IT IS NOT A MATTER OF A FUTURE BET, THIS BET IS THE FUTURE.

 

We invite you then, here and now, to take part in the next formation meetings. Ask those who were there. It is worth the trouble… for it is the future.

Miraflores, 18 – 20 March 2011

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