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The new land (1)

 

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The paths of the General Chapter

04/01/2011: General House

The Document of the XXI General Chapter is entitled: « With Mary, go in haste to a new land ». It summarises what the Capitulants called « the fundamental call ». It is a significant thing for us Marists that this call should be placed under the protection of Mary, the first missionary of Christ.This « new land » to which we must go in haste is something of a mystery. It remains a place to be discovered. It is like a utopia, like the star of the Magi, it is an aptitude for dreaming, a door open on the future. It awakens new energy. For Abraham the “new land” was the great unknown also. For the people of Israel the « promised land » was also at first « a utopia », the first fruit of which was to form from what was only a collection of tribes a people, the people of God. The Magi, in their turn, believing in their star, set out towards a new land, where the newborn King was waiting for them. Mary also hastened towards the sign given her by Gabriel, unaware of all the graces that awaited her in the house of Elisabeth. This capacity for dreaming appears often in this document: « Together we have dreamed about our future and have discovered the fundamental call that God has for us today » (Doc. of the General Chapter, p. 17). The dream is also strongly present in Water from the Rock; the title of art. 155, page 84, is significant: « Seeing new visions, dreaming new dreams. »« New land » ? Still, as Pascal makes God say: « You would not be looking for me if you had not already found me ». So we have the feeling that this « new land » is in some way not at all unknown to us, but where we have already lived.« This new land » is, above all, the child forming in Mary, who is brand new in her, whom she discovers day after day, and who brings us the eternal novelty of a God who is always young. Jesus is the new land, capable of giving us « new heavens and a new earth ». Jesus is the first to whom we must go in haste; he is the first to discover, the first in whom we must dwell, and the only new land whom we can help others discover, especially the young. On this route, Mary is the first and she is the mother, for Jesus reveals himself in love. The womb carrying this new land is the Annunciation, the missionary course, the Magnificat: Mary.But if the way which leads to Jesus is love, there is another land to renew, and that is our own heart. Jesus and Mary cause us to journey into our own inner life, so that our life may become a sanctuary of the Lord, rich with the single treasure we can offer others. It is in this sense that Br. Emili, S.G. leads his reflection in presenting the Document of the General Chapter: « I doubt very much that such an important challenge on the collective level as « go in haste, with Mary, to a new land » can be carried out, if at the same time there is no movement, no interior journey on the part of each one of us. » This land is also quite familiar to us already, yet there are continents to be discovered in ourselves. Mary, who made her heart and her womb the sanctuary of the Word, can be a true guide for us: « With Mary, go in haste to the new land of our own interior ».This route towards the heart is the way that makes our family « a new land ». « New land », to be cultivated with great care, all the Marist laity inspired by the document Around the same table. It is a wholly interior process. Our family can become a new land, crammed with possibilities, if it moves towards Jesus, if it lets itself be inspired by Mary, if it knows how to renew its heart and make it generous. ________________Giovanni Bigotto, fms

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