During our EMLC delegates' Zoom meeting in July, we had the pleasure of getting to know the new European Provincial Delegate for Marist Laity, Fr Antonio Aira (Italy), who has taken over from Fr Jan Hulshof.
With Father Antonio, it was decided to continue with the circular letter that Father Jan looked after for several years—thank you to him for all he did for this networking.
This new digital letter will come out twice a year, with an increasing involvement of the Lay People. Its purpose is to share information and resources between Marist Lay-People in Europe, but also to become an effective means of fraternal communication between them and the religious of the Society of Mary in Europe — even more necessary at this time when distance between us seems to have expanded!
Thank you to all who will work together, offer suggestions, and share their experiences and reflections on Marist Laity. May the light of Jesus, born to give new courage to our world, shine in the hearts of each one.
The lay delegates of the EMLC.
From Father Antionio sm
The Marist mission is to be this presence of Mary at work for the good of the Church and the salvation of the world currently. Time is a gift that is given to us and entrusted to us by the love of God and most be lived as an opportunity to 'trigger processes', overcoming the temptation to occupy spaces!
We are small and fragile, but it is through our frailties that God's strength is manifested, it is with our little things that God accomplishes 'great things'.
In the present time - made even more difficult by the pandemic, which causes fear, which makes people close in on themselves, which fragments rather than unites, which creates dependency on the forces of darkness - and from this time we are called to cultivate the greatest and most authentic values, to bring out the beauty of the human being - the most precious work of God - and to take hold of the seeds of the Kingdom so that a new age may begin to sprout from simpler and more ancient things. We recognize the signs of the times currently revealing themselves and allow them to develop:
No one saves himself on his/her own; every evil, every tear, each death is a defeat for the whole of humanity. This is an awareness that is starting to emerge.
Everything can change, everything can be rethought, everything must be judged on how much it does or does not have the good of the person at its centre, the salvation of every woman and man.
Starting again from the things that matter and making them emerge in beauty and in their own value. Starting over, rediscovering the meaning of the noblest activities of the person:
The economy of wise administrators of the common good.
Politics as the art of seeking and implementing solutions to problems, knowing that they are true solutions only if they achieve a little more justice and equity, a little more respect for the dignity of each person, a little more sociability, community, fraternity.
Culture as an expression of the spirituality proper to the human person.
Work as the participation of women and men in the care of creation and in the development of the talents that God has given to each one for the common good. It is with work that the human person expresses his dignity and realizes himself. No to work that enslaves!
These are our times, of we Marists who start afresh from the heritage left to us by Fr. Colin:
To seek the good of the Church, starting from the spirit of the Bugey missions.
To seek the good of humanity, making ourselves instruments of mercy, the presence of 'motherhood' alongside every form of being orphaned, trying to be a support alongside every fragility. Laity and religious, pastoral workers and priests, all with the prayer, zeal and freedom that is given to us by feeling called, loved and supported by Mary, with a humble action, more or less hidden, but true and effective, because we let Mary herself act through our littleness, let us trigger processes of evangelization, bringing ourselves and our brothers and sisters back to the heart of the Gospel. Every day, like Mary, we feel
welcomed by God ('Rejoice, the Lord is with you'),
reassured by God ('Do not be afraid'),
sent by God ('God's Spirit is with you')
and, like her, we simply say: 'Let it be done to me according to your Word'.