THE DEVELOPMENT OF MARIST SPIRITUALITY.
In the FMS Message, no 39, Br Andre Lanfrey of the International Patrimony Committee states: “Our Marist Spirituality rests on three original pillars: Champagnat, the consecration of Fourviere and the active interpretation of the Brothers. Thrtough his father, Champagnat was the inheritor of a renewed Catholicism seeking to raise up Christians more conscious of their dignity and their responsibilities, The Documents reveal to us four stages in the construction of his personal spirituality: the irrevocable decision to become a priest (1804), the concern to teach rich and poor (1812), the intimate link with Mary manifested in the expression: “I am your slave” (1815). Finally, if Marcellin adhered without reserve to the Society of Mary project in 1816, it was in affirming that: “we need Brothers”.
“During the following twenty years (after Champagnat’s death) the spirituality assumed definite shape in grand syntheses such as: the Circular on the Spirit of Faith (1848-53), the Common Rules (1852), the Teachers’ Guide (1853), the Manual of Piety (Christian Perfection) (1855) and the Life of the Founder (1856).”
This spirituality has continued to develop and is now reformulated in “Water from the Rock”.
Quotes from Water from the Rock
4. Ever more deeply they discovered the presence of God in their midst, and learnt to rely upon Providence. Together they developed a thirst for Jesus and for following him in Mary’s way. They developed a love of Mary as a sure way of centring their hearts on Jesus. They competed with each other to help someone in need.
5. Like Mary setting out in haste to the hill country, 13 each week they went out into the surrounding hamlets to make Jesus known and loved. They cared for poor children and welcomed them into their home.14
6. The group’s way of living the Gospel was a reflection of the character, values, and spirituality of its leader, Marcellin Champagnat. His spirituality was deeply influenced by his own personality. His first disciples remembered with affection the Marcellin they knew: open, frank, resolute, courageous, enthusiastic, constant and equable.15 His whole life gave witness of a person with a practical disposition, a man of action, and of humility. This enabled him to draw together from various sources a simple and down-to-earth spirituality.16
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