Travelling, as I am, to our foundational places in Europe at the moment, reminds me of the great commitment of our Marist pioneers. They worked hard to establish and develop their lives and mission. This must have required skilled negotiation with authorities within and beyond the Church.
While doing this, we’re told these Brothers were continually conscious of the presence of God. They believed their work was God’s will and they wanted to respond. They listened, discussed, prayed and generally enjoyed what they were doing.
Today we Marists also seek ways to make the world a better place. The prophets around us give us plenty of ideas. Pope Francis inspires us with his teaching using the various means of communication at our disposal. He focuses, for example, on looking after the environment and supporting our refugees.
Naturally we each respond to the needs of today in our own ways and depending on our own contexts. We try to be sensitive to what we hear the Holy Spirit saying to us. Additionally, our Marist networks support us through their own prayers and conversations.
A term being used more frequently today is ‘being contemplatives in action’. This idea has a long history, dating back to the time of St Thomas Aquinas and the early Dominicans. Today Franciscan Richard Rohr, and others, are giving new life to this way of being Christian. Richard Rohr's daily meditation from the Centre for Action and Contemplation gives us ready access to his contemporary synthesis of what the mystics have been describing for centuries - God is within each of us.
Our search for inspiration is always ongoing. We see this exemplified in the changes our Marist pioneers made during their lifetimes. And what is more, inspiration comes to each of us personally and hence is particularly precious to us. Sometimes it can be described in words, at other times it is simply felt. Often, too, it takes time to emerge.
One of the inspirations of Australia’s newly established Marist Association is the opportunity it provides us to meet as other Marists. Together we can discuss our own hopes and dreams for implementing Champagnat's inspiration in our world of today. Formal meetings provide a worthwhile structure for this ongoing dialogue, planning and growth. We benefit from our good leadership, a leadership which both empowers and supports. Although it is early days for our Association, it is important we keep moving forward.
Soon we celebrate Jesus coming among us. May this Christmas be a special time of inspiration for you.