To Brother Emili Turú Rofes,
Superior General of the Marist Brothers
It is a pleasure for me to greet you and, through you, the entire Marist family on the occasion of the Bicentenary of the foundation of your Congregation during which you will celebrate your 22nd General Chapter in Colombia.
You are keenly preparing for this event with the motto “A New Beginning”.
This sums up a whole programme of renewal and implies a look at the past with gratitude, a discernment of the present, and an openness to the future with hope. Gratitude is the primary emotion flowing from the heart.
This attitude of thanksgiving is necessary in order to appreciate the great things that God has done through you.
At the same time, giving thanks does us good; it helps us see ourselves as little ones in the eyes of the Lord and as indebted to a tradition freely given to us.
You belong to a large family rich in witnesses who knew how to give their lives out of love for God and neighbour with that spirit of fraternity so characteristic of the Congregation which sees in the other “a dear brother, especially dear to me” (Philemon 16). These two centuries of existence have been transformed in their turn into a great story of devotedness to the children and young people you have welcomed from over the five continents and have formed into good citizens and, in particular, into good Christians.
These works of charity are expressions of the goodness and mercy of God, who, in spite of our limitations and blunders, never forgets his children.
However, it is not enough simply to reflect on the past; it is also necessary to discern the present. It is right for you to examine yourselves and it is good to do this in the light of the Spirit.
To be continued…