The Marist Brothers’ Province of the United States now consists of 154 brothers, 85 of whom are retired and 69 are still in the active work force. Over 100 participated in an assembly from 20 to 24 July, in New Jersey. It was amazing to experience the vitality still present among these men who ranged from our youngest to some in their 90’s. The energy which was generated in the presentations and discussions around the topics of mission, prayer and community filled us all with hope, confidence and motivation to continue to live our Marist Brotherhood with the zeal we had when we first entered. Indeed, the theme was a “New Way of Being Brother”, which translated into some basics that Fr. Champagnat instituted at our very beginnings. Strong among these is the “power of presence”: being aware of the power provided by God’s abiding presence and love, enabling us to “do the impossible.” Again it was affirmed that God answers prayers, and works through us to help others simply by our presence and actions, not necessarily by our words. Seeing the presence of God in others enables us to bond with them as we realize that God loves us through them as he is showing his love to them through us.
The power generated by this equation, for example, is enabling a new community comprised of Brothers from the region of Arco Norte to take shape in Spanish Harlem to address the dire needs of recent immigrants. Thank God the Marist Brothers are again present to the needs of the times and are there to supply help and guidance as we were in post-revolutionary France. Age does not seem to be a hindrance to new and exciting endeavors, but brings the wisdom gained through experience to the POWER OF PRESENCE.