Pope Francis says "Jesus Christ is the Master of life and truth, the way to follow to become men and women in fullness, and the Holy Spirit is the interior Master who forms Christ in us." to Educators FULL TEXT
ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
TO PARTICIPANTS IN THE GENERAL CONFERENCE OF MARIST BROTHERS
Thursday, 24 March 2022
Dear brothers, good morning and welcome!
I thank the Superior General for his words and I greet all of you who participate in the General Conference of your Institute, a very important appointment that convenes you every eight years, between two General Chapters.
It is therefore a strong moment of reflection, of reading the signs of the times, and also of verifying how the journey is going and how the indications given by the previous Chapter are received. But not looking back, always looking forward! Like someone who is at the helm of a boat: to see if the course is correct he does not look at the wake behind, but looks forward, keeping an eye on two or three reference points that give him orientation. I imagine that you too have verified the path on the basis of some fixed points. And the first fixed point is the Word of God. We are in Lent, and the Mother Church calls us to put things back in the right order: in the first place God and his Word. It's easy to say, but it's not easy to do! Especially when the Word asks us to "look beyond", to "look beyond", as the title of your Conference says. Beyond what? Of the worldly mentality, beyond short-term interests, beyond a partial perspective, in order to be able to open up to the horizon of a universal fraternity. But always beyond.
It seems to me that this is precisely the perspective you have chosen for your works these days, in order to be able to serve in the best way a family - that of the Marist Brothers - which is multicultural and multiethnic, and which therefore asks you to overcome borders. , not so much geographical, but mentality. This does not mean detaching oneself from one's roots, absolutely not! There is no contradiction between faithfulness to the roots and universal openness, it is continuity, it is normal growth. On the contrary, according to the model of Christ the Lord, it is precisely by remaining faithful to the end of the pact of love with the people entrusted to us that our service becomes fruitful for all, through the power of God's grace. the fecundity that makes us look forward with strength.
For the Marist Brothers, this means remaining faithful to the education and evangelization service of the young, according to the charism of Saint Marcellin Champagnat. He knew how to "look beyond", and he knew how to teach young people to "look beyond", to open themselves to God, to the horizons of love according to the Gospel. He was guided by the example of the Virgin Mary, the "good Mother", as he said: Mary was a little woman from a suburban village, but her heart looked beyond, she had the horizon of the Kingdom of God, she it was open. And this is reflected in the Magnificat , where God's plan of salvation resounds through the voice of her humble servant. What is more beautiful, more effective than the Magnificat to educate a girl or a boy to open up to God and to his loving plan? The Magnificat contains a vision of life and history; it is a school of faith and prayer, which frees one from being closed in on oneself and from all spiritualism, and shows the joy of believing, hoping and loving according to the Gospel of Christ.
All this, dear brothers, belongs to you, belongs to your roots and your heritage, and asks to always be conjugated with the changing reality, with the characteristics of the new generations. For example, young people are showing sensitivity and interest in ecology. There is a great field of education here; because unfortunately the worldly mentality - allow me the pun - also pollutes ecology, reduces it, makes it ideological and superficial. Instead, God's horizon is that of an integral ecology, which always holds together the environmental and social dimensions, the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor. Children, young people and young people are predisposed to become guardians of creation, but they need to learn that this is not reduced to slogans, it is not just a denunciation, but a way of life, it requires patience, fortitude, temperance, justice. In short, one is not born as a custodian of creation, but one becomes one with an educational journey.
This also belongs to you. And the example I gave on ecology can be applied to other fields, such as social and political commitment, such as the field of communication, or even before that of study and work, seen from a perspective of integral promotion of person. But above all, as religious, spiritual education belongs to you, which is the basis of integral growth. This belongs to you as religious: spiritual education. Jesus Christ is the Master of life and truth, the way to follow to become men and women in fullness, and the Holy Spirit is the interior Master who forms Christ in us. What a vocation, what a mission, brothers, to cooperate with Christ and the Spirit to accompany young people in this adventure! It is really too big for us, poor sinners.
This is what I wish for you and all your brothers around the world. Looking beyond to educate to look beyond , with Mary, in the footsteps of the Lord Jesus. And this is precisely the strongest denunciation against the Enlightenment conception of education, that is, copying ideas, ideas, ideas ... No. Educating to look beyond to teach look over. This destroys the whole static and enlightenment, ideological conception of education. Education is a challenge to the whole person: to people's thoughts, feelings and work. But this must look further.
May the Holy Spirit enlighten you and comfort you always on your journey and in your service. And also my blessing accompany you. And you, please, do not forget to pray for me, because this work is not easy!