11/02/2024

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Uniting for a Prophetic Consecrated Life

Uniting for a Prophetic Consecrated Life

 

Interview with Ernesto Sanchez Barba, Superior General of the Marist Brothers Congregation, during the joint meeting UISG-USG (November 22-24, 2023).

 

Of course, the first impression is that the dynamic that has taken place in this Synod, with round tables, with more listening, and practically all of us feeling that we are brothers, regardless of our role or the role we have, has been very positive. For me it has been a great learning experience. Also what the Pope was telling us, let us be attentive to listen to each other, but to listen to the Spirit.

The dynamic of silence, of listening, really helped us to discover what the Spirit is saying to us for our days in the various topics we talked about. A fragile Church, a Church that needs to connect better with the world, and for me that was the great richness. New doors have been opened in the Church for dialogue between the Pope, the cardinals, the bishops, the religious men and women, the laity, and this is a great novelty. At least I can express it as a beautiful experience and a privilege. To be a prophet of hope is a challenge.

 

The Synod itself has said that religious life has been prophetic, practically since its birth, and we are invited to continue to be prophetic. The Pope reminded us by saying, let us try to read better what is happening in the world and how we can respond better as religious men and women.

 

Religious life has been prophetic, practically since its inception, and we are invited to continue being so.

 

This assembly has been very rich: we have listened to each other, we have seen the great variety of charisms that we have from the Spirit, because each one, each congregation has its own charism, but the richness is complementary, both men and women, religious men and women.

 

I think that this assembly, which is the first one in person (two or three years ago there was already one online) has been very rich because, well, we have felt that we are living consecrated life in a not easy world and that we also have to be very attentive to the fact that the change that calls us to the Spirit, if we do not try to do it, first, personally, from a conversion, and second, discovering what it is that holds us back, it will be difficult to move forward. And, of course, as religious men and women, to connect much better with the bishops, the priests, the laity.

 

That is the way I believe that, in a synodal way, we can move forward. I think it is important to join forces more. We have some projects like the one in South Sudan, for example, which we are also doing together, which has been going on for several years. I think we must open our door more to our personal congregation to really feel stronger together and especially at a time of fragility. We know that the numbers of vocations are not high in recent years and yet, by coming together, we can be stronger and, above all, witnesses to that prophecy to which we are being invited.

 

Today there are two Unions here in Rome, but we know that in so many countries there is already one Union working together. I believe that here, in one way or another, the structure will perhaps be modified, but more and more we will have to work together, because I believe that this is the synodal call of this moment.

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