In the context of the meeting Lasallian Region of Latin America (RELAL) with the Superior General and his Council in Medellin (Colombia), on Friday 8 September Brother Armin Luistro, Superior General, addressed the participants in the meeting and all Lasallians in the Region through the social networks of RELAL, sharing a message of hope, with “prophetic audacity” and in the light of the Gospel, which is also situated in the perspective of conversion raised by the 46th General Chapter.
Mary on the Exodus Pathway
In recalling the feast of the Nativity of Mary, Brother Armin emphasised her “widespread devotion” among the Amerindian peoples and their cultures, reaffirming with the bishops of this continent that “Mary belongs to the identity of the Latin American nations, especially in situations of danger and oppression” (Puebla 283).
As a pilgrim, Mary has accompanied Christian communities in hope and on the Exodus journey. “May her joyous ‘yes’ open our hearts to a loving encounter with our brothers and sisters on the peripheries”, Brother Superior General proposed, recalling also the need to “dare to enter, once again, into deep waters”, for “it is among the least and with them that the last General Chapter invites us to seek new pathways and new life for them and for ourselves”, he said.
Embracing an Amazonian face
In his reflection, Br Armin also underlined the sensitivity of Lasallians to the wounds, pain, injustices and violence that threaten and undermine the life of the Amazon and its peoples. “In this sacred space, our hearts are painfully aware not only of human suffering, but also of Creation that groans and seeks salvation,” he said, evoking one of the four dreams of Pope Francis in the post-synodal apostolic exhortation Dear Amazonia: “I dream of Christian communities capable of generous commitment, incarnate in Amazon region, and giving the Church new faces with Amazonian features” (QAm 7). “Should not our educational ministry and our Lasallian fraternity also take on an Amazonian face?
Indeed, “the 46th General Chapter has called for a paradigm shift in our institutional leadership and mindset,” he continued, warning of the need to embrace “our own vulnerability, with our limits, with our frailties, with our own poverty”, to recognise that “we have become victims of personal and institutional successes in so many parts of the world where the Lasallian mission is firmly established“.
Five calls to conversion
The call to conversion links Lasallians to the journey of a more synodal Church, and Br Armin has emphasised this by proposing five scenarios for personal and institutional change and transformation:
- From a Church of the Magisterium to a Church that listens.
- From a teaching congregation to a learning community.
- From a sage at centre stage, to a guide who stands at the side.
- From an expert with a big ego, to an apprentice with a humble heart.
- From an exclusive club of Brothers of a renowned Congregation, to becoming little sisters and brothers for those ‘far from salvation’.
Going out to the peripheries
“It is providential that the Lasallian journey to the peripheries adopts the same spirit of the Synod of the Church on synodality”, the Superior General asserted, assuring that together with his Council (Squadra) “we are convinced that we must undertake the pathway of blessed fragility that leads to a real fraternity and synodality”. Such a journey “is at the heart of the evangelical invitation to be leaven for the world, to be a mustard seed for the earth”, because “we must not be afraid of the darkness, but dare to share our light”.
“Dear Brothers and fellow Lasallians, with prophetic audacity, we dare to proclaim this Gospel story today. We are Lasallians, we live history, we claim the miracle, we celebrate love,” concluded Brother Armin.