Monday, April 6, 2015

EASTER - Marianist Monday

At Saragossa, Blessed Chaminade experienced the reality of the Church of Jerusalem. Bishops, priests, religious, laypeople all together, helping one another in exile. It was a cross-section of the universal Church, the early Christian community. See how they loved one another. They tried to help each other because the Spanish government would not let them work. While the exiles eked out a living through charity and making figurines and paintings during the day, at night they held discussions together (serious questions about their concerns: their country, their cities, their parishes, their families).

From exile, Blessed Father Chaminade wrote to Marie Thérèse de Lamourous to help sustain her in her struggle during the Revolution. But in the writing he manifests his heart in exile. “What is a faithful soul to do in the chaos of events which seem to swallow it up? Sustain itself calmly by that faith, which while making us adore the eternal plan of God, assures us that to those who love God all things work together for good. Yes, my dear daughter, the good Lord will not abandon you.”(3)

If they were to rebuild the Church in France, Blessed Chaminade knew something had to be done regarding the religious education of the young. He saw his mission as one of cooperating with Mary in making Jesus present in the world once again.

Education in faith became the operational virtue needed to be effective collaborators with the Mother of God. For him, Mary was the sign of something new, creative, dynamic, faith-filled. He knew he had to look at the challenges ahead in an entirely different way from the past. This is one reason why he turned toward starting schools, especially normal schools. He would train the teachers in the faith who would then influence an entire generation.

Fr. Paul Landolfi, S.M.