Advent Letter 2013 Brother Responsible

Dear brothers,
when you have this letter in your hands we will be celebrating
the anniversary of the Easter of Brother Charles, and also the beginning of Advent, or if not we will have already celebrated them. The current importance of his message for our Church today is indisputable. It is not just a spiritual message, a way of living ones faith: it is a way of living. It is to live Nazareth with believers or non-believers, in one’s own culture or
sharing in a totally different culture, it is to be the
presence of the living Jesus not so much in religious
signs, but rather one’s closeness to people while not
being anyone special. Coinciding with the charism of
Brother Charles, Pope Francis tells us we must go to the
outskirts, where one does not hear God spoken of,
where the most abandoned are found, who do not even
express a desire to know God, or live a faith in religions
very different from our own, or where the god of money
imposes its own norms and its own “liturgy”. Each one of us knows what these outskirts are. The language and witness of the Pope truly reach the poor, and we know that it makes many ecclesiastics and powerful people uncomfortable. Others consider him a demagogue and a populist… Reforms do not always appeal to all, because they take us out of our comfort zones or where we have installed ourselves. It is a call to take stock of ourselves if we wish to be reformed, recycled, converted, and discover resistences within ourselves. It is to return to Nazareth, to become a pilgrim, while still living in the same house…
We are following with concern the situation of brothers facing problems in their countries for a variety of reasons: In the Philippines, Central African Republic and Honduras… We are praying for them and their people.
In June I took part with the fraternity of Argentina in their retreat; in October I was with the brothers in Chile. These Latin brothers are “bravos” and fighters. They are prepared to collaborate with hope and joy in the preparation of the next Panamerican Assembly, due to take place, perhaps, in 2015. In January 2014 I will meet the Mexican fraternity in their annual retreat, and this will be an interesting moment to strengthen our bonds as brothers. The Italian fraterntiy received me as a pilgrim at their assembly in Loreto, Ancona in November, and I was able to share their lived experiences, dreams, concerns: the experience of some older brothers who have been involved from the beginning of the fraternity, and who
represented for me a lesson in humility and wisdom.

What a suitable moment this Advent to set aside one or more days in the Desert, in an attitude of listening, giving time to the Lord in solitude, awaiting Him, rather than our interior ‘shows’. Giovanni ZANINELLI, a brother of the Italian fraternity, shared this thought of his with me after the Day in the Desert in Loreto, during the gathering: “The silence was a place for God, but I could not hear His voice. I seemed to feel a sense of emptiness in my spirit, but at the same time one of calm and serenity: a sign
of the closeness of God, of being in his presence.
God is probably speaking in this way. When God
does not speak it is because we do not give him a
chance to speak. We fill the whole time with our
petitions and preoccupations. We speak and do
not allow [Him] to speak. Then you recall Samuel’s
little prayer: ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening’.
God does not speak because we do not know how to await and trust in His word”.
The Desert is essential for our interior life and for the life of the fraternity. The Desert and Adoration cause us to grow in friendship with Jesus and with others. A fraternity of friend-brothers is a small cenacle where we meet not only to pray but also to review our lives and allow others read our hearts as a contemplative moment.
The last weekend of November we celebrated the meeting of the Charles de FOUCAULD Family of Andalucía and Murcia, in Spain and Marc HAYET, who was prior of the Little Brothers of Jesus, accompanied us with the theme, “To make oneself small in order to make oneself a brother“. The experience of the fraternities, meeting different people, the prayer-sharing, the celebration and the word, and listening to Marc, helped us to deepen the
spirituality, the message, the options and the future vision of Brother Charles. The testimony of a Muslim workmate especially left an impression on us: “If I wish to forgive, I must change all my interior rules”. That’s that…
A Holy Advent full of vitality to all! A joyful and fraternal Christmas to all! May our lives make others happy. This is my hearts desire that goes with a hug for each one of you.
Aurelio SANZ BAEZA, brother responsible Perín, Cartagena, Murcia, Spain, 26th November 2013
(Translation of Liam Ó CUÍV; thank you, Liam)

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