Friday, 09 October 2015

The Forge in the congregational journey


The Forge is not an end we want to magnify, but a means to ensure that our missionary vocation is now fully alive to serve the Kingdom. After each General Chapter, the General Government has put into practice some means to achieve the goals of the respective Chapter. Thus:

1) 1967: affirmation of our identity in the Church as servants of the Word. The most decisive source was the Council constitution Lumen Gentium. The Chapter responds to our crisis of identity. Reflection meetings were held in the whole congregation, with meetings, weeks of study, retreats, etc.

2) 1973: affirmation of the community in the world and at the service of the Church. Our religious and apostolic life is viewed from Gaudium et Spes, Evangelica Testificatio, the Synod on Justice and Octogesima Adveniens. A key event is MedellĂ­n (1968). The Chapter responds to the crisis of community belonging. An animation Commission was established. It consisted of several members of the General Government and other Claretians from different continents.

3) 1979: focus on mission. The benchmarks are: Ad Gentes, Evangelii Nuntiandi, Mutuae Relationes, Puebla. MCT is developed and the text of the renewed Constitutions was ready for approval. Responding to the crisis of missionary availability. The process of revision of positions starts.

These three Chapters clarified the main thrusts of our missionary life: Identity, Community and Mission. They opened a new cycle that will be marked by the guidelines contained in the Constitutions (n. 155). The following Chapters will always depart from the previous three ones, as constituent Chapters, but they were very attentive also to the social and ecclesial contexts of their time.

4) In 1985, the Chapter reviews the process of renewal and tries to re-launch it by paying a special attention to the person. Some changes were made in the Constitutions in accordance with the newly enacted Code of Canon Law (1983). The Chapter proposes to live from the Spirit to overcome the present crisis that can be called foundation crisis. The following six-year period was devoted to making known the new Constitutions, with their commentary and many retreats on them.

5) In 1991, the Chapter affirms our contribution to the call to the new evangelization: we are listeners and servants of the Word. The Word of God is settled at the center of our missionary life. Strongly influenced by Redemptoris Missio. The Word-Mission project is implemented as a means to promote our service to the Word. The redaction of the General Plan of Formation as well as the beginning of the restructuring of our Organisms were also fruits of the Chapter.

6) The 1997 General Chapter highlights the prophetic dimension of our missionary service of the Word. Influence from the post-synodal Exhortation Vita Consecrata. After the Chapter, various meetings are held on the Missionary Service of the Word. The Word-Mission Project continues. Special attention is given to the new foundations. The Forge experience -initiated in the province of Castilla- is extended to the entire congregation. The General Government promulgates the Vocational Directory and organizes various meetings to make it known.

7) The 2003 Chapter accentuates the prophetic dimension of our missionary service of the Word so that men and women of our time may have life to the full. Some of the inspiring texts were the letter of John Paul II Novo Millennio inneunte and the instruction Starting Afresh from Christ. Workshops were held: "Do to others" and "On the unbelief." CESC is founded in Vic. We celebrated the bicentenary of the birth of Claret.

8) In 2009, the General Chapter made an analysis of the strongest concerns of the congregation. It insisted on some issues like identity, belonging and availability in light of the definition of the missionary. Among other proposals, it emerges the FORGE IN OUR DAILY LIFE.

Going through the Chapter declaration “Men on Fire with God’s Love”, one can appreciate the urgent calls of the world, the Church and the Congregation. Today we are all challenged in the most essential of our missionary vocation, both by the positive data that we see in the lives of our brothers and communities as well as by what we need to achieve.

Our main concern should be the quality of our life and our missionary zeal. We must overcome a huge number of obstacles that are making our life and missionary service irrelevant, routine and mediocre. Community life is collapsing in many places and motivations to face the most urgent needs are blocked. We are seduced by the desire for welfare. Many do not want to be touched …

The Forge in our daily life is a project that prepares us to respond to the critical calls made by the Chapter. In order to accept it we must look at ourselves in and confess how we are. We have to ask for the gift of conversion to what is central in our missionary life: burning love. In all of us, from our vocational grace comes a special longing for being true and loyal sons of the Heart of Mary. With a little generosity, we put all our efforts in taking this tool of growth in our missionary life. If we warmly welcome it, certainly we will be able to encourage both our brothers and Organisms.


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