Recent news about gas attacks in Aleppo, Syria, reminded me that just about a month ago, Joe and Carla Hallak spoke at our faculty retreat about their Marist experience there. As you may recall, Joe and Carla explained that when the government nationalized all schools, the Marist Brothers and Marist Laity in Aleppo had to rethink what it meant to be Marist. They created “Marist Scouts” for kids, programs for families, and most notably the “Blue Marist” movement as a response to the needs of the Christians and Muslims trapped in the war-ravaged part of Aleppo.
Carla Hallak spoke of a conversation with Brother George, the leader of the Blue Marist movement, who, when asked “What does it mean to be Marist?” responded, “To be Marist means to be the ears of God.” I find this a very interesting answer: In a world where we are bombarded by “words,” we are being challenged to listen to the other.
Advent, which begins this Sunday, is an interesting paradox. In a season noted for its busyness, we are advised to slow down and to listen and, perhaps, to be the ears of God. Slow down? Listen? What?
Perhaps the reflective listening of Advent is just the antidote we need to move from the secular overload of the so-called “holiday season” to a deeper desire for and appreciation of the Advent and Christmas season.
This Monday Minute is from Br. Hank Hammer, FMS