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Up Sails! N°29

27 june 2016

In this new release, let's discover the first pilgrimage in Cameroon, the photos of the formation session in South Sudan and many other news from around the world...

Many facets... 
We have placed a small statue, a replica of the Virgin of Autun, in our home in the mountains. For us, it is a way of honouring Mary by placing her at the centre of this family place. Seeing it, one person with a pure and simple faith was spellbound: “Oh how beautiful she is! I really love the Holy Virgin, I often pray to her, I talk to her”. Then, after reflecting for a short while, she added: “Can I ask a question? A question I have never dared to ask the priest, I was too afraid that he would think it a silly question! So, you say it is Our Lady of Autun, but there is also Our Lady of Laus, Notre Dame de la Garde, Notre Dame de Paris… tell me, is there only one Holy Virgin or are there a lot of
them?” We explained to her that Mary has the sole mission of getting us to know her son Jesus and that, for us to be reached where we are, she comes close to the point of resembling us: She forms Metis in Mexico, she spoke dialect to Bernadette… If there are many representations of the Holy Virgin, it is a way for her to be universal and better announce to the world that Jesus, her son, is the Son of God. On the other hand, the representations or icons of Jesus are quite similar: they show us a quite tall man, brown, bearded, Mediterranean looking. Our friend was reassured and we thanked her for asking us a far from silly question! She allowed us to better understand that our Christian identity can be developed in various ways according to our faith and culture, but that it is centred on the person of Jesus Christ. When we are able to meet Jesus, it is certain that he is going to send us on a mission.

It all started at the foot of the cross where his mother and the sister of his mother, Mary, wife of Clopas and Mary Magdalene stood. Jesus, seeing his mother, and close to her the disciple he loved, said to his mother: “Woman, here is your son. Then he said to the disciple: Here is your mother” (Jn 19: 25-27). Through St John, we have become the sons and daughters of Mary. Moreover, the Faith and Light prayer invites us to follow Mary to the cross: Help us to be faithfully present, with her, at the foot of the cross, near the crucified of the world.

At the beginning of July, all the coordinators from the Faith and Light provinces across the whole world are going to meet in Poland for a “Coordinators Council”, a nice big word to name a meeting where, as always in Faith and Light, we are going to celebrate, share and pray together… But there will also be a bit of work: we have all, throughout this year, during our times of sharing as a community, reflected on the questions relating to our identity and our core values. Everything that has been said will serve to start specifying what the identity of Faith and Light is. Without wanting to anticipate or influence this reflection, I truly believe that this identity is both one and many.

It is one like Jesus, the only son of the Father, but it is also many because, like the representations of Mary can be very different so that we can be reached wherever we are, the identity of Faith and Light can develop in various ways depending on our traditions and cultures. All close to one another at the foot of the cross, we arrive with both different and similar stories. I have heard Pope Francis use the polyhedron metaphor. There is something that worries me. Admittedly, globalisation unites us and therefore it has positive sides. However, I find that there is a good and a less good globalisation. The less good can be represented by a sphere: everyone finds themselves at an equal distance from the centre. This first illustration detaches man from himself, it standardises him and ultimately prevents him from expressing himself freely. The best globalisation would rather be a polyhedron. Everyone is united, but each people, each nation keeps its identity, its culture and its richness. The prize for me is this good globalisation, which lets us keep what defines us. This second vision of globalisation allows men to be united whilst keeping their uniqueness, which supports dialogue and mutual under-standing. So that there is dialogue, there is one indispensable condition: start from your own identity. If I am not clear with myself, if I do not know my own religious, cultural and philosophic identity, I cannot address someone else. No dialogue without belonging (Private Audience, 1 March 2016).

All of our places of belonging (province, country, region) must make the structure of Faith and Light International resemble this good globalisation, that of the polyhedron, a geometric figure not very smooth but made up of many facets, which are as many as there are places where the communities can feel good and close to each other. It is, it seems to me, one of the essential conditions for our small communities to shine and be ready to go on a mission to all those who are waiting for us and dream of knowing our joy! And as always in Faith and Light, we will end our meeting with a large celebration: perhaps we’ll dance, lit by small lights reflected in a mirror ball?... read more

Ghislain du Chéné
International coordinator

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