Br. Tony Leon, FMS
Just when I thought I knew what it is to be a Marist Brother, I realise that it is far more exciting than what I first imagined when I joined 33 years ago. It is like continually discovering Narnia at the back of the wardrobe. In my years as a brother, I have been blessed with ministries with spirited youths and dedicated Marist educators throughout Australia.
However, my call is now beyond the familiar wide brown land and into foreign places where new cultures and languages challenge my perspective of fraternity, and it is blessing me with meanings in being brother in a new way. There is a deep joy in always discovering new ways of living my vocation.
Everyday may not be good but there is always something good in each day and when I am troubled by how and where I can be a brother for others, I am encouraged by what Jesus said to Peter,“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
How do I respond to the Gospel in the Way of Mary?
At the Annunciation, Mary gave her commitment to God’s invitation without actually understanding the complete consequence of her agreement. She may only have signed her life’s blank cheque for God on the strength of the angel’s promise that ‘The Lord is with You’. No pre-natal contracts with escape clauses were included. And look what happened to her and to her son!
I sense a strong affinity with Mary’s story with giving my response to God’s call, based on my faith in God’s unreasonable love for me. I am still discovering the cost of my Marist Brothers vocation as the years pass and yet discovering the many riches of sharing brotherhood with the abundance of impressive Marist men and women around the world. Mary gave her promise at the Annunciation, she gave her courage at the foot of the cross and she gave her solidarity at Pentecost: Mary’s way for me is to be a strong and gentle giver. It may seem crazy to give one’s life to God, however I have come to realize that should I want a full life, I must give it away. The young Anne Frank eloquently expressed it this way in her famous diary.“No one has become poor by giving.”
May you discover the growing abundance of God’s love in you as you share yourself with others!
Brother Tony has taught Visual Arts and Studies of Religion in NSW and ACT. In recent years, he worked in the areas of Vocation and Youth Ministries as well as with the Marist Life Formation team. Tony is currently the Co-Director of the Brothers Today Secretariat in Rome.