Maristenbibel Grußwort von Provinzial Frater Brendan Geary
Some years ago, I was told that one of the questions that appeared in a Latin American Catechism was, “Why did God make people?” The answer was; “Because he loves stories.”
The Bible is full of stories, and the stories lend themselves to art. All through the ages people have found ways to turn Bible stories into art – either through carvings, stained glass windows, illuminated manuscripts, line drawings, paintings, plays, musicals, or films. The book that you have in front of you brings the insights, skills, artistic talent, faith and spirituality – and sense of fun – of young people in Marist schools in Germany to the centuries-old impulse to communicate the Bible message with art.
This is a wonderful and entirely appropriate way to celebrate the Bicentenary of the foundation of the Marist Institute in January, 1817. Fr. Champagnat, our Founder, had a great love of scripture. From the retreat notes of Br. Francois, our first Superior General and successor of the Founder, we learn that Fr. Champagnat was drawn to St. John’s Gospel, especially the stories of personal encounters of Jesus with other people: with his mother at the Marriage Feast at Cana, with the Samaritan woman, with the sick man at the Pool of Bethzatha, with Nicodemus, with the woman caught committing adultery, and so on. Marcellin Champagnat was a man who had a gift for relationships, and it is no surprise that he was attracted to these stories, and that his gift for relationships is one of the treasured inheritances of Marists throughout the world.
A book which brings the skills and insights of young people to communicating the Bible in a fresh way would have been close to the heart of St. Marcellin, and is a fitting way to celebrate the Bicentenary of the Institute. The other side of the story of this unique Bible, is the story of the people in Marist schools who were intrigued with this project, who invited young people to participate, and who saw the project through to publication. Another wonderful Marist story of human relationships and friendships. I want to thank the following people who have been involved in this inspiring project:
- Johanna Aschenbrenner
- Christian Haringer
- Hans Staudner
- Doris Lutsch
- Dr. Wolfgang Groh
- Frater Michael
- Wolfgang Hacker
- Frater Franz-Xaver
As you read through this Bible, you will notice that some stories appear twice. The simple truth is that the editors were impressed by different versions of the same story, and wanted to include them both. I am sure you will agree that the results justify this decision to be inclusive – another Marist value.
The publication of this Marist Bible is a sign of the growing collaboration between the Marist schools in Germany, something that we hope will grow and continue in the years ahead. The Bible will stand as testimony to the celebration of the Bicentenary. The promotion of Marist Spirit in Marist schools in the years ahead will be evidence that the spirit of co-operation has taken root.
I trust that in reading this bible, you will be impressed by the creativity of the young people. And inspired to read these bible stories afresh.
Brother Brendan Geary,
6 th November, 2017