Lettera Madre 20 febbraio 2014
SUORE DELLA PROVVIDENZA ROSMINIANE
20 February 2014
My dear Sisters
Often when the ‘odds are against us’ we become stronger because there is only one sensible thing to do: trust in Almighty God. We are familiar with the account of how Antonio Rosmini left the comfortof Milan for Monte Calvario where he discovered not only the absence of his friend Loewenbruckbutfor his dwelling a dilapidated and austere building “near the ruins of an ancient castle which seems like one of the temptations of S. Anthony the Abbot”(EA, Vol I, let. 111).
On 20 February 1828, Ash Wednesday,he celebrates Mass, receivesthe ashes on his head, and spends the next few months in fasting and prayer trying to discern what God wants of him in relation to the foundationof the new Society.From his letters over this period we get some understanding of his thoughts and experienceat this time.
Towards the end of Lent, on the Wednesday of Holy Week he writes:“I am here on a mountain which, with its solitude and its reminders of the mysteries of the Passion of Christ, seems to me at once a paradise and a place of suffering. This place is well suited to raise our thoughts to eternity, to Christ who dwells there and to his mercy. (EA vol 1 no.41)
Here in ‘this place’of contrasts –the poverty and solitude of the dwelling set against the breath-takingbeauty of the surrounding mountains, we catch a glimpse of Rosmini’sintimate encounter with God, of his interior richness.This time of discernment and waiting is also for hima time of deep awareness.It is out of this awareness,that hiscomplete trust in the goodness of God grows – a trust which isalmost tangible: what is the Spirit of God inviting me to be or do in this situation?And here, from a letter written in May – he is still in Calvario, we get an insight into his thought and disposition:“But if it is God who does the calling, he must give the guarantee, and he is both faithful and true. Let us obey his voice and put our trust in his mercy…let us abandon ourselves to Providence. If you can offer only a little to God, it will be welcome, provided it is all that you have. The widow in the gospel offered little, but her two mites were accepted because it was all she possessed. St Peter, when he left his boat and his nets, had little enough; but he had reason for confidence, because he had abandoned all he possessed and could say to the Lord, We have left all things. But we must remember that our‘all’ comprises not only the present but the future too — all that we may have, not just all we now have. If your offering is of this kind, then trust in Providence”. (EA. Vol 1 no.44)
Here on ‘this mountain’, right at the beginning – his‘vision’ of the Society – we see thesignificancefor Rosmini of the two-fold commandment of love found in the Synoptic gospels also forming part of theintro to Maxims and re-echoed throughout his writing: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind’, and ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself’.” (Mt 22:37-39).We see this all-encompassing concept of love in Rosmini:he is prepared to move from a contemplative state to an active one; ready ‘to leave God for God’:“I want only to abandon myself to divine Providence, to live in humility and peace, with no desire except for holiness, without disquiet, but with constancy and a will ready for action”.(EA. Vol 1 no 43)
This two-fold form of love may also present us with the question: what I am prepared to sacrifice for the salvation of others?The reason Jesus gives is love, as he shows us on Calvary.
There are many letters written from Calvario expressing his sentiments – thesefewenable us toinstinctively tune intoRosmini’s personal relationship with God at this timeandalso to seehis clear vision of the Society: he believes and he waits. His focus is clear and he is secure in God’s will. It seems the Society in embryo is already presentonMonte Calvario, waiting to be born; even so,Rosmini is in no hurry but leaves himself totally in the arms of Providence as to its future.
This ‘new vision’ of Rosmini’s resonates with us today 20 February 2014. With gratitudewe remember our ‘beginnings’on Monte Calvario as we continuewalking towards the future with “all that we may have, not just all we now have … ‘all’ comprises not only the present but the future too”.When we accept God’s timing, relying completely on him, we learn to live in hope and enjoy our lives, experiencing deep peace and happiness because we know when we entrust our ‘all’ to Him, his plan for our lives is good.
Happy Feast of the Cell to each one and a good journey of Lent,
as we follow the theme of Pope Francis:
“He became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich”.
(2 Cor 8:9)
May Mary, who is poor in spirit, accompany us on our Lenten path towards Easter.
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