Lettera Madre 15 september 2015
SUORE DELLA PROVVIDENZA ROSMINIANE
Loughborough, 12 September 2015
Teach us, O Lord,
with our entire will
all the suffering
that come to us
in any way whatever.
My dear Sisters,
As we know, ‘Our Congregation is Consecrated to Jesus Crucified and to his Mother, Our Lady of Sorrows’ (Const no 9) What does this mean for us, for me?
The 15 September 2015 is drawing near: each one of us looks at Our Lady of Sorrows with her own eyes. At the same time, each one is inevitably drawn from the Mother to her Son, Jesus, Man of Sorrows – the two are inseparable – it is not possible to reflect on the sorrows of the Mother without looking at her Son: and Jesus, at the height of his suffering said to John, to humanity, ‘behold your Mother”.
Benedict XVI draws our attention to the fact that on 14 Sept “we celebrate the Cross of Christ, the instrument of our salvation, which reveals the mercy of our God in all its fullness. The Cross is truly the place where God’s compassion for our world is perfectly manifested. Today, as we celebrate the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows, we contemplate Mary sharing her Son’s compassion for sinners. As Saint Bernard declares, the Mother of Christ entered into the Passion of her Son through her compassion”. (cf. Lourdes, 15 Sept 2008)
From the first moment we hear about Mary, we catch a glimpse of the consternation within her heart in response to the Angel’s message: ‘how can this be?’ Yet she can positively commit to what God wants from her: YES. ‘Let it be done unto me according to your word’, confident that it is God’s way she is following because she knows He is with her. Very soon she comes to understand the meaning of her commitment: “Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘Behold, this child is destined for the fall and for the rise of many in Israel and for a sign that is opposed – and a sword will pierce through your own soul also”. (Lk 2:34-35)
I am moved by the sentiments expressed in a homily by Mons. Antonio Staglianò: he affirms that ‘Mary is living icon and most beautiful way of explaining our vocation and the mission of all people consecrated to Love and together with Her, we remain silent, almost paralyzed, before the Mystery of the Love of the Crucified, which surpasses the infinite boundaries of the mind and deeply overwhelms every heart’. (cf. Ferito dall’Amore, p 3) I wonder do we try to live each day knowing that our “vocation is God’s love calling (us) to leave everything and make a total self-giving to him,” a “hidden self-offering”. (Consts 1 & 7) Just as each one of us is encouraged to be part of the Wedding Feast of Cana (intro letter to ‘Walking towards the Future’ p10), likewise can you also find your niche at this time, near the foot of the Cross with Mary? In what capacity? What do you do with your ‘suffering’?
‘The Cross is the “yes “of God to man, the highest and most intense expression of his love and the source from which flows eternal life. Christ remains next to his own pain … always in silence. He is the man of courage and of silence, the one who had the strength to stand firm in his place, despite the devastation.’ And again, ‘Whoever wants to walk the path of love, cannot leave Jesus alone on Calvary and ignore his wounds. The hand, symbol of ‘to do’ and ‘to give’, when it is wounded expresses a “doing” and a “giving” which degenerate into selfishness, indifference, into being closed. Christ is the man of sorrows. Christ’s is the body injured by violence and refusal of men to accept salvation. How hard is it to accept and welcome the other, just as he is in his belief and in his culture. How difficult and tiring to want only the good of the other in benevolence and mercy, without feeding the culture of suspicion and ignorance. How hard it is to actually recognize our responsibility in front of God and our brothers, and humbly admit our wrongs in order to take the first step’. (op. cit. pp. 6,7,8)
Can we all, especially during this Year of Consecrated Life, respond to this invitation of Love and of renewing our ‘offering of blood’, in union with Christ, after the example Bl Antonio Rosmini?
It is surely in their lives of suffering and obedience that Mary and Jesus carry out God’s Will. And in this way, Mary becomes the “Mother of Mercy” and continues look with compassion on her children all over the world. To what extent are we compassionate? Let us “open our eyes and see the misery of the world, the wounds of our brothers and sisters who are denied their dignity”? (Misericordiae Vultus) ‘Like every mother, and better than every mother, Mary is the teacher of love: the smile of Mary is for all; but it is directed quite particularly to those who suffer, so that they can find comfort and solace therein. To seek Mary’s smile is not an act of devotional or outmoded sentimentality, but rather the proper expression of the living and profoundly human relationship which binds us to her whom Christ gave us as our Mother’. (cf. Benedict XV1, 15 Sept 2008)
Pope Francis puts it beautifully, making the following link at the end of the Encyclical ‘Laudate Si’: “Mary, the Mother who cared for Jesus, now cares with maternal affection and pain for this wounded world. Just as her pierced heart mourned the death of Jesus, so now she grieves for the sufferings of the crucified poor and for the creatures of this world laid waste by human power. Completely transfigured, she now lives with Jesus, and all creatures sing of her fairness. She is the Woman, “clothed in the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Rev 12:1). Carried up into heaven, she is the Mother and Queen of all creation. In her glorified body, together with the Risen Christ, part of creation has reached the fullness of its beauty. She treasures the entire life of Jesus in her heart (cf. Lk 2:19, 51), and now understands the meaning of all things. Hence, we can ask her to enable us to look at this world with eyes of wisdom”. (no 241)
It is no surprise that the Institute of Charity was born on Calvary and from Calvary: Rosmini writes in this regard “We all have the right and blessed consolation of calling the Mother of God, our Mother … (which) came into existence as Mary stood at the feet of her dying Son … It is impossible to find a more comforting thought in the midst of the woes and crosses of this world than that of Mary proclaimed as our Mother while she suffered so atrociously. Our own sufferings are a still wider field in which she can reign and exercise her tender love”. (E.C. III,128)
“Rosmini’s mysticism of the Cross led him to a deep devotion to the woman who stands at the foot of the Cross, Maria Addolorata. In Mary, he found one who was wounded by sorrow but wounded also by love, one who could both weep and rejoice with her Son, and who would teach the Church to do the same. From Mary, Rosmini learnt the meaning of the mysterious words which he spoke on his death-bed: “Adore, keep silence, rejoice”. May she who is the Mother of Sorrows and Mother of all our joys lead the sons and daughters of Antonio Rosmini now and always into the silence of adoration, where the peace of Easter reigns and the mind and heart find rest”. (Pope John Paul II, Rosminian Fathers, Chapter Audience 26 Sept, 1998)
A word from our dear Mother Mary Agnes, whom we remember on 24 Sept. She writes to a Sister: “To love and to suffer much must be the portion of the children of Our Lady of Dolours”, and adds: “There is neither love nor suffering without opportunities of exercising these virtues so we have every reason to rejoice that the Holy will of God is accomplished”. Grateful appreciation goes to Sr Lia who, over the past two years, has been lovingly and painstakingly working from the only existing source in Italian on the ‘Life of Mother M Agnes’– which will be available later.
May the 14th and 15th Sept be a means of blessing for all: particularly for the Sisters in the Casa dell’Addorolata and the District Our Lady of Sorrows and also for those to whom we can reach in their anxiety or suffering.
May Mary, Mother and Queen of all creation, united with her Risen Son, transform every human sorrow into the fullness of joy.
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