Lettera Madre Pentecost 2017
SUORE DELLA PROVVIDENZA ROSMINIANE
Via Aurelia, 773
My dear Sisters,
During this Easter period we have been listening to the good news of the Risen Lord, told in diverse ways and witnessed by different people – beginning with the oil-bearing women until we reach the mountain where Jesus appeared to the eleven disciples before his Ascension.
We now journey towards Ascension and Pentecost – two liturgical events which are intertwined: “it is for your good that I go away, unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you” (Jn 16,7)
In his Message for World Communications Day 2017, ‘Communicating Hope and Trust in our Time’, coinciding with Ascension Day, celebrated with Solemnity on Sunday 28 May, Pope Francis underlines: “Our hope based on the good news which is Jesus himself makes us lift up our eyes to contemplate the Lord in the liturgical celebration of the Ascension. Even though the Lord may now appear more distant, the horizons of hope expand all the more.”
In speaking generally of communication, using the words on John Cassian he affirms: “Access to the media – thanks to technological progress – makes it possible for countless people to share news instantly and spread it widely. That news may be good or bad, true or false. The early Christians compared the human mind to a constantly grinding millstone; it is up to the miller to determine what it will grind: good wheat or worthless weeds. Our minds are always “grinding”, but it is up to us to choose what to feed them (Epistle to Leontius).
Can we ask ourselves: ‘What sort of news have I shared during Eastertide?’
Pope Francis reminds us: “Everything depends on the way we look at things, on the lens we use to view them. If we change that lens, reality itself appears different. So how can we begin to “read” reality through the right lens?
For us Christians, that lens can only be the good news … Saint Mark opens his Gospel not by relating “good news” about Jesus, but rather the good news that is Jesus himself.”
This message of hope and trust – I recommend reading it in its entirety – is opportune and helps us grow into Pentecost people, “one in heart and mind” (Acts, 4,32) and in the sentiments of Fr Founder: “unbreakable union of heart will make each of you stronger and happier, and bring great benefits of body and soul”. (E.C. Xl: 735).
I emphasize here some practical considerations indicated by Pope Francis:
to the search for an open and creative style of communication;
to inspire a positive and responsible approach;
to offer the people of our time storylines that are at heart “good news”.
is not good because it has nothing to do with suffering, but rather because suffering itself becomes part of a bigger picture. It is seen as an integral part of Jesus’ love for the Father and for all mankind.
Hope is born, a hope accessible to everyone, at the very crossroads where life meets the bitterness of failure.
The Kingdom of God is already present in our midst, like a seed that is easily overlooked, yet silently takes root. Those to whom the Holy Spirit grants keen vision can see it blossoming. They do not let themselves be robbed of the joy of the Kingdom by the weeds that spring up all about.
The horizons of the Spirit
By “the power of the Holy Spirit” we can be witnesses and “communicators” of a new and redeemed humanity “even to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:7-8).
Confidence in the seed of God’s Kingdom and in the mystery of Easter should also shape the way we communicate. This confidence enables us to carry out our work – in all the different ways that communication takes place nowadays – with the conviction that it is possible to recognize and highlight the good news present in every story and in the face of each person.
Those who, in faith, entrust themselves to the guidance of the Holy Spirit come to realize how God is present and at work in every moment of our lives and history, patiently bringing to pass a history of salvation. Hope is the thread with which this sacred history is woven, and its weaver is none other than the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.
Today too, the Spirit continues to sow in us a desire for the Kingdom, thanks to all those who, drawing inspiration from the Good News amid the dramatic events of our time, shine like beacons in the darkness of this world, shedding light along the way and opening ever new paths of confidence and hope.
These considerations go hand in hand with the desire expressed in the Chapter Document, WTF, Dir 6a, “to create channels of communication so that we live in a new conscious process of communion and witness to the Gospel, as well as being aware of the needs of the people we work with. We shall apply this in particular to our own communities, so that they became a living reality”.
Pentecost transformed the lives of the early Christians – Peter, for example learned from his past failures and looked at the ‘now’ as a new opportunity to be a true witness of Jesus. The Holy Spirit enabled doors to open, walls to be broken down and barriers to be overcome. And it is this same power which inspires each one of us as members of the Church in our mission today because the Spirit also calls us to come out of the closed doors of our existence, our prejudices, our fears and anxieties and to spread the good news through word and action.
One of the challenges is for all of us is to help one another discern, nurture and develop the gifts which the Holy Spirit gives to each one. St Paul says clearly: “to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” (Cor 12,7) It is within the community context – like the first disciples – that we receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit and it is in the same context that we can share them. In this way “we shall consciously cultivate an attitude of openness in our communities and we shall make this practical in our day to day life style.” (WTF, Dir 2)
Pentecost is essentially about ‘breathing’ peace, love and harmony. Extraordinary things occur when love becomes ‘universal’ for all: reconciliation takes place where before it seemed impossible; hope where there
was only despair and disappointment; understanding where before there was indifference; new life where before there were only signs of negativity.
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace …
Oh Master, grant that I may not seek so much
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.” (St Francis)
This divine power allows us to be “led by the Spirit of God” because the Holy Spirit frees us from whatever binds us or holds us back and helps us to “communicate hope and trust in our time”. And Fr Founder is confident: “God will help you with his grace if you pray to him from your heart, particularly in this season when the Holy Spirit first came down in the form of tongues of fire. … May you receive abundant consolation from the Paraclete. (AL 3, no 94, Stresa, 21 May 1839)
May God bless Sr Francesca Saveria and all the Sisters in the Indian district who begin their new Rosminian Year in June: we pray for them in their different activities and on-going projects.
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