Lettera Madre May 2018
SUORE DELLA PROVVIDENZA ROSMINIANE
Via Aurelia, 773
My dear Sisters,
In greeting you for the coming liturgical feasts – of Ascension – the return of Jesus to his Father interwoven with Pentecost – the birth of the Church, I want to share some thoughts from the Message for World Communications Day 2018: “The truth will set you free” (Jn 8:32) an event shared with Ascension Day.
I’m frequently struck by the fact that our human story tells us over and over again to ‘go to the source’ to check things out, to make sure we have the truth of the message before communicating it to others. Significantly, in his Last Discourse with his disciples, Jesus prays for them to His Father in this way, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is Truth” (Jn 17:17).
“Communication is part of God’s plan for us and an essential way to experience fellowship. Made in the image and likeness of our Creator, we are able to express and share all that is true, good, and beautiful. … But when we yield to our own pride and selfishness, we can also distort the way we use our ability to communicate. … The capacity to twist the truth is symptomatic of our condition, both as individuals and communities. On the other hand, when we are faithful to God’s plan, communication becomes an effective expression of our responsible search for truth and our pursuit of goodness.” (Message)
What God communicates to us in the first place is the great truth that the Holy Spirit can only come if Jesus, the Risen Lord returns to his Father: “But I tell you the truth, it is for your good that I am going 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)
Pope Francis stresses that for the Christian, truth is not simply how we judge things: “Truth involves our whole life. … Truth is something you can lean on, so as not to fall. In this relational sense, the only truly reliable and trustworthy One – the One on whom we can count – is the living God. Hence, Jesus can say: “I am the truth”. We discover and rediscover the truth when we experience it within ourselves in the loyalty and trustworthiness of the One who loves us. This alone can liberate us: “The truth will set you free.”
To discern the truth, we need to discern everything that encourages communion and promotes goodness from whatever instead tends to isolate, divide, and oppose. Truth, therefore, is not really grasped when it is imposed from without as something impersonal, but only when it flows from free relationships between persons, from listening to one another. Nor can we ever stop seeking the truth.” A study (Lorizio) on Rosmini states: ‘it is not possible to separate truth from charity, indeed truth and charity witness to each other’: “For charity is nothing other than the carrying out and verification of truth; in Scripture “charity in truth” is mentioned and we are urged “to live the truth in love”. Again: emphasising the relationship between truth and charity, Benedict XVI says this: “the Truth needs to be sought, found and expressed within the “economy” of charity, but charity in its turn needs to be understood, confirmed and practised in the light of truth”. (Caritas in Veritate, 2)
What is more, Jesus tells us: “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth”. (Jn 16: 12-13.) With Pentecost, communication was possible even between unknown languages; it is the miracle of the union of differences. To compete in esteeming, each other. (Acts 2).
Pentecost celebrates a new beginning for all: a renewal of the spirit within ourselves and a celebration of the Holy Spirit who gives the truth and wisdom of God to his disciples. God communicates himself to us – he breathes his life within us: “We know that he lives in us by the Spirit that he has given us”. (1 Jn 3, 24)
Let us unite ourselves with the whole Church, spread throughout the world, by ‘living Pentecost’ – for a time of new beginning: “the Holy Spirit works as he wills, when he wills and where he wills; we entrust ourselves without pretending to see striking results. … Yet there is no greater freedom than that of allowing oneself to be guided by the Holy Spirit, renouncing the attempt to plan and control everything to the last detail, and instead letting him enlighten, guide and direct us, leading us wherever he wills”. (Evangelii Gaudium, 279,280)
At the end of his Message, Pope Francis calls for a “journalism of peace,” instead of spreading ‘fake news’; he then challenges us to be instruments of truth and peace and to go beyond superficiality: “the heart of information is not the speed with which it is reported or its audience impact, but persons. Informing others means forming others; it means being in touch with people’s lives. That is why ensuring the accuracy of sources and protecting communication are real means of promoting goodness, generating trust, and opening the way to communion and peace.”
How can I address these issues in my life and in community, to help towards a better understanding?
To this end, drawing inspiration from a Franciscan prayer, we might turn to the Truth in person:
Lord, make us instruments of your peace.
Help us to recognize the evil latent in a communication that does not build communion.
Help us to remove the venom from our judgements.
Help us to speak about others as our brothers and sisters.
You are faithful and trustworthy; may our words be seeds of goodness for the world:
where there is shouting, let us practise listening;
where there is confusion, let us inspire harmony;
where there is ambiguity, let us bring clarity;
where there is exclusion, let us offer solidarity;
where there is sensationalism, let us use sobriety;
where there is superficiality, let us raise real questions;
where there is prejudice, let us awaken trust;
where there is hostility, let us bring respect;
where there is falsehood, let us bring truth.
Let us give thanks to God for our six Junior sisters who renewed their vows at the end of the Retreat on 14th April 2018. We remember also Sr Francesca Saveria and the Sisters in the District who are preparing for the beginning of the new Rosminian year; may God bless them in their many and varied ministries.
This is my prayer for each of us is: O Lord, make me a woman of truth; may your Spirit be the source of all my activity.
Happy feasts of Ascension and Pentecost!
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