Lettera Madre Pentecost 2020
SUORE DELLA PROVVIDENZA ROSMINIANE
Via Aurelia, 773
My dear Sisters,
As I join you for the great Solemnity of Pentecost this year, the promise of Jesus rings our clearly: “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. (Acts, 1,7) your sadness will be turned into joy” (Jn 16, 20)
The challenges we have been facing since the arrival of the COVID-19 are profound and we don’t know how long it will be in our lives and how many ‘waves’ of it will return. This means that Business companies and organizations are going to have to work differently than they did before since a “return to normal” is unlikely. It is the same for us. Together with the rest of the world, we are all venturing into the great unknown.
In an editorial published April 17 by the Spanish magazine, Vida Nueva, Pope Francis sets out a vision for the world after the coronavirus pandemic, which examines the current crisis in light of the resurrection of Christ. Entitled “A plan to rise again,” the message calls for renewed solidarity in the unity of the Holy Spirit, which he said cannot be confined in its work of “making all things new.”
Like the women at the tomb whose sorrow turned to joy after the Resurrection, Christians are also called to be joyful witnesses to Christ’s victory over death amid the pandemic.
Let us ponder on some of the thoughts, which Pope Francis leads us to consider:
o Like the first disciples who went to the sepulchre, we live surrounded by an atmosphere of pain and uncertainty that leads us to ask: “Who will roll the rock away from the entrance of the sepulchre? (Mk 16:3). How are we going to deal with this situation that has completely overwhelmed us?”
o The impact of everything that is happening, the serious consequences that are already being seen or glimpsed, the pain and mourning for our loved ones confuses us, makes us anxious and paralyzes us. It is the heaviness of the stone at the sepulchre which imposes itself before the future and which threatens to bury all hope.
o Unlike many of the Apostles who fled in fear and insecurity, who denied the Lord and ran away (cf. Jn 18, 25-27), the women, without escaping or ignoring what was happening, without fleeing or running away … simply knew how to be there and to accompany.
o As the first disciples who, in the midst of darkness and despair, filled their bag with aromatic oils and set out to go to anoint the buried Master (cf. Mk 16: 1), so we have been able to see, in this time, many who have tried to bring the anointing of co-responsibility to look after and not endanger the lives of others.
o We have seen the anointing poured out by doctors, nurses, warehouse workers, cleaners, caretakers, transporters, security forces, volunteers, priests, religious, grandparents and educators and so many others who were encouraged to give everything they had to bring a little healing, calm and soul to the situation.
o If there is one thing we have been able to learn in all this time, it is that no one is saved alone. Borders are falling, walls are crumbling and all fundamentalist discourses are dissolving before an almost imperceptible presence that shows the fragility of which we are made.
o And it was right there, in the midst of their occupations and concerns, that the women were surprised by an overflowing announcement: “It is not here. He is risen”.
o In this time we realized the importance “of uniting the whole human family in the search for sustainable and integral development” (Encyclical Letter, Laudato si ‘, 24 May 2015, n. 13). Each individual action is not an isolated action, for better or for worse, it has consequences for others, because everything is connected in our common home; and if the health authorities order house confinement, it is the people who make it possible, aware of their co-responsibility to stop the pandemic.”
o And behold, Jesus came to meet them saying: ‘Rejoice” (cf. Mt, 28, 9). These are the first words of the Risen Lord after Mary Magdalene and the other Mary discovered the empty tomb and came across the angel. The Lord goes to meet them to transform their mourning into joy and console them in the midst of afflictions (cf. Jer 31, 13). It is the Risen One who wants to raise the women and, with them, all humanity to a new life. He wants us to start participating in the resurrected condition that awaits us.
Pope Francis describes the present moment as a “propitious time” to be open to the Spirit: “It is urgent to discern and to find the pulse of the Holy Spirit in order to promote, together with others, the dynamics capable of witnessing and channelling the new life that the Lord wants to generate at this specific moment in history. It is the breath of the Holy Spirit that opens horizons, awakens creativity and renews us in fraternity to say present (or here I am) before the enormous and urgent task that awaits us.
This is the favorable time of the Lord, who asks us not to conform or be satisfied, let alone justify ourselves with substitute or palliative logics, which prevent us from sustaining the impact and the serious consequences of what we are experiencing.
This is the right time to find the courage of a new imagination of the possible, with the realism that only the Gospel can offer us. The Spirit, who does not allow himself to be closed up or exploited with fixed or transient schemes, modalities and structures, proposes to unite us with his movement capable of “making all things new” (Ap 21, 5)”.
In this time of Pentecost, the birth of the Christian Church, we celebrate the Gift of the Holy Spirit and the beginning of the Church’s mission to the world – a mission to bring people to God.
We too are re-born in the Spirit during this time of ‘lockdown’ and suffering; we ‘await with courage’ the wonderful freedom the Spirit gives us:
to pray, to discern the divine gift in faith and to act on it with joy and hope.
We can take the advice of Bl Antonio Rosmini to heart particularly at this time; he addresses each of us: “Courage … I hope that by God’s mercy all the dark clouds will be lifted from your soul, and that the Holy Spirit will fill you with light”. (AL Vol II, lett 145)
“The Holy Spirit consoles those who wait for the Lord, with the words: ‘All things have their due time and season.’ And what was first said by the Holy Spirit was repeated by Christ himself in those words which he addressed to his apostles when he ascended to heaven: ‘It is not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father has set by his own authority.’ So let us await with courage the time and the moment of the Lord. This sacrifice, by which we calmly attend to the wonderful dispositions of his Providence, is of great value in God’s eyes: it is a preparation for the joyful hour, which often chimes out unexpectedly. When it pleases God, the Spirit of Jesus Christ will bind us closely together by bonds of delightful friendship and tender love — and what sword will then be able to separate our hearts? Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship or distress… ?’ Oh, may our good God grant us this love… (AL Vol II, lett 182)
United with Mary in the upper room and invoking the power of the Holy Spirit on each Sister, on our families and on all whom we love, I wish you a Happy Pentecost renewed in grace and love.
Happy Feast of Pentecost together with the Feast of Our Lady, who filled with the Spirit, goes in haste to visit her cousin, Elizabeth!
God bless, with love,
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