Lettera Madre 20 february 2016
My dear Sisters,
Reading the Ascetical Letters, I am struck by the frequency and depth of the letters, which passed between
Antonio Rosmini and Giovanni Battista Loewenbruck, during the months preceding the proposed meeting at
Calvario. These letters reveal first of all, an urgency on the part of Rosmini; he wanted his friend join him on
this sacred mountain. ‘From the beginning of this enterprise, Jesus would be their model and they will be
thoroughly incorporated in the Church’. Filled with this confidence, he included Loewenbruck in any plans, to
make sure they were both of one mind and that it was the same Spirit calling them. “The Lord has revealed
many things to me: you will examine them and test whether they are truly from God … the time remaining
before the 20 February – more than seven months must be spent by us in welcoming the voice of the Lord and
in making our holy vocation even more certain.” (AL. Vol 1, lett.21 & 22, June-July 1827)
Underlying this correspondence – as in his letters to others at this time – is a strong, perceptible bond of
‘mercy’. From these few short extracts – and there are numerous others – we can almost hear Rosmini
speaking from his heart where we sense a three-fold mercy: always coming from God and as a result overflowing
to others and also in relation to Loewenbruck himself.
Some months before Lent 1828, on 25 June 1827, Rosmini wrote to Loewenbruck, “we shall be together in
spirit if not in body; and we shall ask the God of mercies to bring us together if, when and as this accords with
his adorable will. For the present, let us continue to correspond. This will prepare the way for the Constitutions
which we shall compose together as soon as we can meet in the Lord.” (lett. 21) Later, in August, when
considering certain guidelines, “wondering ever more at the immensity of the divine mercy” he invited his
friend: “To do good in accord with the present circumstances adoring in them the mercy of God who puts them
before us … for God knows what is good and what is harmful for us.” (lett. 25)
On 30 Jan 1828 he wrote to Loewenbruck telling him that he understood his present difficulties and sufferings
and therefore because both of them were unwell at this time, he was confident that: “the Lord will accept our
afflictions in lieu of other heavy penances. How good he is, how tender. A mother could not be more so than he,
rather he is infinitely more tender than any mother.” The mercy shown him by God fills him with compassion
for others: “our infirmities will lead us to be kind to one another, and this situation of ours will be a warning to us that we must treat others kindly.” (lett. 34)
Rosmini continued to have great confidence believing that Loewenbruck would join him at Calvario during Lent, but his friend let him down badly by failing to keep his promise, in spite of many appeals he received. In July, when Loewenbruck eventually arrived, we have an insight into the mercy which Rosmini shows to him: he welcomed him “with open arms, without reproaches, and no questions were asked.” (Rosmini, Leetham p 96)
What can we learn from Bl Antonio Rosmini in this Year of Mercy?
He experienced for himself and in turn actually lived the loving mercy of God. And we?
We had the privilege of visiting Calvario on the eve of Lent where we remembered you especially; filled with this joyful memory,
Happy feast of 20 February 2016!
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