Lettera Madre Easter 2017

Lettera Madre Easter 2017

United_Kingdom1.png My dear Sisters …

Via Aurelia, 773

Easter Resurrection 2017

My dear Sisters,
As we approach the Easter Triduum once more, let us live consciously, full of thankfulness, in this ‘Year of Gratitude’, for what God has done for us. Easter is truly a time of Gratitude for the wonderful Gift of new Life given to us, when Jesus, the Son of God, died on the cross for us and rose on the morning of the third day. God raised Jesus from the dead – this is central to our Christian faith.
The celebration of the Paschal Triduum touches every Christian community at the depths of its life, since it is all God’s people, who make the journey, along with Jesus, to the Father. We go along this route together, prayerfully pondering on some moments, which we encounter along the way.
When Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with His disciples, he washed their feet in humility and service, giving us an example that we too can love and serve one another. He then took bread and, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: ‘take this … all of you … this is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in memory of me’.
I am reminded of Michelangelo’s ‘study of the Pieta’ – a pencil illustration, dating around 1546 – which Michelangelo did for a friend, Vittoria Colonna: here Mary is presented with the dead body of Jesus, supported by angels; Mary in fact is not cradling Jesus as in other versions by Michelangelo. In this illustration, Mary raises her hands and her eyes gaze upwards. At the center, on the vertical beam of the cross, Michelangelo has inscribed a line from Dante’s Paradise:
“No one thinks of how much blood it cost”.
This profound thought is central to the Easter mystery!
 What significance does this have for us who are ‘consecrated to Jesus crucified
and to his Mother, Our Lady of Sorrows’?
The Risen Lord is the One who suffered, died and rose again. Even though Jesus had appeared and been present to the disciples on a number of occasions, they were still unable to understand fully what had happened. In John’s Gospel, we read an account of the appearance on the shore of
Tiberias. The disciples knew Jesus had risen yet they were still bewildered: “Simon Peter said ‘I’m going fishing’”. He goes back to what is familiar, what he already knows. The others follow: ‘We’ll come with you’.
We are sometimes the same: we may not question the Resurrection but how do we actually give space to the Risen Christ? Where can we meet him?
Details us what happened on the lake shore, an apparently ‘normal’ episode, give full of meaning the question.
The Risen Jesus is to be found:
 In every person: “it was light by now and there stood
Jesus on the shore, though they did not realize it was
Jesus”. To know the Risen Jesus is look with new eyes
on our Sisters and on those around us. He is to be
found in each person, if we have the eyes to
recognize him!
 In personal closeness: “the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter it is the Lord”. We can only know the Risen Lord by spending time with him – quality time not the ‘left over’ time…
 In day to day work: “throw the net out to starboard and you will find something”. The text describes the real fishing experience of hard work, waiting, frustration and then the sudden ‘great quantity of fish’. We do not have to wait until the end of our activity to find him – the Risen Jesus is in the middle of our mess, of our frustration, as he is in our satisfaction and success – he is in every situation of life. At the same time, he asks for our collaboration: “bring some of the fish you have just caught”.
 In serving a human need: “come and have breakfast”. When our human hands reach out in simple giving and another receives, the Risen Christ stands in the middle.
 In togetherness: “Jesus stepped forward, took the bread and gave it them and same with the fish”: they had a meal together. The group of disciples is formed around the Risen Jesus, sharing his life and what he offers.
“If we are to share our lives with others and generously give of ourselves, we also have to realize that every person is worthy of our giving. Not for their physical appearance, their abilities, their language, their way of thinking, or for any satisfaction that we might receive, but rather because they are God’s handiwork, his creation. God created that person in his image, and he or she reflects something of God’s glory. Every human being is the object of God’s infinite tenderness and he himself is present in their lives. Jesus offered his precious blood on the cross for that person. Appearances notwithstanding, every person is immensely holy and deserves our love. Consequently, if I can help at least one person to have a better life, that already justifies the offering of my life. It is a wonderful thing to be God’s faithful people. We achieve fulfilment when we break down walls and our heart is filled with faces and names! … Christ’s resurrection everywhere calls forth seeds of that new world; even if they are cut back, they grow again, for the resurrection is already secretly woven into the fabric of this history, for Jesus did not rise in vain. May we never remain on the sidelines of this march of living hope!” (Evangelii Gaudium 274, 278)
Sometimes we live in a culture, which is preoccupied with the excitement of expectation than in actually savoring the experience, and once the celebration is over the tendency is to think about what comes next. We lose the significance of things because of rushing through the moment.
For this reason, I invite you to join me, to live the joyful period of Eastertide, in thanksgiving for all we have received: we can do this by keeping a ‘50 Days of Gratitude’ Journal, beginning on Maundy Thursday, recording each day a word or a simple reflection, poem, or prayer.
We give thanks to God for the 6 Junior Sisters in Kerala, who on 6 April, during their retreat, renewed their Vows.
We pray for peace – for all whose lives have been torn apart by recent disasters and for those working to save lives under extreme circumstances.
May the Risen Jesus inflame our hearts with a sense of wonder to recognize Him in unexpected places and may we be filled with gratitude for life in abundance, which God gives us to share in the world.

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