Lettera Madre November 2017

Lettera Madre November 2017

United_Kingdom1.png My dear Sisters …

Via Aurelia, 773

Advent 2017 invites us “to pause in silence to understand a presence”
My dear Sisters,
At this time of the year, whatever our culture or age, one thing unites us across the nations – that is those days leading up to Christmas. All the necessary activities and things, which fill our time, add to the frenzy of the season and can often take over… It is easy to immerse ourselves in what has to be done and equally easy to forget the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ during this sacred time of ‘Advent’.
While Advent sets the tone for the beginning of a new Liturgical year, it also “… invites us to pause in silence to understand a presence. It is an invitation to understand that the individual events of the day are hints that God is giving us, signs of the attention he has for each one of us. How often does God give us a glimpse of his love! … Advent invites and stimulates us to contemplate the Lord present. Should not the certainty of his presence help us see the world with different eyes? Should it not help us to consider the whole of our life as a “visit”, as a way in which he can come to us and become close to us in every situation?” (Benedict XVI, 2009)

During these days, I am thinking in particular, of St Joseph: of how he communicates with Mary; of his respectful understanding of Mary. It is however the sense of ‘Silence’ surrounding Joseph – a reverential silence – which speaks more powerfully than words.
St John Paul II draws our attention to the following: “In the course of that pilgrimage of faith which was his life, Joseph, like Mary, remained faithful to God’s call until the end. While Mary’s life was the bringing to fullness of that fiat first spoken at the Annunciation, at the moment of Joseph’s own “annunciation”, he said nothing; instead he simply “did as the angel of the Lord commanded him” (Mt 1:24). And this first “doing” became the beginning of “Joseph’s way … the silence of Joseph has its own special eloquence.”

St John Paul II then elaborates further on this thought presenting an ‘inner portrait’ of Joseph: “The same aura of silence that envelops everything else about Joseph also shrouds his work as a carpenter in the house of Nazareth. It is, however, a silence that reveals in a special way the inner portrait of the man. The Gospels speak exclusively of what Joseph “did.” Still, they allow us to discover in his “actions” – shrouded in silence, as they are – an aura of deep contemplation. Joseph was in daily contact with the mystery “hidden from ages past,” and which “dwelt” under his roof.” (St John Paul II, Redemptoris Custos, 1989)

Looking at Joseph’s life, helps us to understand better that ‘the individual events of the day are hints that God is giving us … glimpses of his love’. It is in contemplative silence, like St Joseph that we can see God’s providence in everything that happens in our lives:
•unforeseen events
•disappointments and failures
•frustrating delays
•unwelcome demands on our time
•strange behaviour of people
•the mysterious silence of God who often waits to reveal His purpose for us, through people.

During these busy days of “preparation” for Christmas, my wish for you – for all of us – is this gift of silence we find in Joseph: an interior grace-filled silence, which is reflected in the words of Benedict XVI: “His is a silence steeped in contemplation of the mystery of God, in an attitude of total availability to the divine desires. In other words, St Joseph’s silence does not express an inner emptiness, but, on the contrary, the fullness of the faith he bears in his heart and which guides his every thought and action. It is a silence thanks to which Joseph, in unison with Mary, watches over the Word of God … a silence woven of constant prayer, a prayer of blessing of the Lord, of the adoration of his holy will and of unreserved entrustment to his providence”. (Dec 18, 2005)
These thoughts re-echo the profound legacy left us by Bl Antonio Rosmini:
to ‘be silent’ so that we can truly ‘adore … rejoice’ in the Birth of Christ at Christmas. With these sentiments, I wish each one of you a new discovery this Advent! With love,c.m.

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