Congregazione dei Missionari di N.S. de La Salette
Feast of La Salette 9/19/2014
“Very well, my children, you will make this known to all my people”
(Mary at La Salette)
“Wake up the world!”
I am truly happy, again this year, to bid a Happy Feast day to all of you who, present throughout the world and always moved by a renewed and unquestionable love for the Church and for our Congregation, are committed to announcing the Good News of the Gospel in light of the message of reconciliation of Mary at La Salette.
May the weeping Virgin of La Salette protect and bless each of you, as well as our numerous friends and La Salette laity who, with great courage and a commendable spirit of sacrifice and service, share with you the joys, the challenges and the difficulties of the mission.
This annual celebration invites us, once again, to reread and rethink our personal story with the eyes, the mind and the heart of the God of the Bible, who chooses his people, makes a covenant with them and makes them companions on the journey. May we then rediscover in ourselves the beauty of our vocation as religious and missionaries by reawakening, should this be necessary, the spirit of belonging to our great La Salette religious family.
Pope Francis, in the meeting of last November 29, asked the Superiors General to have their members dedicate the great part of their human and charismatic energy to “reawaken the world” in this particularly difficult moment in which the world and the Church exist.
The verb “reawaken” evokes sleep, tiredness, discouragement, somnolent values, spiritual distraction, superficiality and a lack of interest with regard to faith. These are negative attitudes with which the world and the people of God in particular are very familiar, since they experience this everyday in their own lives. In other words, the great mission which Pope Francis has confided to religious is to make the proclaiming of the Gospel dynamic and captivating in the eyes of today’s world.
The history of the Church, with the holiness of life of its many members, clearly witnesses that in moments of crisis and difficulty of all kinds, religious life has always constituted a significant reference point for the resumption and the quality of the Church’s mission and a strong calling back to evangelical faithfulness.
In order for this invitation of the Pope to be able to reveal itself as truly positive and useful, the change has to begin first of all with each one of us. Always used to speaking to others, we too easily forget that we ourselves are the first to be evangelized. It is first of all ourselves that must be converted, restoring to our daily lives the faithfulness to the religious consecration which we have perhaps sometimes undervalued or not cared for enough.
It is we who need to “reawaken” our awareness and our way of life, better conforming them to that of Christ. Only in this way will our witness be able to render generous service, adequate and profitable to evangelization. The great misunderstanding into which we can easily fall is that of believing that all this discourse is for others and not for us. In so doing, we in effect risk losing a providential occasion to make our religious life purposeful and a real alternative to those values proposed and supported by today’s world.
The celebration of the “Year for Consecrated Life” in 2015 was really born from the strong desire to stimulate those consecrated to make their way of following of Christ “an effective memorial and living out of the Gospel.”
For this reason, the Church hopes that the “Year for Consecrated Life” truly becomes an occasion for study, research, deepening and verifying of religious life throughout the world, so that the light of holiness may shine ever more brightly – that light which spreads from the face of Christ to all who have chosen to follow him more closely through the choice of evangelical radicality.” (Letter of CICLSAL to the Superiors General, August 2014)
I pray that such a hope is transformed into a personal and community commitment by everyone in our Congregation.
To rest on our laurels without projecting our gaze beyond the present and beyond the horizon of our daily activity, is not helpful to the Church or to ourselves. We must always get up again and take up the journey knowing well that, as Romano Guardini said, the Christian, and even more so the religious, is a being continually in search of God and of how to serve him better in today’s world and Church.
Fr. Silvano Marisa MS