Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Message for Carmelites

From our Father General:
If we consider with enough honesty the reality of our religious life, if we are ready to admit its voids and incoherences, the loss of hope and love which often characterizes it, a return to St. Teresa and to her teaching becomes an insuppressible demand, because there lies our joy. How could we be happy if our vocation and mission, instead of being a vital force that moves us from within, were to become a heavy and unmotivated yoke to be borne with? Yet this happens sometimes and it is painful to notice that often we look elsewhere for that sense and joy of life which the Lord has placed in the treasure of our charismatic identity. An identity with which we are called everyday to be more unified, challenging the external, but specially the internal, voices that repeat to us that all that is scandal and foolishness.

We know that the point of departure, I would say “enkindling spark”, of the Way of Perfection is exactly this one: a loving dialectics with the world, a desire of fighting for the human beside Jesus Christ against the enemies of humanity. The enemies are sometimes evident and macroscopic, but quite often they are invisible, microscopic, like worms and viruses that lay snare against one’s spiritual health. I like to read the Way of Perfection as a therapeutic book, written for healing the soul. The soul is born for living in its centre, which is Jesus Christ. All that hinders, weakens or obscures relation with Him (which is at the same time relation with oneself) is sickness and deviation, compromising its balance and growth. When Teresa speaks of prayer, she doesn’t speak of it as a simple act or a spiritual exercise. Prayer for her is the expression of a healthy soul, of a body that breathes freely and receives energy from its source of life. It is the normal expression of one who believes. A most committed spiritual life leads, as to its final aim, to recite the Our Father with full adhesion of mind and heart – her comment in the last sixteen chapters of her book bears witness to this.

What is then the perfection which the way taught by Teresa tend to? It is the one that calls God “Father” not simply with lips, but with the abandonment of a little child that allows itself to be carried by his father’s arms. With a substantial difference though, namely: this father is not only mine – as childish jealousy would wish – but is “our”, and therefore his embrace doesn’t close me in an exclusive relationship with Him, but unites me at the same time with the community of brothers and sisters. Perfection therefore is to be so adult as to be able to pronounce as one’s own the words that Jesus pronounced talking of God: Our Father!

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