General Theme of the Meditations for the Jubilee Year
“Alive to the Spirit of Fr. Claret: Remember, Rejoice, and Rejuvenate”
General Objective for the Monthly Recollections
“Remembering the blessings of the Lord for the fifty Years, being grateful for the growth achieved through pioneers and contribution of all the members, we rejoice in the Claretian vocation and move forward with strength and renewed vigour to face the emerging frontiers after the example of Claret.”
Particular Theme for the month of July 2019
Remembering Our Origins
‘Then you are to sound the trumpet far and wide on the tenth day of the seventh month, on the Day of Atonement. You shall sound it throughout your land. ‘You shall thus consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim a release through the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, and each of you shall return to his own property, and each of you shall return to his family. ‘You shall have the fiftieth year as a jubilee… it shall be holy to you.” – Leviticus 25:9-12.
For the Jews, whatever reverses, disorders, or inequalities, happened among them, the fiftieth year, the year of jubilee, brought all back to the original social state as instituted by Moses. The Hebrew equivalent of the term jubilee means ‘a trumpet or a ram’s horn’. The jubilee year is a time to blow the trumpet, ‘to shout with joy’ or to be ‘jubilant’ with a view to awaken the world. Let us try to awaken the world to the light of what God has done in our Congregation and lives.
Let us return to the foundations of our Congregation, our presence in India, and our own vocation. This return will make us conscious of who we are, where we have come from and where we are heading to. This Jubilee is a moment of grace for remembering and feeling we are with the Church, in a large family. Pope Francis points out three steps that may help us in our mission – to root ourselves in a firm foundation, to grow, and to mature.
a) Mathew 28:10, 16-20: Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father
and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
b) Autobiography Number 35: My God, you have been so good to me! I have been very late in understanding the many great graces you have given me. I have been a useless servant and have not properly invested the talent you have entrusted to me. But Lord, I give you my word that I will work. Be a little patient with me. Don't take my talent away; I'll invest it wisely now. Give me your holy grace and your divine love and I give you my word that I will work.
1. What is the significance of returning to Galilee? Galilee is the place where everything began. They are to return there, to return to the place where they were first called. There he had called them, and there they had left everything and followed him. To return to Galilee means to reread everything, to be rejuvenated and commence a new journey fearlessly: ‘Do not be afraid.’ Let us reread everything – the personal call we received from Jesus, His miracles in our lives, our life in the Congregation, our defections, even the betrayal. With Claret let us also remember how good God was to us. Rejoicing let us pledge Him our loyalty and seek His grace to be rejuvenated in our mission.
2. We form part of a great Claretian Family. The life, teachings and example of our Father founder St Antony Mary Claret constitute an extraordinary spiritual heritage not only for us but also for the whole Church (Pope Benedict XVI). Pope Pius XI (on the occasion of his beatification in 1934), “Among the providential men that God sends to His Church in extraordinary circumstances……among the greatest men of the 19th century arose Anthony Mary Claret.” Pope Pius XII (on the occasion of his canonization in 1950), “Claret had served the Church up to the end of his life more than anyone.”
Claret identified himself as a missionary, consecrated and configured with Christ. He had a prophetic vision of the world, of the Church and of the urgent needs of his time. Claret was a child of his time and he endeavored to give an appropriate response using the most effective methods and he stirred up this same vision and this same response in others. Let us remember our great Father Founder, the co-founders who were after his spirit, and the great pioneer missionaries who made us what we are today. Let us thank the Lord for the gift of the Claretian Charism in the Church. Let us strive to achieve an authentic understanding of our original spirit, so that adhering to it faithfully, our religious life may be purified of elements that are foreign to it and freed from whatever is outdated. Let us try to know and faithfully maintain the spirit and goal of our founders, as well as our own sound traditions. The starting point for every Church reform has been a movement to return to the sources.
3. Let us remember and rejoice over the origin of our Congregation on the terrain of India. It was the result of the foresight of Bishop Sebastian Vayalil, first bishop of Palai (in Kerala), and the then Superior General of the Congregation V. Rev. Fr Peter Schweiger, who were eager
in missionary endeavors. Bishop Sebastian Vayalil came to know about the Claretians through Fr Alexander Cherukarakunnel, from the diocese of Palai, who was studying in Rome and had a few Claretian friends. In 1960 Bishop Sebastian went to Germany and talked with Fr Francis Dirnberger who was the Vice Provincial and formed a clear plan regarding the starting of a branch of the Congregation in India. In 1961 the Bishop sent 5 diocesan seminary students for formation to Germany. In 1962 he sent other 6 students. Around 30 students were sent this way. In 1968 Frs. Joseph Madavath and Mathew Pazhayemkottil and in 1969 Frs. Mathew Njayarkulam and George Vachipurackal were ordained. The foundation stone for our first house in India, Claret Bhavan, (in the diocese of Palai) was laid in 1970 and in 1971 this house was inaugurated. It was constructed under the supervision of Rev. Fr Joseph Madavath and with the help of the German Province. We know how our Congregation has grown in India within a short span of time. Some planted, some watered but God has given us the growth. Let us remember, rejoice and rejuvenate the original spirit.
4. Let us remember the origin of our own vocation. : Each vocation in the Church has its origin in the compassionate gaze of Jesus (Pope Francis). Let us remember how God reached out to us personally. God’s call is always personal. Let rejoice over the moment ‘when Jesus looked at me’. As missionaries we are not called to make epic gestures nor to proclaim pompous words, but rather to witness to the joy that comes from the certainty of being loved by Jesus. Pope Benedict XVI, “If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great…He takes nothing away and he gives you everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ – and you will find true life”. Let us rejoice over our missionary vocation and rejuvenate our initial spirit and love.
Points for Personal reflection:
- Can I say that I am after the spirit of Claret?
- Do I remember and appreciate the great work of my predecessors?
- Do I try to discern the Will of God in my life?
- Am I thankful for all the graces I have received?
- Am I faithful to my Claretian vocation and striving to fulfill the aim for which this Congregation has been established in the Church?
Fr. Bibin Vadakkekunnel cmf
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