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 August 2019
Prophetic Messengers of the Word
The XXI General Chapter, held in the year 1991, defined the Claretians as “hearers and servants of the Word”. The next chapter, held in the year 1997, dealt with the prophetic dimension of our missionary life, with the objective “to make our heritage a prophecy.” Claret was a great hearer and servant of the Word, formed in the school of the Prophets and the Apostles (Auto 214-223). He followed Jesus, a prophet mighty in words and works before God and the whole people (Lk 24:19), has left us as an inheritance a style of life and a way of exercising the ministry in which the prophetic dimension is strongly underlined. Thus, the prophetic dimension of the service of the Word is part of our patrimony The post synodal exhortation “Vita Consecrata” which speaks of the life and mission of religious, highlights prophetic witness as a response to the challenges of the contemporary world. We live and work in a period of paradoxes and contrasting realities and our response to this challenging situation could be fruitful and beneficial only if we act as prophetic messengers of the Word. The Jubilee year is an opportune time to remember and rejoice over the prophetic legacy of our Congregation, of our Father Founder, and of our own elder brothers in India and to rejuvenate ourselves with more vigour and enthusiasm to be prophetic messengers of the word. Readings Mark 8:27-29 (cf. 6:14-15): “Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi and on the way, he asked his disciples, “Who do the people say I am?” And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah, and still others, one of the prophets. He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah” (Mark 8:27-28). In Prophetic Mission, 22. “The Church exhorts us to fulfil our prophetic service (cf. VC 73) and asks us to cultivate an in depth experience of God: to discern in the light of the Spirit, the challenges of our time; and to translate them into courage and daring into options and projects that are coherent both with our original charism and with the demands of the concrete historical situation (cf. VC 73). We need, then, “a solid spirituality of action, seeing God in all things and all things in God” (VC 74). Reflections 1. The two questions that Jesus asked his disciples have a lot of significance for our lives. Who do the people say I am? The disciples of Jesus were aware of the people’s perception of Jesus. They perceived Jesus as a prophet. Who is a prophet? A prophet is the spokesman of God, who communicates God’s will to his people; a man who represents God to his people; a man who reveals God to the people. When Jesus resuscitated the son of the widow of Naim, the people glorified God and said, “A great prophet has risen among us! God has come to visit his people” (Lk 7:16). As prophetic messengers of the word we are invited to be the spokesmen of God, to communicate his will and to reveal God, his love and justice, his compassion and forgiveness to people. The second question, who do you say that I am? has a direct link to us. Peter responded saying that “You are the Messiah.” What would be our response today? Intellectual responses that may come from our catechism and other studies may not suffice. We need to look into our lives, our orientations and motivations, our aspirations and agendas and our commitments and omissions, and all need to be analyzed to give a genuine response. The response should come from our heart. Our response is important because our commitment to the service of the Word is rooted in this response. 2. As prophetic messengers of the Word we need to cultivate a spirituality centered around the Word. Our Father founder followed a spirituality centered around the person of Christ, the incarnate Word and the written Word, the scriptures. Claret found his vocation as an apostolic missionary from the contemplation of the Word of God. Everyday he read a number of chapters from the New and Old testaments; and throughout his life, from his youth till his death, he chose the life and passion of Christ as the regular theme of his meditations. His lifestyle and approach originated from the imitation of Christ found in the Gospels. His response to the social and political realities of his time were initiated by his knowledge and application of the Word. Let Claret be the model and inspiration for our life and mission. 3. We live and work in a period of time in which the future seems to be very bleak and uncertain. Nobody seems to know where are we heading to? Intolerance, religious bigotries, death of democratic institutions, disintegration of family system and values, destruction of ecosystem, irresponsible use of social media and mass media, growing consumeristic culture, increase of inequality and corruption, and many other social evils pervade our society. As part of the society, often we too are either perpetrators or victims of these evils. These are challenges that can be unsurmountable or opportunities for a prophetic messenger of the Word. How do we look at these challenges? Do we have concrete plans to face these challenges? 4. It is encouraging and inspiring to look back our life and mission for the last fifty years in India. The pioneers of our Congregation in India have made a strong and robust foundation for different aspects of our life and mission that we could be very proud of. We have grown enormously in numbers. We are present in sixteen states and union territories of our country. Indian Claretians are working in the missions of the Congregation in all the five continents. Our ministries in the parishes, in our educational institutions and in the centers of special ministries are appreciated. Our missionary service of the Word through our mission centers, parishes, educational institutions, preaching ministry, Mass media communications, social services and special ministries present us as genuine servants of the Word. Our special ministries like our fight against female infanticide (Claretian Mercy Home, Karumathur), ministries for the differently abled people (Leprosy and HIV projects, Project Vision, Manasu), deaddiction centers to fight against alcoholism and drug addiction in different places, to name a few, are prophetic ministries that really reveal God’s compassion and love to the people. Let us thank the Lord for he has made us instruments to bring his blessings to many people. At the same time there are many other emerging realities, political, economical, social and religious, that cry for our attention. The migration of people from rural to the urban centers or from states to states, the all-pervading and amorphous use of digital technology, the unsustainable abuse of our ecological system, could be some of the burning issues we can think of creatively addressing during this Jubilee year. 5. The Jubilee is also an opportune time to look at ourselves as individuals. Each Claretian is an heir to a prophetic lifestyle and mission. It is my personal response to God’s call that made me a religious and a member of the Claretian Missionaries. I have a personal responsibility to cultivate elements that can sustain me as a religious and prophetic messenger of the Word. I would suggest the following elements: • Constant discernment to know the light of the Spirit to fulfill God’s plan in my life. • To root my availability and commitment on a solid spirituality centered on the Word of God. • To cultivate attitudes and approaches in imitation of Jesus Christ and Claret to respond to the needs and challenges of our time. • To strengthen my fraternal communion with the other members to exercise our ministries not as individuals but as communities. • To strive to see God in all things and all things in God. For Personal Reflections What is the image of Jesus whom I follow as my model and norm of life? Is my lifestyle and approach to ministries rooted in the word of God and to the social realities? Do I make use of the growing technological developments for the spread of the Gospel and to the advantage of human development? I am living in a world of digital technology and information explosion. Am I able to use them for good or have fallen a victim of its evil tentacles? Do I have a concrete plan to live my life as a prophetic messenger of the Word?
Fr. Alex Ancheles cmf
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