General Theme of the Meditations for the Jubilee Year
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.”
Introduction: This month we focus on the Love and Life that we have received and shared through our life and mission in India for the past 50 years. Jesus came into the world to reveal and to be the Love that the Father is. Thus he declared, “I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn. 10:10). Claret had well understood, even from his childhood, that the virtue an apostolic missionary needs most of all is love. He considered himself formed in the forge of our Mother’s mercy and love. Our Constitutions remind us that love for God and for our brothers and sisters is the first and most necessary gift which marks us out as true Disciples of Christ. Hence our entire missionary life is grounded and shaped by this love. Readings: John 13: 34-35: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” CMF Constitutions, 10: As Jesus Christ in one with the Father and the Spirit, we missionaries should be one with Them, so that the world may come to believe in Christ. We should imitate 2 the communion of life that prevailed among Christ and the Apostles, and among the faithful of the early Church, who were united, heart and soul. Love for God and for our brothers and sisters has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit and builds up our communion. It is the first and most necessary gift which marks us out as true disciples of Christ. Hence our entire missionary life is governed and shaped by this love. “That They May Have Life” (TMHL), 4-5: 4. At the dawn of the 21st century the Church invites us to “start afresh from Christ”, “to put out into the deep”, to enter into a “time of renewed ‘creativity’ in charity” (cf NMI, 50; SAC, 10). Jesus’ words “That they may have life” inspire our response to the Church’s call. Our vocation and prophetic mission places us at the service of life. 5. Life is exuberant and fruitful in nature and in humanity: “God saw all he had made, and indeed it was very good” (Gen 1:31). The Creator, “lover of life” (Wis 11:26), has entrusted us to defend it and cultivate it. The appreciation, defence and passion for life is manifested today in many ways, as for example, in those persons and organizations that work on behalf of the poor, for human rights, and for peace. Reflections: 1. Called to Love: In Christ we find the fullness of love, and in him is revealed the true dignity of each person – we are created in love and for love. Jesus’ incarnation is the mission of love, which is translated into the manifestation of Trinitarian love through the acts of solidarity, compassion, mercy, love and kindness. One important aspect of love is to return to the source of love – God. Thus Jesus invites people to repentance and forgiveness. While one turns to God, he necessarily takes his brothers and sisters along. Marching together is the real Christian love that we are called to. 2. Love leads to Life: As Jesus goes about preaching and establishing the Kingdom of God, he focuses on restoring the dignity of the person in the sight of God and the neighbour. Therefore he commands the disciples – “Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another”. During his ministry Jesus continued to surprise people by the way he welcomed and treated people of different backgrounds. For him all are children of God and that is how all must be treated. Our love must go beyond any boundaries or limitations that the world enforces. 3. Claretian Mission of Love and Life in India: Indeed inspired by the apostolic zeal of Father Claret, our pioneer missionaries in India took up the challenge of missionary evangelization. From the very beginning our missionaries, along with the formation of new members, ventured into the territories beyond languages and cultures spreading the Good News of love and brotherhood. Today when we look back at our ministry as agents of love and life, we can be surely thankful to God and our senior members, who according to our charism responded to the signs of time to be effective in missionary interventions. The young missionaries today too are engaged in varied ministries that promote life and love. Our ministries to the destitute, abandoned and homeless; to the terminally ill and affected by leprosy, HIV, AIDS; to the blind and affected by 3 other disabilities; to the alcoholics and addicted; to the tribal and poor children; to the broken families and troubled youth, etc. and the many parishes where we administer the Sacraments of God’s grace. All these bear witness to the love and life that God has promised to all his children. Our growth in India is itself a loving history. Today we have grown into five organisms; missionaries originating and living together from different languages, cultures and colours. 4. Missionaries going forth in Love and Life: The dead do not celebrate. It is the living who celebrate the life and love. This Golden Jubilee celebrations must inspire us to be even more enthusiastic to give our best in the service of the least. Our recent General and Provincial Chapters have reminded us that there are several pressing issues of humanity that we perceive in the world today that we as missionaries need to respond to. While we rejoice at the little we have done, there is ever increasing need for us to go out in support of those who have been denied their share of love and life. As Jesus invited people to enter the Kingdom of God, it is those with positive attitude that made all the difference. Our past experiences may have been varied, but we can always start afresh with Christ. Our missionary enthusiasm and willingness to walk the talk will make the difference in the way we contribute in promoting love and life. For Personal Reflection: What in Christ urges me to do in life? Does the Claretian Charism make me enthusiastic? What is that inspires me most from the Claretian contribution in India? How much have I personally contributed towards love and life? How can I make this Jubilee Celebration meaningful for me and others?
Fr. Xavier Pereira CMF
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