Message fom the Chapter of the Litle Brothers of Jesus 2022

05/05/2022 - 17:54
GB

Message from Chapter April 2022

chapter of the little brothers 22chapter of the little brothers 22

We met in Chapter in Avila, the land of Saint Teresa of Jesus, and you were very present in our exchanges and prayers, being united to you in our thoughts. The personality and life of Teresa of Avila could not fail to mark our meetings and challenge us throughout our Chapter: "Nada te turbe! Solo Dios basta! 1

During this important time of reflection, we paused to be attentive to the situations we live with, to all our stories woven from our many relationships with each other and with those around us.

Today we live with a very harsh world where profit often triumphs over human values, while our societies are plagued by corruption, injustice, individualism, dictatorships, bloody repression and fratricidal wars. Everywhere we feel disoriented by storms that obscure our horizons.

And we listen to the cries and weeping of women and men who are left by the wayside without hope, and to the whole of creation groaning in expectation of a new birth that is so long overdue (cf. Rom. 8:22)... Our "Common House" is no longer respected, but is treated with contempt as a commodity that can be sold off to all the shameless profiteers and loan sharks As human beings, are we still brothers and sisters to each other? Do we feel responsible for each other? And is our earth still our mother that we have to take care of?

On the other hand, we are fewer in number and older; there are fewer vocations in most of the countries where we are, illness strikes some of us: we experience many limitations!

We feel so helpless and fragile in the face of all these ills that affect us and all those whose path we share. And sometimes it is disenchantment that wins over our wounded hearts, in our desire to follow Jesus.

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We believe that we are with Jesus, all in the same boat, but the storms that have risen all around us do not fail, at times, to frighten us: we have crossed the fears due to the Covid, we are crossing the wars on our borders, we are crossing the worries of our future, and Jesus is there, at the back, on the cushion, sleeping!... Which shore does Jesus want us to cross to? What seems certain is that Jesus wants us to leave the firm ground of our little securities:
"Go into deep water", Jesus tells us.

We become aware of our own poverty... But it is to the hope of a new beginning that these events call us, to know that we are loved by God no matter how lukewarm our love.
We have been encouraged to live with our frailties as a time of grace that the Lord invites us to welcome by deepening our personal relationship with Jesus: he reveals the Face of the Father to us through his Nazarene life among the little ones of this world. Our own frailties are not an obstacle to following the Lord, but rather a resource, as was that of Peter, the rock: his weakness and betrayal were an opportunity to be renewed and rekindle his passion for the Lord.2

This awareness of our fragility stimulates us to be open to others and to pay attention to the other in his or her difference! "To be an attentive eye in the midst of an indifferent world! It is an invitation to take care of each other, with the gaze of Jesus who opens our heart to the other!

We are invited to live with our diversity, due in large part to our different cultural backgrounds, in communion with one another, as a richness that deepens and embellishes our belonging to the Fraternity and its charism.

In this world that thirsts for happiness, for tenderness, for another life that is more beautiful, truer, more luminous, "we are called to be people-amphorae to give each other something to drink"... "We feel the need to discover and transmit the "mystique" of living with each other, of mixing, of meeting, of hugging, of supporting each other, of participating in this somewhat chaotic tide that can be transformed into a true experience of brotherhood, into a caravan of solidarity, into a holy pilgrimage"3,together, towards the heavenly Jerusalem.

We are constantly learning, each time, to walk together with the little ones, the voiceless and uninfluential of our societies. It is with them, and often through them, that we discover the love with which God loves us all, humbly sharing their plight, as friends and brothers... As St. Teresa of Avila wrote to her sisters: "The Lord is in the midst of the pots! Let us not hesitate to find him in the kitchen!” Yes, the Risen One is present in the most ordinary and everyday life, as well as in the nights of distress, whether in the kitchen or in the midst of our doubts and worries.

We ourselves, as a Fraternity, sometimes have to face conflicts, in our small fraternities, in the regions. During this Chapter, we had to face them, and we lived with them in an atmosphere of deep listening and prayer to allow each one to express himself, to try to enter into the problems of the other, respecting the diversity of approaches: an extremely strong time in which we experienced the calming breath of the Spirit.

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Jesus is at our side, even if, perhaps too often, we feel his absence more than his presence in the midst of this world in which we are immersed, in the midst of our daily activities mixed with so many storms. It is He who says to us: "Do not be afraid, it is I! I am with you!" Indeed, we trust that all our existential and institutional frailties allow the Lord to reveal Himself through our weaknesses.
"My grace is sufficient for you. My power manifests itself fully in your weakness!” (2Co.12,9)

We are aware that we are on a journey and that this journey requires a great deal of humility, but at the same time an absolute trust in the Lord as to how he will walk with us... It also requires a great deal of flexibility and creativity in the way we move forward together in an ever more co-responsible way, with Jesus who has invited us to follow him on the roads of Nazareth.

We are not on the main avenues, but they are "little paths" that we have to take, trusting that this is where the Lord wants to lead us... Let us go forward with Him, with a heart full of gratitude for these paths of humanity that his Spirit leads us to discover, and let us be carried away by his Breath in all confidence! This Nazareth, from which Nathanael wondered if anything good could come out4, has become, since Jesus shared this land of doubts and contempt, a place where the seeds of the Kingdom of God are germinating, ready to rise, to bud and to blossom! "Behold, I am doing a new thing: it is already sprouting, do you not see it?”5

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1 “Let nothing disturb you ! God alone is enough” St Teresa of Avila
2 Cf Ernest Ronchi “Questions vitales de l’Evangile” p137
3 Pope Francis Evangeli Gaudium No86
4 Jn 1,46
5 Is 43,18