Wish you a joyful celebration of the feast of our Founder, St. Anthony Mary Claret. Though the global situation of Covid-19 has significantly improved, we shall have prudent restrictions on the external celebration of the feast. Humanity is slowly limping back to a “new normalcy” with the lessons learned from the experience of the pandemic. Indeed, trials of life reveal the true treasures hidden in human hearts.
Last year we celebrated the Claretian Year of the 150th anniversary of the death of our Founder and this year the XXVI General Chapter under the shadows of the global pandemic. As we have begun the post-Chapter period that obliges us to live the effects of this pandemic on humanity, we shall welcome the “new normalcy” deeply rooted in Jesus Christ and audacious in our life and mission. We do not allow the pandemic to rob us of our missionary enthusiasm.
The General Council is in Vic from 17th October for two weeks. We want to draw from the spirit of our Founder to walk forth to realize the Dream that the Lord invited us to weave together in the General Chapter for this sexennium. We know that Father Claret’s life was marked by the dream of his infancy about eternity. As a youth, he dreamed of a successful career fashioned by his passion for textile designing and the desire of his dad. But the Lord taught him the art of dreaming with God and walking with Him in a different way. In a very turbulent society of his time, Father Claret could anchor himself in Christ and audaciously carry out the mission entrusted to him. It is interesting to note how our Founder describes his everyday journey in his autobiography, “The Lord gave me to understand…” (Aut 93, 101, 117, 118, 191, 198, 254, 403, 534, 674, 680, 697, etc.). This kind of “given understanding” of reality in the light of God’s word is necessary for us to live our missionary vocation with audacity.
Dear brothers, we have many challenges to face in an epoch of changes. As a Congregation we shall be rooted in Christ to bear the fruits of the Spirit in the Church and the world. Fruits are different from products. Fruits are born of the healthy inner dynamics of an organism and help us grow as disciples of Christ while products are the result of external activity.
The Lord has called 51 missionaries to the Father’s house this year which, on one side, arouses gratitude for the amazing grace that their lives radiated. On the other side, the death of these many Claretian missionaries in our small Congregation (mostly due to old age and Covid) invites us to pray and work for new vocations. When negative propaganda, media coverage of scandals in the Church, and certain ideologies blur the truth about the Church, the joyful living of the values characteristic of our vocation (for example: a simple lifestyle, proximity to people, care and compassion in relationships, accompaniment of people in their search for meaning in life and sharing our experience of Jesus) can reveal the authentic beauty of following Christ as a missionary.
Every one of us can be a promoter of vocations by the radiating the joy of following Christ in a unique way. I commend our vocation ministry to the intercession of our Founder.
Let us walk forth as sons of the Heart of Mary in the style of Father Claret as a community of disciples joining hands with the Claretian Family and all those who share his charism to give witness to the joy of the Gospel in the world today.
To all of you, festal wishes.
Mathew Vattamattam, CMF