Our recent 26th General Chapter invites us to be “rooted in Christ and audacious in mission!” We dream of a pilgrim Congregation rooted in faith in Jesus Christ and in Claretian spirituality (QC 43).
Easter reminds us of the foundation of our faith, on which our vocation and mission are also built: “The Lord of life was dead; but now, alive, he triumphs.” This hope that He is alive compels us to change direction. The tomb with a corps could also be a point of entry. The empty tomb is necessarily a point of departure.
Fr. Primo Mazzolari wrote: “The dead need pity, the living need audacity“. If Easter began with the funeral mood of Mary of Magdala, it could only continue with our boldness in witnessing to a distracted world – of which we are part – not the corruption of the tomb, but the glory of the Resurrection.
The risen Christ is everywhere: in the Christian and religious community, in His Word that is proclaimed to us, in the sublime gift of the Eucharist, in every man who suffers poverty, violence, and injustice. It is in every gesture of love that tries to be to the end, like that of Jesus, and in our Claretian mission.
The audacity that Easter asks of us is generated by this personal and communal encounter with the Resurrected Christ in the Word of God and in the Eucharistic Bread, without which the proclamation of Easter remains that of an empty tomb. We, as missionaries, with our audaciously Christian and Claretian lives, can continue to make the love of the Risen One contemporary.
May our nostalgia for a past that was fruitful in vocations and grandiose in works not prevent us from seeing the life that the Lord makes sprout alongside us in the present moment. We are not nostalgic men, but men who, moved by the Spirit that inspired Claret and his first companions, and impelled by our lemma “rooted and audacious,” carry in our hearts our dreams of being a pilgrim Congregation (QC 44); Marian (QC 51); in shared mission (QC 56); going forth to the peripheries (QC 63); evangelizers and biblical (QC 71); committed to universal brotherhood, justice, peace, and the care of the common home in a spirit of synodality, collaborating with people of different cultures, ethnic groups and religions for the transformation of the world according to God’s plan (QC 79); prepared to respond to new challenges through an integral and ongoing formation process, open to the universal mission, according to the spirit and charism of our Father and Founder (QC 87).
It is the disciples’ task to continue to proclaim the Gospel in word and deed, bearing witness to his love: the fruit to be borne is love. The Risen One gives us the right to a new hope; Christ is the reason for courage. He is the Lord of surprises who breaks down paralyzing closures and restores one’s audacity to overcome suspicion, mistrust, and fear that hides behind the “it has always been done so”. God surprises us when he calls and invites us to cast our nets and ourselves out into history and to look at life, at others, and even at ourselves with the eyes of the Risen Lord.
Fr. Krzysztof Gierat, CMF