Spain. In the festive framework of Easter and in the midst of the Pauline Year, the invitation: “You are a letter of Christ” (2Cor 3,3) Mission and Transmission, gave an atmosphere of warm reception and radiant faces. The XXXVIII National Week of Institutes of Consecrated Life, which wants to be a great collective exercise of “lectio viva” of the authentic letters of Paul, started at 5 in the afternoon.Luis Alberto González Díez, CMF, moderator of the week, made the official opening with a greeting to the participants and presented the table, which was presided by Mons. Manuel Sánchez Monge, Bishop of Ferrol-Mondoñedo and Member of the Commission for the Consecrated Life of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference (CEE), Dr. Gonzalo Tejerina Arias, OSA, Dean of the Theology Faculty of the Pontifical University of Salamanca, Professor Carmen Bernabé, lay professor of Bible in the Theology Faculty of Deusto and José Cristo Rey García Paredes, CMF, director of the Institute of Religious Life. We underline some ideas of this presentation: -From the viewpoint of Paul, great communicator, let us become aware of the communicative condition of Religious Life. -Rediscovering our identity as signs and witnesses will bring us to ask ourselves “what is Jesus writing in our consecrated hearts?”
Fr. José Cristo Rey closed the greeting to the participants, linking with last year’s week of religious life “IN THE SCHOOL OF THE WORD”, and told us that we continued listening to the Word, in the workshop of the Word. Professor Carmen Bernabé brought us to “the letter of our vocation to a new existence” (1 Ts).
She explained in a graphic way the meaning of this Letter as the first writing of the New Testament, from four aspects:
1.- In the beginning of the Pauline mission in Europe.
2.- Thessalonica: a Greco-Roman city beside the Aegean Sea and in Via Egnatia.
3.- The community of Thessalonica: its characteristics and its problems.
4.- Paul’s responses: guidelines and strategies.
Professor Antonio Sánchez Orantos, CMF, made “A present day re-reading of 1 Ts.” He presented to us some questions, which he later tackled with luminous responses: What does it mean living in God?, How do we come to experience God’s life as the meaning of our own life?; the second coming?…
From these questions and searching for answers, we found out: We must love the world as God does. God is God, supreme otherness; we must avoid all possibility of idolatry (reaching up to God) and of sin (wanting to be like God). The afternoon ended with the celebration of the distribution of the first Letter to the Thessalonians. Led by Pablo Agustín Genovés, priest and animator of the week, the letter was passed out to the participants by the students of the Institute of Religious Life and of the Regina Apostolorum School, who acted as messengers, bringing the Letters of Paul to the heart of each religious.
From this first day the Pauline Letterbox was left open. Each participant in his/her own respective community, after receiving each day a letter of Paul, in a climate of silence and prayer will read the letter, will select a passage and will deposit it in the letterbox. These will be conforming at the end of the week the letter that Paul would send today to the religious. “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”