Love hopes all things
There are two part in the beatitudes,
clearly recognizable in the Greek text. There are 36 words in the
first part which includes the first four beatitudes, and 36 also
in the second part which includes the words merciful, pure in heart,
peacemakers, and those persecuted for righteousness' sake.
Between the first and the second there is a change. In the first
four beatitudes, the poor in spirit are urged to open their hearts
and to be hungry and thirsty only for what is pleasing to God. In
the second part, it is no longer the disciple who is the main agent.
It is God himself who leads the dance. The disciples are called
to enter 100% into the dynamics of the Kingdom of God, to be merciful
'like the Father' with pure hearts until they see God and see life
and the world with God's eyes.
Love that hopes all things travels on the same wavelength. The last
four beatitudes do not promise any reward. The limits are pushed
to the extreme. And what awaits us there is so infinitely large
and magnificently beautiful that anything that smacks of limit,
weakness or fragility no longer frightens. Everything is but a beginning,
a cradle of love, of life and joy that are endless and are there
for us, our sure inheritance.
This phrase speaks of the hope of one who knows that others can
change, mature and radiate unexpected beauty and untold potential.
Each person, with all his or her failings, is called to the fullness
of life in heaven. There, fully transformed by Christ's resurrection,
every weakness, darkness and infirmity will pass away. There the
person's true being will shine forth in all its goodness and beauty.
This is the way of thinking of the Magnificat where the protagonist
of all that Mary sings is the Almighty and where the poor and hungry
are raised up and filled with good things.
Ò The Beatitudes are in perfect harmony with St Paul's hymn
to love. These eight verses Mt. 5, 3-10 should be learned by heart
and preserved in the memory.
Love endures all things
Panta hypomenei: This means that
love bears every trial with a positive attitude. (AL 118). Translations
are capable of conveying the meaning only up to a certain point.
Charity that is able to 'stand under the weight' would probably
be closer to the original. But rather than from the dictionary we
get the meaning better from the Mysteries of the Rosary. There we
see what the true meaning of charity that 'endures all things' when
we look into the face of Love incarnate on the journey from Gethsemane
Here, too, we need a change of perspective or rather, a true conversion,
which means changing our customary way of understanding life. The
'persecution' of which the last beatitude speaks is not an accident
to be steered clear of and avoided at all costs. Rather, it is the
culmination or point of arrival. It is the ''it is finished'' of
that Friday afternoon that changed history forever. Sometimes we
are so concerned about physical pain that we cannot see that beyond
it there can be such a magnitude and power of love, of goodness,
of forgiveness, such a force for change, that the pain becomes grace
and becomes the mystery of salvation. "For the sake of the
joy that was set before him, [he] endured the cross, disregarding
its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne
of God" (Heb. 12.2).
The 'Stabat Mater': Mary stands beneath the Cross (hypomenei!).
This is the culmination or point of arrival of the 'yes' she said
at Nazareth. This is the culmination of her virginity - total abandonment
to the mystery which enshrouded her life, and the culmination of
her motherhood. It is captured beautifully in Michelangelo's Pietà:
Mary holds in her arms her Son who has been taken down from the
cross, the same Son to whom she gave birth, the Son who took his
bodily features from her. She is the young mother in those infinite
pangs giving life to all of us, members of her Son.
To convince us of the power of love
that 'endures all things' Pope Francis chooses a long quote from
a modern prophet, to whom he dedicates an entire page. Here I report
only a few lines, but it is worth meditating on all the words of
Martin Luther King. Pope Francis says:
"The person who hates you most has some good in him; even the
nation that hates you most has some good in it; even the race that
hates you most has some good in it. And when you come to the point
that you look in the face of every man and see deep down within
him what religion calls 'the image of God', you begin to love him
in spite of [everything]. No matter what he does, you see God's
image there. There is an element of goodness that he can never sluff
. (sermon of Martin Luther King at Montgomery, Alabama,
17 November 1957 - in AL 118).
LOVE HOPES ALL THINGS
Accepting the invitation of Pope Francis I contemplate in the faces
of those with whom I live every day the 'fullness of life' to which
everyone is called and destined.
LOVE BEARS ALL THINGS
In prayer I present my small or large 'sorrowful mysteries' to Jesus
and Mary, asking them for the strength to live them with greater
in a family without a father
As a comment on the Strenna for 2017
and in preparation for the feast of Don Bosco we look again at a
passage that takes us back to the origins of our charism.
I was not yet two years old when
the merciful Lord hit us with a sad bereavement. My dearly loved
father died unexpectedly. He was strong and healthy, still young
and actively interested in promoting a good Christian upbringing
for his offspring. One day he came home from work covered in sweat
and imprudently went down into a cold cellar. That night he developed
a high temperature, the first sign of a serious illness. Every effort
to cure him proved vain. Within a few days, he was at death's door.
Strengthened by all the comforts of religion, he recommended to
my mother confidence in God, then died, aged only thirty-four, on
12 May 1817.
I do not know how I reacted on that sad occasion. One thing only
do I remember, and it is my earliest memory. We were all going out
from the room where he had died, and I insisted on staying behind.
My grieving mother addressed me, "Come, John, come with me,"
"If papa's not coming, 1 don't want to come," I answered.
"My poor son," my mother replied, "come with me;
you no longer have a father."
That is how Don Bosco, 56 years later, described this sad event
in his life. Don Bosco was normally very reticent when he spoke
of himself, particularly when it came to expressing his feelings,
but in these few lines he allowed his tears to be seen, and his
inability as a small child to understand what was going on when
he realized that his father was not moving and not answering, and
on seeing the tears of his mother, now a widow, on that day when
she saw her life completely changed.
It is highly unlikely according to one author that the memory of
that moment remained alive in Don Bosco. The same author says it
is more likely that he was remembering what he was told by adults
when he was still a child. In any case Don Bosco is speaking about
the new situation in which the family found itself. It was no longer
like other 'normal' families. He would have to learn to grow up
and mature without a father figure, but with a mother who certainly
showed exceptional qualities. We can deduce this from all that Don
Bosco said with great sobriety.
It shows the great human and Christian stature of this peasant woman,
a widow and mother, with a family of five to care for. She rejected
the proposal of a second marriage which would have suited her very
well. Her three sons would have been entrusted to a good guardian
who would have taken good care of them. "A guardian is a friend''
she said ''but I am the mother of my children. I could never forsake
them even if they gave me all the gold in the world." And Don
Bosco tells how his mother took great care "to instruct her
sons in their religion, teaching them obedience and keeping them
occupied in things suited to their age''.
This shows us how much young John was affected by his situation
as an orphan, and how in the family he could enjoy the deep love
of a mother who devoted her life totally to her children. She was
their first and most important catechist. She taught them to be
responsible and honest workers and to be charitable towards those
who were poor. She was a mother who, even amid so many material
difficulties and so much distress, did everything possible to ensure
that her son could follow the vocation and the call to the priesthood.
Since we have drawn attention to the experience of Don Bosco, it
seems appropriate to refer to another great and holy woman of the
Salesian Family, Maria Domenica Mazzarello. She also was affected
by the situation of her family, even though it differed in some
aspects from that of Don Bosco. Her family experienced a similar
situation of poverty as was common among simple farmers, but the
childhood and family of Maria Domenica Mazzarello were quite different.
Maria Domenica did not grow up without a father. She was the eldest
of a large family. She did not have to move away from her home village
of Mornese, during her childhood and youth. Certainly, she shared
the same climate of piety. In fact, it was a different family model
which deeply marked the personality of Mary Mazzarello.
TURIN - VALDOCCO - 26th MARIAN DAY
On Sunday 4 December 2016, the ADMA in Piedmont, Valle d'Aosta and
Lombardy celebrated the 26th Marian Day in a Marian atmosphere of
communion and joy. In front of about 300 people, Fr Silvio Roggia,
SDB, as part of the formation programme inspired by the exhortation
Amoris Laetitia, took as his theme the song of love from St Paul's
first letter to the Christians of Corinth. He emphasized four expressions
that say it all: love bears all things, believes all things, hopes
all things, and endures all things.
His talk was followed by a time of prayer and reflection on the
formation programme. Then there were some testimonies of young people
of ADMA who shared their sense of belonging to the Association in
a beautiful way. They spoke also about some activities that they
had been involved in
Mariangela and Gianluca Spesso then presented what the presence
of Mary means for their family and how they lived as a couple and
as a family in the light of her presence. Finally, Giusy Chiosso
told her story as a member of ADMA for over thirty years and how
Mary always surprised her with her grace and her help.
In the afternoon, in the shrine of Mary Help of Christians, after
the communal recitation of the Rosary, there was solemn Mass, celebrated
by Fr Cristian Besso, new Rector of the Basilica of Mary Help of
Christians. In his homily, he invited the members to be shining
witnesses, like alabaster that becomes transparent with light. During
the celebration 16 people became members of the Association: 11
from the ADMA Primary group, 2 from Arese and 3 young people from
the Shalom Community of Palazzolo sull'Oglio.
This Marian Day showed once again how Mary Help of Christians accompanies
and supports the association by renewing it and letting us see how
the bud reborn in Valdocco is growing in beauty and quality
Thanks for the animation of the Marian
day on Sunday. We were all happy. Fr Silvio said that the laity
are a gift to us consecrated persons ... I feel I have grown in
my identity as a Daughter of Mary Help of Christians from the sharing
of the members of the local ADMA and ADMA Primary. Thanks!(Sr Luigina
Becoming a member of ADMA together
with my husband Renato has been a real grace! The first gift that
Our Lady has given me is a new feeling: the certainty of her real
presence. She accompanies me in a way that is almost physical. (Eleanor)
COLOMBIA - THE ADMA CENTRES OF DUITAMA
RECEIVE THE DIPLOMA OF AFFILIATION TO ADMA TURIN
Duitama, Colombia - November 2016 - To participate fully in the
life of the Association of Mary Help of Christians (ADMA), the Regulations
of the Association foresee that each ADMA centre be canonically
erected and affiliated to ADMA at the Basilica of Mary Help of Christians
in Turin. On 30 November last, 16 ADMA centres of Duitama, Colombia,
received the Diploma of Affiliation during Mass celebrated by Fr
Julio Olarte, Delegate for the Salesian Family of the Province of
FIRST ADMA CONGRESS IN INDIA
On 1 December 2016, the members of ADMA from 7 groups in Kerala
(India) in the Salesian Province of Bangalore and two from the FMA
Province celebrated the first ADMA Marian Congress in the history
of the Salesian Family in India. 140 members participated in this
historic event which took place in the first Salesian presence of
Kerala at Don Bosco Vaduthala, Cochin. This Marian Congress was
opened by the Provincial Fr Joyce Thonikuzhiyil and chaired by the
national delegate Fr Noel Maddhichetty SDB. Sister Elizabeth Pothen,
Provincial Vicar of the FMA, also addressed the assembly. They urged
the members of ADMA to take their mission seriously spreading the
two devotions dear to Don Bosco, devotion to the Eucharist and devotion
to the Virgin Mary. The Provincial President of ADMA, Doctor Varghese,
presented the topic ''The Virgin Mary, Mother and model for all
mothers''. During Eucharistic Adoration we prayed for the release
of Fr Tom Uzhunalil SDB, captured by terrorists in Yemen.
In the afternoon, all the members of Congress went to the Marian
Shrine of Vallarpadam for the Eucharist celebrated by Fr Joyce Thonikuzhiyil
SDB, and Fr Joe Kallupura. They addressed a special greeting to
all the participants, to the chairpersons and group leaders, on
the occasion of this first historic event.
The main coordinator of this Marian Congress was the president of
ADMA in Vaduthala, Kochi. The Congress decided to hold an ADMA Congress
at national level in 2020. This was a big wish of the national delegate
of the Salesian Family, Fr Maddhichetty.
We thank our Mother, Mary Immaculate, Help of Christians, for the
unique role she has in the lives of all the members of ADMA. The
Congress was celebrated at the beginning of the centenary of the
apparitions at Fatima: She is helping us in the fight against evil
and in our prayer for the victory of peace (Fr Joe Kallupura SDB,
Spiritual Animator, Bangalore).