Humble reality (1966)
what we have to meditate today is the promise the whole liturgy gives us of a new forgiveness that will renew all of life, and in our case will renew our Com-munity. The Community needs rejuvenating.
We must acknowledge not only our private faults but also our faults in relation to our sisters and brothers, to the entire Community. We are in fact responsible for each other. Only Cain said he was not his brother’s keeper. Many of our sisters are extremely old; but it is sad to see them not being replaced by younger women. Does the Community have to get older before it gets younger? Nobody seems very interested in our cultural activities. It may be my fault, but on the other hand it may be yours.
No more attempts have been made lately to find aspirants in the various categories (widows, old women for the First Level), as though we had no more respon-sibility for those souls.
If a sister leaves us, perhaps we should all feel re-sponsible. We are far too prone to engage in useless criticism, instead of trying to help to make things bet-ter. Perhaps it is the fault of the superiors, who do not sufficiently challenge the souls in their charge.
Let us not forget that one cannot achieve individual perfection without concern for others. A soul which practised all the virtues would still be damned if it had not the love which is Christianity’s first requirement. We are involved with everyone else and we cannot avoid it. We may feel good because it seems to us that our spiritual life has found a bed in which to rest, but it is a bed of death. We are forgetting the other souls who also desire sanctity. We pay no heed to the real Com-munity. Yet we should love it, and all the souls that belong to it.
This involvement with others requires sacrifice: peo-ple near us seem worse than those far away, but God has put them near us so that their deficiencies may be reason for loving them more and making sacrifices for their sake.
We must do everything possible to get back on the road, with trust in God: trust is not presumption, pro-vided we recognise our failings. The pre-condition for divine forgiveness, and for renewal of our interior life, is confession of our sins.
Let us try to be simple, concrete and straightforward, speaking of ourselves as we are: imperfect, and with precise responsibilities towards our religious institute.
How we must all feel responsible that the Commu-nity should live! The life of the Community conditions our interior life; our response to the Lord is inseparable from our commitment to serve the Community, even before our consecration.
Now we are at the beginning of Lent I want to wake the Community up, and convey a sense of urgency to you.
We must in all humility be committed, practical, realistic! The more we dream of great things, the more responsible we are for the withering of the little seeds of life within the Community. We risk disappointing those souls who are asking us for something: a gift of patience, love, attention.
It is such a beautiful thing that the Lord is asking from us. And it is so necessary for the Church that here, and nowhere else, each soul, in the state to which it has been called, should truly live this recognition of the primacy of God, should be especially committed to the gift of love.
Lenten Ember days, 1966