Read the letter below from Lucia Herrerias Guerra, FMVD President:
"Heirs of a charism, open to the dynamism of the Spirit."
Dear Fraternity and entire Verbum Dei Missionary Family,
Many greetings to all in this Holy Week 2018. Surely many of you will read this letter after Easter Monday, with the physical fatigue and joy in the heart after some days of intense mission.
The theme of the XXXIII World Youth Day, celebrated this year at the diocesan level, are the words of the angel: "Do not fear, Mary, because you have found grace before God." Reading the message of Pope Francis, I ask myself: What do these words mean to us, Verbum Dei, at this moment in our history?
"Heirs of a charism, open to the dynamism of the Spirit." Before the heritage of the charism, we may feel the weight of the enormous responsibility that is entrusted to us. Fear of not being up to the task, of not being faithful to this heritage. This fear could lead us to cling to the letter, to be fundamentalists without realizing it, wanting to be faithful "to each letter and stroke" of the charism, of what we have received from Jaime. At the other extreme, we could confuse the openness to the dynamism of the Spirit with experiences or ideas that would take us away from the authenticity of the received charism, accommodating ourselves to the world instead of transforming ourselves through the renewal of our minds. (cf. Rom 12:1)
Not all past times were better, nor has everything of the past been overcome: "the owner of the house takes out of his ark new things and old things ..." (Mt 13:52) And he puts them in new wineskins! I understand the openness to the dynamism of the Spirit as those "variations on a theme" that a great pianist can make of a Mozart sonata: he makes variations but we can recognize the original work. If it is not so, it may even be another work of art, but it is another work.
Before this task, we hear the words of the angel addressed to us: Do not fear, Verbum Dei, because you have found grace before God. "Do not fear," not because you are strong and powerful, not because you have guaranteed fidelity; not because your merits have reached God’s ears... Do not fear, because you have found grace before God. Do not fear, because God loves you with eternal love (cf. Is 54:8). Do not fear, because God has chosen you, chose you, and chooses you: "Can I abandon you, Israel? (Amos 11:8). You have gone through burning fires, and you have been burned. You have crossed turbulent waters and you have not drowned. Because I am the Lord, your God (cf, Is 43:1-4).
God calls us and sends us as a Missionary Family that manifests God’s Trinitarian love to the world. But human relationships are wounded by sin. They are governed by who can do more, who commands more, who has more power. The regeneration that Jesus does changes the criteria: it is not about who has more power, but about who loves more. "The kings of the nations rule as absolute masters... but not so among you... for I am in your midst as the one who serves." (Lk 22:25-27) Every Holy Thursday, Jesus reminds us that He, the Master and Lord, washes our feet so that we also wash each other's feet (cf. Jn 13). Community life, family, marriage, ecclesiality... move forward when we do not compete for power but for love... for loving as He has loved us (cf. Jn 13:34).
Each one of us is a fragile clay pot, easily breakable. Ecclesiality is a fragile clay vessel, very easy to break. But in our weakness the strength of God is shown to be perfect, and God has deposited in these earthen vessels a treasure of infinite value.
Mary of Nazareth, without any merit on her part, was full of grace. She did not conquer grace: she received it, and her soul was filled with such a joy that it made her proclaim the greatness of God.
We, without any merit - and often with demerits! - have received the grace to be apostles (Rom 1:5). The Church, in approving the Verbum Dei Missionary Fraternity, entrusts us with prayer and the ministry of the Word.
How can we live this mission better, with the efficacy of the sword of the Word in today's world? What kind of prayer do we need in order to be faithful to the received charism and to the initiatives of the Spirit? In a time of individualism and narcissism, and therefore of "spiritual narcissism," where a prayer of seeking to "be well", and of "relaxation" is in fashion, but which has little to do with Christian prayer, which is the dialogue with the living God who shakes us and commits us with the our sisters and brothers in the transformation of the world; and who renews in us "the impetuous air of a nascent Church" (BI 5). An encounter with the living God that many times, far from leaving us alone, stirs our deepest being and urges us to leave our "comfort zones" to go and make disciples of all people.
To what testimony of life do we need to be converted, what lifestyle that shows the authenticity of our prayer and sustains our ministry of the Word, making it credible? What depth of fraternal love, so that it is a sign of the Kingdom?
Fragile earthen vessels ... but the one who calls us and sends us is you, risen Jesus, "conqueror of your death and of mine." That before the impossible, Father, we may open our lives to your grace. Grant us, Holy Spirit, fidelity to the Verbum Dei charism, open to your creativity and dynamism. And accompany us, Mary, so that our dedication to the living Word of God, each one from our vocation in the VDMFa, may be a propagation of the life of God for generations. Amen.
Lucía Herrerías Guerra