Read this week's guidelines and be nourished as you journey with our Community in Cebu.
I have chosen you to be with me and send you out to preach.
February 3-9, 2020
General Theme: Heirs of a Charism, Open to the Dynamism of the Spirit
General Objective of this Year:
To promote in the entire Verbum Dei Family a missionary, prophetic, itinerant and expansive spirit by looking at the signs of times so that we can joyfully form apostles and evangelizing communities.
To deepen into the roots of our charism and legacy received from our founder, Jaime Bonet, so that we renew our missionary consecration and we transmit it with creative fidelity to the new generations.
Objective of the Week: to learn how to live with joy and generosity the work of evangelization as Verbum Dei missionary disciples
“The Lord did not love you and choose you because you outnumbered other peoples; you were the smallest nation on earth. But the Lord loved you and wanted to keep the promise that he made to your ancestors.” (Deut 7:7-8). These very words ring true to our very existence. Last January 17, 2020, we celebrated our 57 years of existence and of being under the grace of God. Compared to other communities, we are not the greatest, but the smallest. Yet, the commitment of God to us is to the very end.
Verbum Dei, you are given a charism in your care. This is both a gift and a task for each of us. Ours is the task to guard and live to the full our identity, to continue transmitting this charism in our generation of today. How do we fully live out our identity and mission today?
Let us never forget God’s choice over our lives to be with Him, to listen to His words, to preach His words and more so to live out His words. We will deepen this week with supplemental readings from our founder to help us grow in our openness to the dynamism of the Spirit. May our fidelity to the charism received lead us also to be creative in reaching out to our brothers and sisters thirsty for a living and loving encounter of our God through the charism we received.
Looking at the world and the signs of the times
Really if one prays, one is impelled to have to give it and, at the same time, having to give it one has to receive it. It is there one sees meaning in prayer, where God tells you, “Prepare well, give it well. What I tell you, transmit it to others.”
Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. Do you not say, “Four months more, then comes the harvest”? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.
The people’s need of a living encounter with God never change. Jaime reminds us not to lose what is essential: prayer and encounter with God where we can hear the cry of God’s people and the awareness of the treasure we hold in our hands.
How do we pray? Does our prayer lead us to notice the people around us and their needs? Does our prayer implicate our very lives to go out from our own comfort zone and encounter the other?
Engraving a missionary and a prophetic, itinerant and expansive spirit
“Do you see Jesus? This cannot be! You should not have stayed in the tabernacle like this; because if you had gone through the streets, if you had spoken, if You, the most beautiful among the children of men, would have appeared as a youth of twenty-one years, a young man with strength, all this could have been avoided.” But He turned to me, very strongly, saying: “Jaime, and your feet?” “Would they serve you Jesus?” I asked. Jesus said, “If you want, they can be mine.” “Well, they are yours!” I replied. And after Jesus asked me, “And you cannot talk, is your tongue mute?” “Would my mouth and tongue serve you? Well, they are yours Jesus!” I said. Jesus continued asking me: “And your head? And your mind?” “It’s yours!” I replied. I remember a question I asked him, that I never forgot: “Then, would you like Jesus, to go here, there, to the cities and to the world?” The answer of Jesus was: “I would love to!” So I said to him, “You will go, Jesus, you will go because my life is yours. You will go.”
For, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’
We have this missionary imprint in us. Our missionary identity, as Pope Francis said, is not just a part of our life or a badge we can take off; it is not an “extra” or another moment in our life. It is something we cannot uproot from our being without destroying our very self. The Word of God, prayed for and with, will always bring us beyond.
How do we allow our encounter with God and our involvement in the lives of others awaken our missionary and prophetic identity?
Does it lead us to dream further despite the challenges?
Witnessing joyfully in the work of evangelization
“Union with Christ is the best source of energy, enthusiasm, and joy in the apostle.”
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.
The invitation is to nurture a joyful witness in the mission. Joy is a very essential ingredient in the mission. It is not very attractive to people when we wear our long faces. How are we going to attract people when we ourselves are irritable, bitter and grumpy? The more people will distance themselves from us. Only from our close union with God the smell of joy could come out. How is our union with God? Is it our source of energy, enthusiasm and joy as missionary disciples?
Forming apostles and evangelizing communities
The retreat house of Santa Lucia was very busy. I could not reach everyone because it also fell on me the responsibility of the parish. It was hard work, but seeing the enthusiasm of the people after the spiritual exercises and retreats, motivated me to tell them “help me to preach!.” Jaime understood clearly the call of Jesus to form and send out many more workers to the vineyards of the Lord. As a result of the preaching, vocations began to spring up. Many lay would also join the growing missionary family. Jaime also showed a great belief in the people he was forming. He always aspired that the people would even surpass him and often stated, “I will look for persons better than myself.” As Jaime would say “love is promotion,” and the love of the apostle moves him or her to promote others.
2 Make the tent you live in larger; lengthen its ropes and strengthen the pegs! 3 You will extend your boundaries on all sides; your people will get back the land that the other nations now occupy. Cities now deserted will be filled with people.
The intention and purpose of our dedication to prayer and ministry of the Word is to form apostles and evangelizing communities. How do we promote our co-missionary disciples and nurture their capacities to the maximum? It is essential to note that we are not the center of our evangelizing activity and that we know how to form people in faith so that in turn they can train others.
Deepening into the roots of our charism and legacy received from our founder, Jaime Bonet
Recounting our history is essential for preserving our identity, for strengthening our unity as a family and our common sense of belonging. More than an exercise in archaeology or the cultivation of mere nostalgia, it calls for following in the footsteps of past generations to grasp the high ideals, the vision and values which inspired them, beginning with the founders/ foundresses and the first communities. In this way we come to see how the charism has been lived over the years, the creativity it has sparked, the difficulties it encountered and the concrete ways those difficulties were surmounted. We may also encounter cases of inconsistency, the result of human weakness and even at times a neglect of some essential aspects of the charism. Yet everything proves instructive and, taken as a whole, acts as a summons to conversion. To tell our story is to praise God and to thank him for all his gifts. Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter to all Consecrated People
As the baton is passed on to us, how do I see the necessity to go deeper into the roots of our charism and the legacy received from Jaime? With what attitudes am I invited to live out my identity as heir of this charism?
Renewing our missionary consecration daily through Prayer
I would like to say to Verbum Dei… since I feel it as my great responsibility before God, that Verbum Dei without prayer will not exist, nor preach, nor expand, nor can it grow, nor can it be happy, nor have reason to exist. I would like, and so I ask God with insistence – day and night – a Verbum Dei of more and better prayer, and of Verbum Dei prayer… that is an affective prayer, a one-to-one, intimate prayer that consecrates, woos, and makes it possible that the terrible temptations and difficulties, ever stronger each time – those which all missionary men and women necessarily have to pass through – may not knock them down, may not make them fall into the mediocrity of a non-consecrated life without direction or meaning. Instead, for the missionary man, missionary woman of prayer, the difficulties can be converted into the primary material for our vocation to holiness that all of us have been called to, and that all have the obligation to orient the rest in holiness. (Jaime Bonet)
Remain united to me.
For this reason I remind you to keep alive the gift that God gave you when I laid my hands on you; 7 for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:6-7
Our vocation and mission is to give the Word of God and to transmit it with creative fidelity to our generation of today. And to give it, it is a result of our dialogue with God. How do we allow our encounter with God to renew and revitalize our missionary consecration?
5TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
1st Reading:Isaiah 58:7-10
Psalm 112:4-5; 6-7; 8-9
2nd Reading:1 Corinthians 2:1-5