Saturday, December 6, 2014

Circular Letter of Fr. Giulio Criminesi, OFM Cap, Provincial Minister of Marche

Translated from Italian. Good Message filled with optimism
He completed recently 50 years of Priesthood.....still going strong.....

Brothers, we are already in the Second week of Advent, time of grace that Our Constitutions speaks highly and says that it is a time of intense penance, both personal and communal (cfr. n. 111, 4); but especially the Constitutions urge us to a true inner transformation (cfr. n. 110

1). This transformation or purification is realized mainly with a renewed commitment to live a fraternal relationship pivoted by mutual esteem. I came across one story, which would explain better the above idea. There was once a man sitting at the edges of an oasis, the entry of a cities in the Middle East, a young man approached him and asked: "I never came to this part of the city. How are the inhabitants of this city? "The old replied man with a question: "How were the inhabitants of the city from which I come? ". "Selfish and bad”. For this reason I was happy to go beyond. ""So are the inhabitants of this city, replied the old man. Little later, another young man approached the man and asked him the same question: "I just arrived in this country. How are the inhabitants of this city? ". The man replied again with the same question: "How were the inhabitants of the town I come from? '. "They were good, generous, hospitable, honest. I had many friends and I really struggled to leave. ""The people of this city are so, replied the old man." A merchant who had brought his camels to drink water, had heard the conversations and when the second young man walked away, he turned to the old reproachfully: "How can you give two completely different answers to the same question asked by two people?" . "My son" - said the old man - "each one brings his own universe in the heart. Whoever did not find anything good in the past, will not find anything good here either. On the contrary, the one who had friends in the other cities also find here the faithful and loyal friends. Because, you see, people find in the other what they have in their hearts.

I think that this is a parable, which can help us a lot in this time of Advent and for life to purify our eyes in looking at his brother who lives with us. If we have the impression that we are with some person with unbearable limits, sometimes it is reflection of our limitations we put on others. Jesus found people away from love: He did not win them by mistrust, but as noted by Chiara Lubich in a meditation: Jesus has heard the language of men, observed the mode of action of men, has realized that they were far from the world of God; has neither judged nor convicted, but he first taught by example and then by word of God's language, the language of love. We too must first live brotherly love and then we will see and experience the best in our brothers.

Let us remember: if one feels that he is son of God, recognizes that his brother is also a son of God; but if he does not see his brother as a child of God, is a sign that he does not live fully the divine sonship. We know, for St. Francis fraternity does not come by human will, but as a gift of God's fatherhood. It is made up of brothers that God has given each one to the other. Our Constitutions n. 89.1 recall: "As brothers given to each other by the Lord and endowed with different gifts, accept one another with a grateful spirit." Sometimes this gift is wrapped up with a card not really attractive: Let us not stop the outward appearance, but welcome the gift. Let us  enter into the joy that was in the heart of Francis when he wrote the Testament: "The Lord gave me brothers." Thomas of Celano tells the extraordinary joy of Francis to receive a gift from the Lord, the first companion, Bernardo: "It seemed that the Lord had cared for him, giving him the companion that everyone has a need and faithful friend (FF. 361). Let us be influenced by the joy of Francis. This will be possible if it grows in us the belief that the Franciscan fraternity is a new family united by the bond of charity, according to the teaching of the Gospel.

Celano sees the brothers joined together as living stones, which, cemented by the charity, build the holy temple of the Spirit. (cfr. FF. 387) The Friar Minor, as mentioned the holy Constitutions, is homeless, homeless, in absolute poverty, without property; everything that Francis can offer is the fraternity, fruit of charity, understood as perfect communion of life, where each of his brothers can and should find refuge and support. St. Francis requires his brother’s absolute poverty, but he knows that man cannot live without anything: for this he teaches his brothers to do charity. We can summarize the Franciscan project in the classic expression: "the absolute poverty compensates multiplied the charity." Christmas, which reminds us of the infinite love of Jesus, who is to become one of us by giving us all himself, teach us and let us live the authentic fraternal charity! It is the hope and prayer that I do for each of you

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