Economics is one of
those social sciences which helps the correct functioning of a world developed
according to the will of God, and what follows is also the consequence of the
words written in the Bible, Genesis (1:26):
Then God said, "Let us make humankind in
our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air,
and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every
creeping thing that creeps upon the earth."
This is the world we received as a gift of original
creation, for the purpose of proper management, of Cactive and careful
Active and careful
administration (dominion) is not
only recommended by the Gospel, but also by local law established for our
congregations and also for the Union, as recalled by Fr. Friedrich Kretz SAC in
his introduction to the Textbook of Economic Administration for the Società.
This “dominion” as expressed in economic
science, is a means and a use of various tools for the purpose of
“administration”, ie. responsible management taking care of what has been given
order consciously to be able to take care, to manage according to God's will,
it is necessary to include God in this dialogue, as the Creator of what has
been given to us. The Dialogue in
Economics, God's dialogue, takes place at various levels: local and
personal. This dialogue concerns everyone personally, depending on their
situation and condition. It concerns the owner, manager, supervisor, employee
and everyone who makes us of the product of their work. We are all protagonists
in the same dialogue.
Let us leave the
global economy to the experts of this world who, like us, will one day have to
give a final account of their stewardship (Lk 14: 25-33).
the following part of this reflection, I would like to share my personal
experience of dialogue in economics, on the level of my relationship with God,
with other people and myself, giving some indications, perhaps even some
suggestions, models which have been very useful in helping me to remain
actively engaged in this Dialogue.
The essence of the
beginning of this difficult dialogue with God, in the management of HIS
property, is God’s invitation to work, to make money, to accumulate money, to
spend and administer them. The result of this invitation is the awarennes,given
by God Himself, that all these goods belong to Him, and have their beginning in
Him. Putting God in first place, not depending solely on my own skills,
education, resourcefulness, need to possess and to create a world in my own
image instead of in HIS image, is an
act of trust which, instead of “JESUS I trust myself”, expresses “JESUS I trust in YOU”.
time passed before I understood and accepted this, and it has become for me a
kind of conversion, metania and liberation. Such conversion is probably more
difficult for lay people in their contexts, as their life is so connected with
the skills they possess in order to acquire such goods, but
this conversion is also necessary in consecrated life in order to understand
God's will regarding the possession and administration of such material goods.
that what I have is not my own, but something which I have received in order to
manage, changes the perspective of looking at the world, at work, at earning,
investing and saving. It is a conversion that gives life, as the Scriptures
say: “Repent and live!” (Ez 18:32). Such awareness is not easy to develop and
every day requires conversion, prayer, dialogue, giving a “management report”,
a continuous renewal of friendship with HIM to whom all belongs.
Vincent saw economic resources as ultimately belonging to our Lord Jesus Christ
and as the heritage of His poor. (cf. SAC Law n 26).
way to work, in my daily dialogue with God, I try to completely entrust to Him
my day, my skills, my decisions, my partners, my employees and the people I
will meet that day, in order to enable me to be a useful instrument “in the
vineyard of the Lord”.
prayer, together with God, I find solutions to professional problems or other
matters entrusted to me. Sometimes the answer comes immediately, but often it
needs more time, in order that my heart be opened and prepared for it.
best place and time to talk about these topics related to work is before His
presence in the Blessed Sacrament or in the Sacrament of Penance. In these two
presence, the answer to the questions asked comes to the heart or directly to
often entrust my work and professional duties to God through the saints, but
especially to St. Joseph the Worker. Pope John XXIII taught me this prayer,
which I offer here as an aid which you may find useful.
Prayer of the Pope
John XXIII to St. Joseph the Worker
O Saint Joseph,
guardian of Jesus, chaste spouse of Mary, who passed your life in the perfect
fulfillment of duty, sustaining the Holy Family of Nazareth with the labour of
your hands, protect kindly those who trustingly turn to you. You know their
aspirations, their miseries, their hopes, and they have recourse to you because
they know that they will find in you one who will understand and protect them.
You too have known trial, labor and weariness.
But, even in the
midst of worries of the material life, your soul was filled with profound peace
and it exulted in unerring joy through intimacy with the Son of God entrusted
to you, and with Mary, his most sweet mother. Make those whom you protect
understand that they are not alone in their labour, but show them how to
discover Jesus near them, to receive him with grace, to guard him faithfully,
as you have done.
And assure that in
every family, in every factory, in every workshop, wherever a Christian works,
all may be satisfied in charity, in patience, in justice, in seeking to do
well, so that abundant gifts may descend from heaven.
discovering and allowing God to lead us allows us to enter into a specific
dialogue with God, sometimes allowing us to gauge a particular economic
situation and whether or not to take concrete action. I will try to describe it
through a particular example.
while contemplating the joyful mysteries
of the Rosary, it struck me that, based on their meaning, it was possible
to find an answer regarding the appropriateness of choosing a particular
economic task and creating a feasibility study.
the very beginning, before a new “business idea, product, project to implement”
comes to birth, the Annunciation is
to be followed - a certain thought, God’s touch, the Angel’s prompting: “You
might do this”, or “maybe this might be important to do”... Annunciation is a specific beginning of
the process, the conception of an idea, the START UP. Annunciation is also the
skipping of a heartbeat, a brainstorm, when a “wonderful” new idea appears. But
in the mystery of the Annunciation, there is remains a lot of uncertainty, a
response yet to be given: will something happen? Will it come about? Is it
really God’s will? Will it be anointed by God?
next step is to do further evaluation, to try to reduce risk and see whether
our idea is a one-off, unique, innovative, because only such characteristics
and our way of implementing our idea can guarantee its future success (and show
whether it is “anointed by God”). It is also necessary to check our design
against what is already in the market, to see whether there is already anything
similar to our idea. There are often many similar products but only some are
successful. Mary’s visit to Elizabeth further confirmed to her that her son was
the Messiah; Elizabeth’s son was already even at this point shown to be “prophet”, already pointing to and revealing Mary’s son as the
promised “Messiah”, “anointed by God”.
If your idea is
“anointed by God”, you can sing the Magnificat and bring it forth to be an
instrument in the hands of the Father for helping to “save the world”. If you
say that it is a “prophet”, this decision to bring it forth still rests with
you, but the possibility of success can be far more difficult to achieve.
to the mystery of “Birth”, a coming to be in which the idea becomes reality and
complements God’s plan of creation. This mystery can meditate on further, the
revelation to the shepherds, the Epiphany of the “birth” and so on, as the Lord
will suggest. The level of detail of this plan can be worked out within the
Dialogue, which begins where God is invited.
the mystery of the “Presentation of the
Lord”, we touch on the question of entrusting to God, in the temple, what
already belongs to Him. In meditating on this mystery, I often try to
understand the nature of God’s action in me which led to the realisation of the
idea, in order to reentrust it to His care. This offering is also has a public
dimension, involving promotion, marketing and all the consequences resulting therefrom.
the mystery of “the Finding of Jesus in
the Temple”, we touch on the problem of product sustainability, design. If
the product has stayed on the market for a “12” year period and we continue to
find it in the divine economy of creating and developing the world (even if it
is a small thing, as we do not know who and what will inspire us in the
future), it means we have succeeded in the economic field and in God’s field at
the same time.
other mysteries of the Rosary, certain connections, comparisons or touches can
be found, but I will leave this for individual meditation.
example of the connection between prayer and reflection on the mysteries of
Rosary in the context of our attitudes of dialogue in the economy of everyday
life is a generalization, perhaps not the best, but showing the possibility of
seeking and finding a space of economic dialogue in a sphere exclusively for
contact with God.
always leads to cooperation, this “holy cooperation”, and not only with God,
but also with the people who we invite to cooperate.
purpose of every dialogue is always to better understand the other person and
their faith, and also deepen understanding of our own faith in being an apostle
wherever God sends us.
Questions for personal and
1.Do I know and have a sense
of responsibility that my whole life (including money and finance in everyday
life) and all of my actions constitute my participation in God's plan of
creation for the world?
my Dialogue with God cover matters of my daily life, work, management?
is my responsibility for the place where I work, and for the people with whom I
work?, Do I pray for my employers, employees, cooperators, superiors?
On February 10th next, we will celebrate four years of the
Pallottine mission in the province of Vilcashuamán, Ayacucho, Perù.
The arrival of the Pallottine missionaries took place in a situation of
the abbandonment of places of worship and also of the life of faith of many of
the faithful who were not able to count on the presence of priests for the
celebration of the sacraments and on the pastoral care necessary in order to
live and strengthen their faith.
The missionaries spared no effort and began the work of reviving and
rekindling charity. At the beginning there were only three communities to
serve, because of the distance between them. In a short time, the Pallottines
were already serving the entire province, which is almost four hundred
kilometers long, containing eight districts with their villages.
The challenges are enormous, but progress can already be seen and
celebrated. Mastery of the language, particularly the native language of the
people of that region, Quechua, was initially a great difficulty, but with the
grace of God and the help of the people it was overcome. Now the language is no
longer a problem. Celebrations and pastoral visits take place in many villages
which haven’t had the presence of a priest for a long time. Many sacraments and
patronal feasts were celebrated in all of the villages.
The parish, which did not seem to have any life, has received a new
vitality in the faith and in the religious expression of the people. Today it
has a new face, with the presence of young people, children and families at
Mass. A demanding work, but one which produces good fruit, is our presence in
the schools, with Masses and talks for the preparation of sacraments, as well
as formation in human and religious values.
The Sisters of the Cenacle Pallottine Sisters
have given a new expression to this mission with their charism. They support
all of the pastoral activities of the parish. Another very important presence
is that of the Missionary Sisters of Mary Immaculate: they are Mexican sisters
who carry out missionary activities in another part of the of our parish,
especially in catechetical and faith
animation in many villages.
God has blessed the Pallottine mission in these parts of Peru with a
candidate who has already begun his Pallottine formation in the Pallottine
postulancy in Brazil. The mission is developing and growing. The Pallottine
missionaries are conscious that much has already been done, but that much also
remains to be done. In this way, the hearts of the missionaries are filled with
a feeling of gratitude along with all of those who pray for and support this
Through the intercession of our founder, Saint Vincent Pallotti, may God
bless all of us.
Manoel Santana Vieira SAC,
Note: The above
text which we received a short time ago is very similar to an article in the
SAC AsiaOceania E-BULLETIN #227 - apologies to those who may feel a sense of
Questions for personal and communal
1.How strong is
our sense of co-responsibility for and practical commitment to supporting
overseas mission projects?
2.How are we
involved in supporting such projects materially and/or through prayer? Is there
something further that we are being called to do?
3.How can we live
and promote a deeper sense of missionary co-responsibility in our Pallottine
family and in the wider Church?
Dialogue, a Path that leads us to Ourselves, to God and to the Other
There are several
kinds of dialogue, but I will only consider two, which I believe are the basis
for the others.
üInner Dialogue: is the most demanding. It is a
necessary process for the human being to grow in consistency. It is in this
inner dialogue that the world of the conscious and unconscious relationships
between the human and the divine manifests itself.
üExternal dialogue: is with all that is added to our
existence from outside of ourselves, stirring up desires that are not always
necessary for our existence, but both are pertinent to each other; since the
interaction between the two favours the solid construction of the identity of
the person and the world in which one lives.
our Pallottine family, such dialogue is, or at least should be, informed by a
particular kind of prior experience, because Pallotti's pedagogy brings us back
to the Cenacle where one learns and is enabled for the universal apostolate.
The lack of such a profound personal experience of the Cenacle and of its
transforming power limits us as persons, with a corresponding limit in our
apostolic action requires an understanding and appreciation of oneself and of
the world in which our apostolate is carried out, an understanding of the
bearer and the receiver of the message, of the person and of the culture.
"Dialogue, a path that leads
us to ourselves, to God and the other."
In the episode of
Pentecost, everyone understood what the apostles were saying (Acts 2: 8), all
understood the message of salvation despite being people of different languages
and cultures. That dialogue generated the communion between people and their
continually influences us to increasingly become simply consumers of things and
ideas. Even the simple advertisement of a chocolate bar has the power to stir
up this question in me: is this necessary for me right now? So it is in
relation to many other things, which are unnecessary for our happiness. For
many, having is more important than being.
dialogue produced by the greed of few has caused the lack, the poverty, the
absence of a profound inner sense of the human heart. Therefore, there is more
interest in knowing the other, what is different, because the richness of the
inner self is not known (you will know the truth, and the truth will set you
free, Jn 8:32).
Those who have been
given a space for dialogue from an early age, will have no difficulty in
experiencing and manifesting to the external world the consistency of their
"Dialogue, a path that leads us to ourselves, to God and the
In all peoples, the
family is central in the formation of the person, with the richness and the
imperfections of each member. The dialogue between the members includes that
between the older and younger generations, thus enabling the transmission of an
enduring identity with the proper characteristics of the particular cultural
and social group.
The cultures which
were evangelized by Christians soon found in the Christian-apostolic tradition
an understanding of the saving event through the words of Christ after his
death. Faithful to the command of Jesus, the apostles carried the message of
salvation to all peoples, through dialogue, accompanied by signs of the effects
of the evangelical proclamation in the hearts of the hearers of the Word.. (Go
into the whole world and preach the gospel to all nations; Mt 28:19, Mk 16:15).
Modern life has
made it much more difficult for people to truly encounter themselves, the other
and God. There are many conversations, much knowledge of the outside world, but
there is also so much emptiness inside people. We are almost constrained to be
experts in the knowledge of things. As far as human beings themselves are
concerned, however, we seem to be increasingly unaware of the power of our
nature. Encounters with others often serve to reveal the inconsistency of the
dialogue with the disciples on the road to Emmaus is a wonderful model of
encounter in dialogue leading to new life. He began by asking them a simple
question regarding what they were speaking about, giving them the space to
express all that burdened their hearts so deeply in their current situation.
Only after listening deeply to the depths of their pain and anguish did he
speak to them a life-giving and life-changing word, a word that had the power
to cut through their despair and challenge them to look at their situation and
their lives with new eyes open to the hope that the Gospel gives. It was only
later, after the Lord had opened their eyes fully to who he was, that they
recognized the mysterious power of their dialogue with him on the road and the
mysterious effect it had been having within them: "Were not our hearts
burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening
the scriptures to us?" (Lk 24:32). It was by learning to listen again with
new ears, by seeing again with new eyes, that their hearts were transformed, that
they were confirmed again as disciples of the One who had laid down his life
for them, and that they were able to became bearers of the reality of his Risen
life and presence to others.
"Dialogue, a path that leads us to ourselves, to God and to the
authorities has often proved fruitless and not conducive to communion, with
little compatibility of thought. It seems that we have men and women who are
infantile in their relationships. The crisis of the human being came about
through the crisis of authority; we have many authoritarians, and few true
authorities. Authoritarianism involves an absence of affective presence,
because it is through affection that we acquire that adult maturity which is
able to welcome the other without losing one´s own identity.
In my opinion, in
all our Pallottine apostolate we urgently need to learn to perceive, explain
and integrate into our praxis the verbs: to feel, to hear and to see, because
these verbs are responsible for authentic and consistent dialogue between
people. Awareness of feeling is the basis of inner dialogue. What we hear is
the basis of listening, of knowing how to open ourselves to other values. What
we see forms the basis of our overall vision about the totality that manifests
itself in our existence and in the world in which we live.
as an instrument for liberation has a principle that we use in our therapeutic
community of Mother of Divine Love, in the recovery of chemically-dependent
young men who reside in our house; "The diseases that affect the soul
enter by the feelings, by what we hear and by what we see. The disease leaves
through the mouth, that is, if you do not say what you feel, there is no
The ten years of
the existence of this charitable apostolate to people who have chemical and/or
emotional dependencies have shown us that the more one speaks of what one
feels, the more quickly one gains or regains health of soul. The whole
therapeutic process is based on love.
Love Heals: detoxification of
Love saves: perseverance,
those who persevere will be saved from the trafficker, from death, from
judgment, from crime, guilt, rejection, etc.
Love liberates: to know one’s
inner world, to realize what has led them to the prison of unhealthy affections
Love reconciles: with oneself,
with God and with others, that is, makes reparation for what one did in a
Living with these
brothers, we identify that there are innumerable causes that led them to such
suffering, but the main cause was the lack of that dialogue which makes people
feel at one with others. Such lack of communication through affective dialogue
particularly with those in authority in their lives, with their primary
caregivers, has left them fragile, falling into the trap of chemical and
"Dialogue, a path that leads us to ourselves, to God and to the
Thus, the charism
of our Holy founder Saint Vincent Pallotti remains a light for the men and
women of today, as it was for the people of his time. This inheritance belongs
to all Pallottines (Fathers, Brothers, Sisters and Laity).
We are called to be
a light for every child of God in whatever misery or suffering they find
themselves, since the grace of our baptism qualifies us for this purpose. Each
one who is armed with the salutary sign of the holy cross, can be sure to do
all that is of the greatest glory of God and for the sake of one´s own soul and
the soul of the other (cf. OOCCIII.449-450)
In Amoris Laetitia, the Holy Father Pope
Francis says: those who love are capable of speaking words of comfort,
strength, consolation and encouragement. These were the words that Jesus Christ
himself said: "Take heart, my son!" (Mt 9:2). "Go in peace"
(Lk 7:50). Do not be afraid! (Mt 14:27). (Amoris
Laetitia, N° 100).
All of these words
should be shared in our families and communities, where the weak becomes
strong, the fearful takes courage, the sinner attains holiness.
In short: Dialogue
is a door that brings us to the knowledge of the human and divine mystery.
dialogue do we have with our inner world - what do I not want to see and why?
our apostolate revealed the Pallottine charism to the poor of today?
What kind of dependency do we have that prevents us from being the image
and likeness of God's love to ourselves and to others?
The family consists of and is based on dialogue, made up of a thousand
small things, all of which are important and significant: the simplest
gestures, considerateness, kindnesses, outdoing one another in serving each another,
but above all, nurturing harmony between people without ever tiring.
We believe that two things are particularly important: reciprocity and
perseverance. But who can give us these gifts if not grace?
The Holy Family is the example which Jesus offers to us. He at the centre
of the family, not as a baby who attracts attention as such, another object of
some “vice”, benevolently granted by the parents, but rather as the “holy one”
Around Jesus there was a first mystery which involved his parents, from the
moment of the Annunciation: the dialogue between Mary and Joseph was supported
by faith in God who sustained everything and who always accompanied them. God
was the “guarantor” of that family.
The moment of birth was also unusual, but the simple and the strangers were
there to welcome the baby and his parents.
How much Joseph and Mary must have talked among themselves. How many
questions must have been asked about the events and about their future. Jesus
certainly did not create the basis for a simple and predictable future …
perhaps they weren’t even thinking about it … Providence was the lamp that led
Providence is working also today, but do we make room for it? Do we
question ourselves in our family to understand why unexpected things happen and
what Jesus might be wanting to say to us in this way? Contemplation, when it is
shared, is a different way of dialoguing … contemplation is the response to the
A friend whom we know was struck by a very serious and rare illness; her
husband, a doctor, was obviously very worried. After her initial treatment we
went to visit them and they told us that they had encountered a lot of
suffering and had been struck by the gentleness and serenity of other families
who were facing the same painful situations, simply speaking together and being
affectionate. They simply said to us: “this was the greatest learning
experience for us”. In this way, having the eyes to sense Jesus who is speaking
to you in different situations and to contemplate him together is a very deep
level of dialogue, perhaps even a gift.
Life today is very often frenetic and it seems that there is never enough
time. This is partly true, but dialogue between a couple is something which is
built up over the years … it is a basic way of being which is acquired through
grace and which must be nourished every day, with creativity in every
We parents, it could be said all adults in general, also have the
opportunity to form even the youngest in profound contemplation and
communication. To involve them in an environment where people live in this way,
without presuming that everything must be perfect. In fact, our entire humanity
accompanies us and our children, but we know that our limits are overcome by
the love of Jesus.
It is not easy to keep the dialogue with our children alive, above all in
the years of growth, but we have tried to, without becoming discouraged over
silences or conflicts. They formed part of the “package”, so to speak, but
then, once they had gone through adolescence, recognised our firmness and
understood the importance of dialogue particularly in the most difficult
We understood in our family life within the Pallottine Family the
importance of loving the other through opening ourselves to listening, to
authentic dialogue, free from prejudices and unselfish. To understand the
other’s reasons whoever they might be in order to be able to live our
differences as a richness; this is something which we can do wherever we find
ourselves and in any situation.
FROM SAINT VINCENT PALLOTTI:
each one, imagining themselves to be in the House of Nazareth as if part of the
Holy Family of the Man-God, is to commit themselves with that humility,
respect, simplicity, and spirit of benefitting as much as can be imagined that
they would have practised and promoted as if they really had found themselves
living with Jesus, Mary and Joseph” (OOCC II, 104).
- Do we
feel the need and the joy of sharing our experiences?
much time do we dedicate to dialogue in the family/community?
we confront one another, do we try to convince others, or do we try to
understand them and their reasons and experiences?
our outward attitude put others at their ease, creating a climate of trust and
reassurance, or do we inadvertently raise a dividing wall when faced with
someone who has a different view?
- How do we react when faced with someone
sharing their pain? Is it easier to rejoice together or to face a difficulty?
The opening of dialogue between various realities
in the Church and world is welcome and appreciated, being today not only
useful, but urgent, demanding loyalty, transparency and a search for what is true
and good by the dialogue partners.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God;
Christ, God the Son, sent to human beings, clothed in flesh (Cf. Jn 1) to free
us and bring us back to the Father. And Christ, revealer of the Father, gives
us his Spirit and enters into dialogue with us.
At Pentecost, Jesus pours out the Spirit, revealing the Most Blessed
Trinity as a communion of divine Persons. The mission of Christ and of the
Spirit becomes the mission of the Church, sent to proclaim and spread the
mystery of the Trinitarian communion. And it is the Spirit who gives the
baptised charisms for the many different functions, so that they may live in
communion in the Church and in the world and bear the fruits of the Spirit (cf.
CCC 144; 148).
It is only the Lord himself who can enable a fruitful dialogue between
charisms, these these supernatural realities given for the building up of the
mystical body of Christ. He alone can help us harmonise them in a practical way
which leads to unity in charity, allowing us to appreciate the richness given
by such a multiform variety of gifts. It is Christ himself who desires such
unity: that they may be one. The greatest charism is charity which leads to
Today simple human relationships and dialogue can
seem very difficult. We need to start afresh from Christ, to look at Jesus in
the Eucharist. From the Eucharist springs that spirituality of communion which
is so necessary for establishing the dialogue of charity of which the world of
today has such great need. Relationships, dialogue, fraternity are fruits of
the love received from the Father and shared with our sisters and brothers.
The Christian community urgently seeks to present itself as a sign of an
ever-possible dialogue, of a communion of charisms capable of harmonising
differences. This involves welcoming the various charismatic realities, bearing
witness to the value of Christian fraternity and to the transforming power of
the Gospel, recognising ourselves as children of the one Father, and impelling us
to a self-sacrificing love towards all, especially towards the least ones.
The gift of the charism always carries within itself a call expressed in
various forms or different ways of following Jesus and of serving the Church. Each
Church community has the task of making the spirituality of communion grow,
firstly within the ecclesial community itself and also beyond its confines,
constantly practicing dialogue in charity, above all where the world of today
is torn apart by ethnic hatred and murderous violence.
The charism is also living memory which is open to
the future. Keeping the memory alive, we open ourselves to the great challenges
of today. Living with these challenges, we feel the dynamism and prophetic
force of the charisms, making us sense their providential up-to-dateness and
the possibilities to which they open us. More than something to try to define,
the charism is a gift to be followed and to be responded to, which no one can
claim exclusively as their own because it is a gift for others.
Often, the dimension of charity is expressed
through meals. It was often during meals that Jesus gave sublime lessons of
forgiveness, of friendship, of welcoming all, He who ultimately made himself
into “food” for us in the Eucharist. The meal becomes the place in which a
sense of gratuitousness in communion is expressed and, in a certain way, the
climate for a free and peaceful dialogue is created. Humankind was not in a
position to create true communion until Pentecost when, with the grace of the
Spirit, it received gifts and charisms and combined them in order to become the
ecclesial Body of Christ which unites His scattered members in one new Person.
The Christian community with the variety of charisms and institutions,
working in synergy in the Church and with society, especially with its
multinational, multiethnic communities, offers precious experiences of
dialogue, communion and collaboration. For a long time, the opening of
individual institutions and creating dialogue between them was not always easy.
They kept themselves somewhat closed and separate, even though they may have
been apostolically active and effective. Vatican II offers repeated invitations
to create openness, dialogue and a more conscious communion between the
Institutes of Consecrated Life, without however obscuring the originality and
identity of each charism. It also called them to organise together in
Conferences of Major Superiors at the national, continental and global levels. In
this way relationships of dialogue between institutes were progressively opened
up with notable results, particularly through joint study, reflection, research
and the exchange of experiences.
This dialogue subsequently opened up to also include charisms given to
new ecclesial realities: movements, associations, communities, … which include
lay people animated by the fire of the Spirit, eager for sharing, for spiritual
communion, for dialogue, gradually leading even to collaboration in organising
very worthwhile ecclesial and social works.
These developments, certainly inspired by the Spirit of charity, unity,
dialogue and sincere communion, have made visible in the Church and to the
world that “Springtime of the Spirit” so greatly desired by the founders of
religious orders and the pastors of the Church, but no less so by the entire
people of God, eager to live in a Church and a society in which communion,
fraternity, sharing are not a utopia, but a gift from above and also an
achievement of people of good will.
The Spirit blows where and as it wills. It is working at all times and involves
people who are open to its breath for a renewed and regenerated ecclesiology of
communion. We need to work through dialogue which is profoundly open to welcoming
and gathering the “seeds of the Word” present in every culture, precious values
which are also human and cultural, translating them into true worship of God,
giver of every gift and perfecter of all things.
It is the Spirit which unites us in communion and unity. The charism,
therefore, as gift of the Spirit, equips the person chosen by God to carry out
a particular mission, and to work in communion with others who, by vocation, share
the same mission. It is the love of Christ in the Spirit which has gathered us
to make us one.
And now with great pleasure I come specifically to
the charism of St. Vincent Pallotti.
God gave St. Vincent the gift of a profound experience of his infinite
love and mercy. Vincent contemplated this love in action in the creation of the
world and particularly in the human being created in God’s image and likeness;
as also in the redemption of sinful human beings, brought about by Jesus.
Following the impulse of the Spirit, he felt moved to found an institution of
universal apostolate in order to revive faith and rekindle charity among
Catholics and spread them throughout the world. This in summary is the charism
given to St. Vincent by the Spirit, with Christ the Apostle as his model,
ideal, guide and the source from which he drew continually, but also the goal
towards which he tended, because he wanted to be transformed into Christ and to
continue His very apostolic mission.
Vincent was very clear that, in the Church, we all have the anointing of
the Spirit with equal dignity, are all incorporated into Christ by baptism,
participating in his prophetic and royal priesthood, and so we all are apostles
and continuers of his mission. And it is through the Son sent by the Father
that we receive the gift of the Spirit who enables all believers to proclaim
the gospel of salvation to all creation. Therefore, the Church, with the
multiplicity of charisms, is equipped for every work of evangelisation and of
charity. The individual charisms allow us represent one of the infinite faces
of Christ, his sentiments, operations and missions. The followers of the
Founder take on the project which becomes shared with other people and lived
together in community, in a religious family.
St. Vincent writes: ”I would like to possess that
spirit which each Founder had in founding his or her religious institution, but
since such a most perfect spirit is found in Jesus Christ Crucified, in this
way through divine grace I will learn it from Jesus, in whom is found Love,
Humility, Charity, Poverty … and all the prerogatives of Christ the Apostle”
(OOCC X, 126-7). In Christ the Apostle Vincent finds all charisms.
Vincent not only was in dialogue with the charisms of his day, but also
many confraternities of his time, participating in and sharing in their gifts
of grace and charity. He also knew how to welcome into the Christian communion
people of every class, condition of life and situation, promoting them and
urging them to be apostles according to their own conditions.
Jesus said: “I have come to cast fire on the earth and would that it
were already ablaze! (Jn 12:47); this is the Gospel Word that Vincent
incarnated and from which he set out to kindle in many hearts the passion that
sprang from the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and to unite in spiritual communion
those who were open to the grace and mission of Jesus Christ. In fact, Vincent
acted always with the sole intention of
obtaining the infinite glory of the Father and the salvation of all.
Vincent always seeks to unite all; encounter,
dialogue, communion are indispensable steps to create true Union and lead all
peoples to become one flock under one shepherd. Dialogue is the door, unity is
the goal of this demanding and fascinating journey. The Gospel of salvation is
directed to all; all are sent to collaborate in this “holy and divine work”,
which Christ will continue in us until the end of time.
Mary is present in the Church and in the work entrusted to St. Vincent
as Queen of Apostles, but is also the mother of the Church and of all peoples. Recorded
as having spoken few words, yet her dialogue with God and with humankind is enduring,
effective and co-redemptive; she invites us, inspired by our distinctive
charisms, into this transforming dialogue, through which we are made ever more capable
of engaging in that Christ-like dialogue which opens the hearts of people to
experience the infinite love and mercy that only the Gospel can give.
Lilia Capretti, CSAC.
Questions for reflection:
1.“More than something to try to define, the
charism is a gift to be followed and to be responded to”. How have we
experienced the power of the charism of St. Vincent in our personal and
community lives? Let us ask the Holy Spirit, giver of all charisms, in
insistent prayer, to grant us - members, friends and collaborators of the Union
- a deeper and more dynamic spiritual experience of this wonderful gift so that
it may be ever-increasingly a real driving force in our personal and community
2.Where have we experienced fruitful dialogue,
communion and collaboration with charisms of other religious families? How, as
followers of Christ inspired by the charism of St. Vincent, can we help to
promote such experiences for the building up of the Body of Christ and to give
a more united, effective and fruitful apostolic response to the manifold
challenges and needs of our time?
In order to speak of dialogue in mission, it
is necessary to consider several aspects of the missionary process. The first
is dialogue with ourselves and with God: the two being inseparable. The second,
connected with the first, is dialogue with culture, with the people who live
that same culture and its implications. The third is the aspect of
interreligious dialogue; consequently some writings of Pallotti and of Pope
Francis on charity in the process of dialogue itself.
Every mission is born of a passion for Jesus
which is translated into a desire to serve Him in serving others. Mission,
above all, is being where God wants
us and doing what he asks of us. In
this sense we can say that mission is a long journey towards the heart of God
who takes full care of our life and leads us in his ways.
Mission is to set off, to journey, to leave
everything, to go out of ourselves, to open ourselves and allow ourselves to be
led, to allow the Heart of God to lead us to greater service. This requires of
the missionary maturity, constant dialogue with oneself, in order to understand
the process. It demands an intense review of oneself in a new reality, in order
to discover the new Creator God and grow in the spiritual life.
The true missionary walks with the Lord,
speaks with Him, works with Him, perceives Him independently of his or her own
Being a missionary means allowing “the life
of our Lord Jesus Christ to be my life”. It means opening myself without fear
to the action of the Spirit and my very life becoming a living proclamation of
transfiguration in Christ, alive and risen. The human being is essentially
“sent”, that is, someone who has received a mission. Transformation in Jesus
Christ leads necessarily to participation in his redemptive mission.
A second aspect of fundamental importance is
knowing that the missionary is a guest, a stranger who makes his or her
dwelling in another’s home. This requires the capacity to constantly give and
receive. One moves as a pilgrim and lives permanently as a stranger, bearing
witness to impermanence and to the continual search for an abiding dwelling
place. The missionary is invited to carry only one tunic, that is, to be
clothed in Christ. He or she is someone who seeks a treasure hidden among
peoples and cultures, who at the same time bears the treasure of God’s
compassion, in a process of mutual help and of seeking the Absolute.
Being a guest means living a situation of
dependence; one’s home is that of another, it is a sacred home, holy ground on
which it is necessary to “remove one’s sandals” in order to enter into a new
culture. And in this situation, new relationships are established and spaces
made available are occupied.
Mission moves us, disturbs us, takes away our
structures and pushes us to go beyond where we are and who we are. It allows us
to overcome the habit which leads us to close ourselves within our own identity
and prevents us from recognising the gift of otherness. Faith in the Trinity and living mission as a fundamental
attitude, manifests the joy of knowing ourselves to be in communion with God
and with others, allowing us to celebrate the feast of love with others,
especially with the poor and the excluded (cf. Paleari,Giorgio, Espiritualidade e
Missão (Spirituality and Mission), pp. 61-62. Paulinas, 2005).
The first attitude which accompanies the
missionary is silence and listening in the face of mystery, because that land
is sacred. It is the land of the revelation of God which at the same time gives
rise to both anxiety and joy over what is new. One seeks to know the people,
their customs, their histories and their difficulties. Mission is the place of revelation of one’s identity.
Dialogue and contact with people deepens the
possibility of plumbing the most intimate depths of one’s being, of uncovering
the roots, of living a profound experience of God. The missionary is always a
disciple in search of the treasure and of the face of God.
The missionary is one who is always learning
with the Other and with others and, at the same time, the teacher who shares
the gift received from God. Teaching and learning at the same time. Advising
and receiving advice. Sharing what he or she knows and sharing the other’s
knowledge. Recognising that every person is worthy of his or her commitment
(cf. EG 274).
Learning from each other consists in
gathering the gifts which the Spirit has given through them. Dialogue implies
giving and receiving, speaking and listening, teaching and learning. It is the
word in the gestation phase, the word which becomes flesh in the dwelling of
the life of every person. Sharing what overflows from the heart, of the
experience of God. Discovering the seed of the Word: “to embrace the mysterious
wisdom which God wishes to share with us through them” (EG. 198).
Dialogue with culture implies hearing the
cry, paying attention to the fragilities, recognising the suffering Christ and
caring for the dignity of the person. It is taking upon oneself human
sufferings, anxieties and limitations. It is being in solidarity with the poor
and excluded and at the same time committing ourselves to their cause, becoming
a prophetic voice when necessary.
The missionary is one who is profoundly
committed against injustice and contributes to the development of projects for
redeeming human lives. Who lives out the ideal of the Kingdom in closeness and
solidarity, with a personal, silent compassion, in hope that the world will be
transformed and become more fraternal, always pointing towards a kingdom of
justice and fraternity for all.
Like Pallotti we can say that: “We are all called to observe the precept of
charity since all are, according to the reality of creation, true images of
love in essence. This is why God has ordained that all be concerned for their
neighbour, just as God himself is (cf. OOCC IV, 132, 310, 451).
Before being an activity, dialogue is an
encounter and a Christian imperative. It is profoundly rooted in the
Trinitarian mystery, in a God who is love and communion. As St. Augustine said:
His mission has its origin in love, is sustained by love and communicates love,
thereby creating communion.
Love of God becomes love of neighbour.
“Caritas Christi urget nos” – is the soul of our apostolate. Love must be lived
in such a way that it fulfils the mandate of Christ when he invites us to love
as He has loved (cf. OOCC I, 8).
In addition to a dialogue with him- or
herself, with God and with the culture encountered as a stranger and pilgrim,
the missionary comes into contact with peoples of other confessions; this requires
a clear religious identity, and a firm conviction that God desires the
salvation of all (cf. I Tm 2:4); that His grace goes beyond the visible limits
of the Church; and that Jesus Christ is the only Saviour of all humanity, the
Church being the place in which are found the fulness of the means of
salvation. Dialogue is always associated with the proclamation; both are
connected by the desire to clearly know who we are encountering.
The missionary is a person of compassion, of
solidarity, capable of seeing what is different not as a threat but with
respect. Salvation is always a great gift of God, offered to all, according to
the Lord’s own criteria and methods. Therefore, openness to other religions and
the respect which ought to accompany our drawing closer, requires a constant
openness to the action of the Holy Spirit (cf. Rm 8:29).
In religious experience, dialogue is achieved
when people of different confessions communicate their own path towards God;
when peace is sought in a common effort to build unity and overcome conflicts;
when there are theological exchanges, in which the adherents of the various
religions reflect and compare the data of their own faiths. The experience of
listening to and communicating with the other can be said to transform the
missionary, because from this is born the deep desire to search for unity in
God and to respect diversity profoundly.
Interreligious dialogue is sustained and
enlivened through a spirituality based on a living faith in a creator God who
is Father of all humanity; in a convinced and open hope that does not look for
immediate results and in an effective and dialoguing love as a free gift of
The missionary both lives on and goes beyond
frontiers, with a spirituality rooted in universality which finds its space in
an openness beyond frontiers. The principal objective of missionary action is
to arrive at a communion of persons with God and with one another.
The dynamism of a communion of life leads to
charity, to solidarity, to encountering and listening to the other, to
missionary cooperation, to ecumenical, interreligious and social dialogue, to
working on what unites us, in this way promoting reconciliation and universal
communion. “Let there be unity in what is necessary; freedom in what is unsettled,
and charity in any case” (GS, 92).
Communion is one of the most important
objectives of mission; and at the same time one of the most effective means of
witnessing for evangelisation: "so that they may all be one. As you,
Father, are in me and I am in you, let them also be one, so that the world may
believe that you have sent me" (Jn 17:21). The Church in communion
(Koinonia) becomes a sign and an instrument of union with God and of the unity
of the whole human race (cf. GS 92).
“Our commitment does not consist exclusively
in activities or programmes of promotion and assistance; what the Holy Spirit
mobilizes is not an unruly activism, but above all an attentiveness which
considers the other “in a certain sense as one with ourselves”. This loving
attentiveness is the beginning of a true concern for their person which
inspires me effectively to seek their good. This entails appreciating the poor
in their goodness, in their experience of life, in their culture, and in their
ways of living the faith. True love is always contemplative, and permits us to
serve the other not out of necessity or vanity, but rather because he or she is
beautiful above and beyond mere appearances” (EG 199).
Love for our brothers and sisters is authentic, it commits us to act in
order that Jesus be loved and “known” (cfr. OOCC I).
Foreign missions were always a concern for
Saint Vincent Pallotti; it could be said that it was the beginning of the UAC,
its reason for existing and its goal.
What do I do individually and as in
community in order to help overseas (“ad gentes”) missionary activity?
We find ourselves in a constantly
changing culture. What do I do to promote dialogue in the concrete
reality, with the many challenges of means of communication which lead to
a cultural, religious, social and individualistic indifference?
In what way, as UAC, can we collaborate
for peace, in a world which continually promotes violence?