Sunday, December 31, 2017

Apostles for Today - Dec 2017 - Jan 2018

Apostles for Today
Prayer and Reflection
Dec 2017 - Jan 2018

Two days before Christmas, among the cards on my desk, I chanced upon a fragment of poetry from Alda Merini[1]:
“… And how to get to know your face,
I will explain it to you:
it is enough to see something
that bears your imprint.
And we are full of your imprints,
as if you had passed through every home
leaving invisible signs”.

I would like to share this short text with you because it presents us again, in a nutshell, the entire message of Christmas, including what it affirms regarding human beings and what it requires of them.
And also, it I think that it speaks in a clear way about our life and what is at the center of our heart.
Jesus, the one long-awaited "by all peoples", has come and now, by His birth, everyone knows His face through every other neighbor, without distinction: in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it to me (Mt 25:40).
I remember that as a young woman I was struck by the phrase that I had to repeat during the Christmas show performed with the companions of the community for friends and acquaintances:
it is Christmas every time you smile at somebody.

In putting this phrase into practice, I realized that I could not take it for granted or consider it easy, but had to ask Jesus each time to come down from heaven so that I could “lend” my smile to Him.
How can I ask him to come down again? How can I lend my smile to him?
By putting Love before everything and as the basis of everything.
Because Love is everything in every vocation, condition, and situation of life. Saint Augustine, maestro of charity, strongly affirms: “All may sign themselves with the sign of Christ's cross, all may answer Amen, all may sing Alleluia, all may be baptized, all may come to church and line the walls of the basilicas. But there is nothing to distinguish the children of God from the children of the devil except unselfish love... If you do not have this one thing, nothing else is worthwhile. If you lack all the rest, have this, and you have fulfilled the Law ... ".[2]
St. Thérèse of Lisieux also affirms: "Love of neighbor is everything on earth: we love God in the measure in which we put it into practice"[3].
I had understood well that nothing can be done without charity being assured: one cannot go to work, study, sleep, eat, play or evangelize ..., not even pray, or participate in any liturgical action.
The Gospel is very clear: "So then, if you are bringing your offering to the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, go and be reconciled with your brother or sister first, and then come back and present your offering"(see Mt 5: 23-24).
Now many years have passed since that very young time of my life ... yet even now and with the same passion of those days, I cannot go to sleep without having said to Jesus: "today I have loved you in this person, in that one, and again in that other person".
I must tell the truth: there are also many times when I say to him: "Today I have loved you little, indeed almost not at all, in this neighbor of mine, in that one, again in that other one"; but because of the imprint of St. Vincent Pallotti that is in me - as it is in every one of the Union - I am happy to feel my nothingness, so the All that is Jesus can enter into my heart and begin to truly love every person who crosses my path: "My God I am without charity: You are charity in essence ... My Jesus destroy all of my Life. Give me your Charity, and make me live, and be transformed into your Charity "(OOCC X, 674-5).
As a Pallottine family, we are bound, through our common spirituality, by a very strong bond, the strongest that can exist: "Charity exercised as the Apostle describes it forms all the substantial constituent of the pious Union; if this were lacking, the Catholic Apostolate would no longer be in it" (OOCC III, 137-138).
From the smallest to the greatest we know that it is worth living like this! We know that we are not made for half measures!
In a very short time (24-27 January 2018) we will live the important days of the V General Assembly of the entire Union. Each of us and all of us together will be called to open out our own hearts to He who knows how to fill them, in order to discern in communion and co-responsibility the path for the next three years.
From now on may we renew and strengthen even more between, if possible, the substantial constituent of charity, so that even as a single body, we can renew the miracle of the birth of Jesus for the Church and for humankind.
                                                            Donatella Acerbi,

In communion and gratitude, we recite the:

Prayer to ask God’s Blessing on the V Ordinary General Assembly of the Union

January 24-27th 2018

Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
set our hearts on fire with your love, the love of Christ.
Renew your miracle of mercy in each one of us.
Bless the General Assembly of the Union.
Through your Spirit, may it be
a profound experience of communion
with You and with each other,
of co-responsible discernment,
of truly evangelical leadership
in effective service of your Kingdom
in the Church and in the world.
May it bear lasting fruit
for the concrete life and mission of the Union in our times
according to the plans of your Heart.
We ask this through the infinite merits of Jesus Our Lord
and through the unfailing intercession of Mary, Queen of Apostles,
St. Vincent Pallotti and Blessed Elisabetta Sanna, Josef Stanek and Josef Jankowski.
Glory be to You whose power working in us can do infinitely more
than we can ask or imagine (cf. Eph 3:20). Amen

Segretariato Generale, Unione dell’Apostolato Cattolico
Piazza San Vincenzo Pallotti 204, 00187 Roma, Italia

[1] Alda Merini (1931-2009), Corpo d’Amore. Un incontro con Gesù, 2001 (Body of Love. An encounter with Jesus): “E come si fa a conoscere il tuo volto, te lo spiego io: basta vedere qualcosa che reca la tua impronta. E noi siamo pieni delle tue impronte, come se tu fossi passato in ogni casa a lasciare segni invisibili”.
[2] Cf. SAINT AUGUSTINE, Homilies on the 1st Letter of Saint John, Homily 5, vs. 7, (on 1 John 3:9–18),, p. 841.
[3] SAINT Thérèse OF LISIEUX, from the deposition of Mother Agnes of Jesus in P.A, Summarium, p. 275.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Apostles for Today - October 2017

Apostles for Today

Prayer and reflection
October 2017

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 administration”.
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 and entrusted.
In 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).
In 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”.
Much 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.
Awareness 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.
St. Vincent saw economic resources as ultimately belonging to our Lord Jesus Christ and as the heritage of His poor. (cf. SAC Law n 26).
On my 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”.
In 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.
The 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 realities of His presence, the answer to the questions asked comes to the heart or directly to the “ear”.
I 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.
Trusting, 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.
Once 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.
At 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?
The 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.
We go 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.
In 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.
In 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.
In other mysteries of the Rosary, certain connections, comparisons or touches can be found, but I will leave this for individual meditation.
An 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.
Dialogue always leads to cooperation, this “holy cooperation”, and not only with God, but also with the people who we invite to cooperate.
The 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 communal reflection:
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?
2.       Does my Dialogue with God cover matters of my daily life, work, management?
3.       What 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?
                                                                           Marek Kalka,
                                                                            UAC Poland
Segretariato Generale, Unione dell’Apostolato Cattolico
Piazza San Vincenzo Pallotti 204, 00187 Roma, Italia

Apostles for Today - Nov. 2017

Apostles For Today
Prayer & Reflection
November 2017

Is our life is truly inspired by God? 
How many things do I put before God every day?
(Pope Francis)

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 mission.
Through the intercession of our founder, Saint Vincent Pallotti, may God bless all of us.

                                           Fr. 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 deja-vu.

Questions for personal and communal reflection:
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?

Segretariato Generale, Unione dell’Apostolato Cattolico
Piazza San Vincenzo Pallotti 204, 00187 Roma, Italia

Friday, September 1, 2017

Apostles for Today Sept 2017

Apostles for Today
Prayer and Reflection
September 2017

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.
For 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 apostolate.
Effective 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 cultures.
Today's culture 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.
The external 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 inner world.

"Dialogue, a path that leads us to ourselves, to God and the other."
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 human being.
Jesus’ 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 other."
Dialogue with 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.
Dialogue 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 recovery”.
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 the body
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 and drugs.
Love reconciles: with oneself, with God and with others, that is, makes reparation for what one did in a dishonest way.
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 affective dependency.
"Dialogue, a path that leads us to ourselves, to God and to the other."
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.
1.       What dialogue do we have with our inner world - what do I not want to see and why?
2.       Has 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?

                                                                                Fr. Orlando SAC.
Segretariato Generale, Unione dell’Apostolato Cattolico
Piazza San Vincenzo Pallotti 204, 00187 Roma, Italia

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Apostles for Today - August 2017

Apostles for Today
Prayer and Reflection
August 2017


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” among them.
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 them forward.
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 sacred.
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 situation.
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 moments.
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.

 “… 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?
-        How much time do we dedicate to dialogue in the family/community? 
-        When we confront one another, do we try to convince others, or do we try to understand them and their reasons and experiences?
-        Does 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?

                                Rosa Colucci and Giuseppe del Coiro,

Segretariato Generale, Unione dell’Apostolato Cattolico
Piazza San Vincenzo Pallotti 204, 00187 Roma, Italia