2013 Christmas with the Little Sisters

He came unto his own.. Jn.1.

God has chosen a place to become incarnate in our human reality.
 
“God has a weakness (soft spot) for humanity. He cannot, so to speak, live without coming to us, without revealing himself to us.” (Fr. Carasquilla). This is what the mystery of Christmas reveals to us. 
Let us not cease to contemplate Jesus in his incarnation, again and again. God has become human in order to accompany us... From his total abandon into the hands of Mary, to his complete self-giving on the Cross, into the arms of his Father, Jesus acts from a position of poverty, for the poor and with poor means. In taking this road, he signals to us the road to follow, not in sadness, but in peaceful confidence and in the certitude of building a way of life. 
 
For Jesus the Kingdom is not built with power and wealth, but with poor means and rejecting the notion of domination. For him, love, goodness, the gift of self, welcome, are these ’poor means’ to reach the heart of others. He wants above all to give his very person .He does not want to impose himself by force, but by love. His attitudes are seen in the Beatitudes. Thus: happy are those who have need of God, because God can be born in their lives.! Isn’t this the same proposal that Pope Francis addresses to us in this time of the Church and of our societies ? With violence erupting in many countries, people are more and more victims of exclusion, in the North as much as in the South, with typhoons in the Philippians and in the U.S. and floods in Vietnam and Madagascar, we realise that peoples and our planet need to be cared for, loved and respected.
 
How can we, each one of us, take account of this reality ? How, with the strength of our faith can we choose poor means, in order to allow a stripping down that will leave space for God and for others ? How can we take this road of incarnation which rejects violence, power, competition, jealousy, and choose only poor and non violent means of love, welcome, of pardon and of joy ? Our communities need this conversion which allows space for the Kingdom. 
 Etienne Pernet tells us “how do you think you can do good for the poor, if you are not poor yourselves ?”
 
To make a vow of poverty is not to exalt misery, but rather to dispose ourselves for the encounter with others, for solidarity, for fraternity . We cannot live it while being full of ourselves, of our power, and our desire to dominate. The time has come, in the congregation as in the church, to open our hands, to accept our weakness and our fragility and to make of these real limitations the launching pad to open up new ways.
The Chapter tells us : “To go beyond tolerance and respect… The encounter of cultures is Good News, if we allow ourselves to be transformed… This transformation demands of us that we welcome what is different, it demands openness and flexibility, and a knowledge of the culture and history of the other. In order that this will become real we need to work at new relations between us in community, with the challenge of the inter-cultural and inter-generational realities that we have. Am I going to make space for difference sometimes at the risk of being hurt or misunderstood. What interior ‘frontiers’ do I need to cross in order to allow this encounter?  
 
In this period in the congregation, where we choose to strengthen the international dimension by the concrete project of living inter-culturally, we need to take the formidable chance of putting our fragilities and our poverty together, not in order to add them up, but to say ‘I need you’. It is in this reciprocity that community/fraternity will be born. Let us abandon our juxtapositions of persons or our desire for assimilation. Let us create inter-culturality in dialogue, allowing ourselves to be marked by the word of the other ; to know how to live ourselves, but also to be affected by the other. In living this locally, we will be playing our part in the global effort of this inclusivity. Each community can become a ’laboratory of humanity’, if we consent to this dialogue of life. It is the way of the covenant, which becomes the promise of the future, the promise of life. 
 
Jesus in his incarnation knew how to keep his identity as Son of God. He knew how to live, even while he accepted to become vulnerable in order to encounter us. He made the pact of love of the Father, and the pact of the covenant with the men and women of his time. He believed in their profound desire for love, which is none other than the Breath of the Holy Spirit. It is the same step that we have to adopt to be in true dialogue, with each other and with others.
 
This was the project of Antoinette Fage. She always lived in the consciousness of her fragilities, in offering herself to others and putting herself at the service of others, it was her real self that she offered. Etienne Pernet said of her ‘One of the lovely sides of the life of your mother Marie de Jesus, was her disinterestedness… she held on to nothing, counting on God, she had the generosity of a great heart. 
Is this not the secret of the Gospel, which enlarges the heart with joy ? Is this not our mission today ? to be contagious with the strength of life which is born because we can let go of our defences and learn to receive and welcome each other and others.’ This is called reconciliation, a new culture.
“Justice and peace embrace” The encounter becomes covenant and promise of life !
 
May this year 2014 carry the fruits of it among us and with all with whom we share our life. 
 
Happy feast of Christmas, with all our affection.
The Little Sisters
23/12/2013
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