One of the “icons” of Paul’s description of Christ in this passage is the community of L’Arche. These are places (Arks) that enable people with and without disabilities to share their lives in communities of faith and friendship. Community members are transformed through relationships of mutuality, respect, and companionship as they live, work, pray, and play together. In a recent letter to his communities, the founder, Jean Vanier, wrote: “The most important time is to help each person become more human and governed less by fear. It is about keeping an open heart, creating communities where we truly love one another despite our differences and where we become a source of hope for one another and where we celebrate life. It is also about discovering how faith in God and the Gospel can help us to become more loving, more giving and not bow down to the tyranny of normality: being strong and beautiful, fleeing from suffering and discarding the weak. The greatest value of L’Arche, like faith and light, is to show that weak people are not only important, but that they have a message for society and the Church.” This is a difficult concept to grasp, yet our deepest longings point in this direction. Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in Introduction to Christianity that “Christian faith is more than the option of a spiritual ground to the world,; its central formula is not ‘I believe in something,’ but ‘I believe in you.’ It is the encounter with the man Jesus, and in this encounter is experienced the meaning of the world as person.” Jesus, he continues, is God’s witness through whom the intangible has become tangible. Each of us has to ask the question: “Are you really he?” as we experience the darkness and indifference of the world. This question is an assertion that we want to know and love him more and more so we can confess: “I believe in you, Jesus, as the meaning of the world and of my life.” Fr. Crespi, S.S.P. writes: before carrying out mission it is necessary to promote a spirituality of communion. Then we answer the deep needs of the world knowing our brothers and sisters in the profundity of the mystical Body, in the mystery of the Trinity. The great program, Alberione says, is the one of the tabernacle: From here I will illuminate. We are light in the measure we live in communion with God. “I am the light of the world, you are the light of the world” Jn. 1:4. This is the mission entrusted to us. We are called to radiate God, to diffuse God’s light.
TRUTH Read 1 Corinthians 1: 24-25 You may also want to read the surrounding versus introducing Paul’s reflection.
WAY Meditate How did Paul arrive at this proclamation? As we read Paul’s letters often we realize that he strove to live Christ as a new way to be human.
LIFE Pray Cardinal Ratzinger said each of us ask the question: “Are you really he?” As we profess Jesus to be Life what questions do we want to share with him? Turn these into a prayer.
LIVE Act “Meaning, is the bread on which we subsist. Without the word, without meaning, without love we fall into the situation of no longer being able to live, even when earthly comfort is present in abundance. Meaning is the ground on which our existence stands and lives. It cannot be made but only received. We respond to the Word that upholds and maintains all things. Meaning is already granted to us. We share this meaning, the light of Christ, with everyone we meet.” Cf. Cardinal J. Ratzinger, Introduction to Christianity.
Jesus, Good Shepherd,
Who brought from heaven the fire of your love, give us your heart.
Inflame us with a great love for our brothers and sisters. Make us sharers in your mission.
Live in us so that we may radiate you
In word, in suffering, in pastoral action,
In the example of a good life.
We offer ourselves as faithful sheep who share in your pastoral mission in the Church. Dispose all minds and hearts to receive your grace. Come, divine Shepherd, guide us; may there soon be one flock and one Shepherd.
Jesus Good Shepherd, Way, Truth and Life, have mercy on us. Amen.
(Prayers of the Pauline Family, Fr. Alberione).
Posted by Association of Pauline Cooperators