“The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay” (Mt. 10:7-8).
This is a passage that inspired many holy men and women to ministry. Taking this passage at face value we wonder if we are call to heal the sick, raise the dead and cleanse lepers. On a deeper level we realize that we have been baptized into Christ. We can, as one dying person said, “fall fearlessly into love.” In this dying to self we announce the kingdom, we heal the sick and raise the dead. Lepers are cleansed. When we let go and let God our actions go toward others. Healing begins with presence. Raising those dying to life is being there as someone enters new life – being a midwife for souls. Hospice is an example of this. We are called to cleanse our eyes to see anew those who are marginalized. Casting out demons for others begins with casting out our judgments and accepting the legitimate suffering that comes our way so that the super-ego falls into God. When we go through pain and suffering, however inflicted, then we can be there with others who are demon-haunted. Our prayer is efficaciously united to Christ’s prayer. This early Christian hymn becomes our prayer: “Though he was in the form of God, Jesus did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at. Instead he emptied himself….” Kenosis.
According to the Vatican Document Lumen Gentium (LG, 46), every religious congregation makes visible a particular aspect of the mystery of Christ. What particular aspect of the mystery of Christ do Paulines make visible? Is this visibility dependent upon the means we use for mission? Can we simple sum up our gift in the church as “using the modern media to evangelize?” Blessed Alberione committed his life to the mission of evangelization with the new means of communication. At the same time he felt the inadequacy of his response. Mysteriously and surprisingly Alberione, as St. Paul before him, highlighted the aspect of Christ’s mystery that Paulines are called to reveal: His kenosis. Not to obtain emptiness, but to reach fullness of life.
Brother Al Milella explains that our Pauline priority is to constantly re-tune the witness of our specific face of holiness. “Our founder implored us”, he wrote, “to keep first in our apostolic life’s union with the Lord, a living relationship and vital knowing of Jesus. In this is our specific mission, a distinctive prayer response in the world of media.” As Alberione, we put no trust in our works but rely on an unfailing abandonment to the guidance of the Lord so that, as St. Paul tells us, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ” (Gal. 2:20).
It takes courage to adapt the modern language of the press, film, radio, television, the Internet and digital media for the sake of the Gospel, which is the power of God that will save humanity. Pray for the Spirits gift of courage and fortitude.
Viewed from the perspective of power, technology represents human mastery over creation. Sometimes it is taken for granted that technological progress will lead to a better quality of human life. Advertizing can create needs in order to sell while ignoring the deeper longing of humanity. The communications culture is a culture that takes the self as a reference point. There is a multiplicity of choices presented to us.
“What is needed is witnessing,” says Fr. Silvio Sassi, “the type of witnessing that sustains the message with the example of one’s own dedication to an alternative, other-centered power. The more radical and counter-cultural the witnessing, the more effective it becomes. Apostles of communication do have to inculturate themselves in media culture, but paradoxically, they are also to challenge with their very lives whatever in that culture is opposed to the Gospel that they proclaim.”
Posted by Association of Pauline Cooperators