December 2, 2015
To the members and friends of Regnum Christi
Dear friends in Christ:
We are beginning Advent, a time that prepares us to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. This year we joyfully celebrate as well the opening of the Holy Door on the feast day of the Immaculate Conception and the ordination of 44 Legionaries of Christ to the priesthood on December 12, the day dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe. I write to greet you, congratulate you on the occasion of these events and share with you two reflections so you can live this period with greater intensity.
The image chosen for the Jubilee Year is the Good Samaritan, which in some way is a synthesis of the mercy of the Father manifested in Christ. We all know the parable well and have meditated upon it many times. It is found in Luke 10:25-37. I invite you to meditate on it once again, peacefully, to see what the Holy Spirit wants to say to us through his Word in this Jubilee Year.
- Desire for the Mercy of God
Advent is a time of patient and perseverant waiting. The liturgy brings us to hope, it brings us to nourish the desire for the coming of our Savior. If we go into ourselves, we see our poverty and our sin, our smallness and our incapacity to do good (see Rom 7:15-19). But we cannot be depressed by this. The Advent antiphon encourages us, “Stand erect and raise your heads, because your redemption is at hand” (Luke 21:28).
The Lord himself awakens in our heart the desire for God. He takes the initiative and invites us to make an alliance with him. He acts in unexpected ways, such as when he sent the angel Gabriel to bring a message to Mary. In retrospect we discover that he has awakened a deep thirst in us that only he can satisfy. And so he prepares us to accept his mercy, which always surprises us.
During this Advent, Jesus invites us to allow ourselves to be met by him, like the lost sheep. Like Peter, who sinks when he walks on the waters, we can cry out to him, sure that he will always hear us (see Ps 18:6). Allowing ourselves to be met by his mercy can take many forms. Christian living offers us various special places to prepare us to accept God’s action in our lives: prayer, the Eucharist, the experience of the cross, the act of giving ourselves to others. Without a doubt the sacrament of reconciliation has an especially important role.
When we recognize that we are in need of mercy and let ourselves be healed by the Good Samaritan, the Christmas message of the angels has special meaning for us, “I proclaim to you good news of great joy: … today a savior has been born for you” (Luke 2:11).
- A compassionate and merciful heart
The gestures of the Good Samaritan have always impressed me, especially the arrangement he makes with the innkeeper to whom he entrusts the man wounded by bandits. It is really extravagant for this man to take care of a total stranger, and he is even prepared to pay more if necessary. The Heart of Christ is like this, superabundant in its gifts because it is merciful with each of its children.
The superabundance of mercy is a constant in salvation history. It is enough to think of the Incarnation and birth of Jesus that we will soon be celebrating, but also of the Immaculate Conception. And in our own life: the ordination of 44 new priests; the beauty of the consecrated souls in the Movement and throughout the Church; the generosity of so many married couples who radiate their faith, at times in difficult situations; the apostolic zeal and generosity of so many young people who give a sense of transcendence to their lives, who go out to encounter those most in need, who give years as members of RC Mission Corps… the grace of God over the past 75 years has been and continues to be so abundant that we can only give thanks!
The Lord’s gifts are for the service of the community. The Good Samaritan wants to come close today to cure the wounds of those who suffer, he wants to announce to all the good news of his mercy. And to do this, he wants to take advantage of our collaboration. Therefore it seems to me that Christ is inviting us to be especially attentive to the needs of others, to serve them disinterestedly and, above all, to bear the balsam of mercy to all the people we meet. Pope Francis dreams of a Church that is a “house for all, not a tiny chapel in which only a small group of select persons fits.” And he sees clearly that “what the Church needs with greater urgency today is the capacity to cure wounds and warm the hearts of the faithful, closeness, nearness. I see the Church like a field hospital after a battle. How useless it is to ask a wounded person if he has high cholesterol or blood sugar! We have to treat his wounds!”
I ask God that he convert us into good Samaritans this Advent in our families, at work and with our friends. May we bear with one another tenderly and patiently. May we learn to rejoice with others and be a source of joy for others. May we encourage each other to cure the wounds of the heart, to open doors, to free from bonds and to remind everyone that God is good and that he is always waiting for us.
Dear friends and members of Regnum Christi, I wish you a very fruitful period of Advent and a very blessed Christmas. May the Baby Jesus who comes, like the Good Samaritan, to reveal the Father’s mercy to us make us all docile instruments of his mercy and of his Kingdom. Even now I wish each and every one of you a very blessed Christmas.
Please do not cease to pray at this time for the deacons who will be ordained to the priesthood as well as for those members of our spiritual family who are facing special trials or suffer from some illness.
With a special remembrance in my prayers,
Fr. Eduardo Robles-Gil, L.C.