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You are here:Home / Family News / NEF 2013 / Family News - 2013 December 14th / A word from the Superior General
Dec 13, 2013

A word from the Superior General

The Child in the Manger is my Master

A word from the Superior General

Celebrating Christmas allows us to contemplate the great mystery of the Incarnation, revealing to us how the God of Love stripped himself of all his riches to become a servant just like any of us. St Michael Garicoits contemplated in great depth the “God lost in love” as he is presented to us in the Epistle to the Philippians (2, 6-8); and passed on to us his own meditation in the Manifesto. Happily, our Lord, Jesus Christ humbled himself to taking our flesh, and the Word was made flesh (John 1, 14). Not only did he make us spiritual but also divine. That is what he deigned to make of us and what we have become in our Lord Jesus Christ. Oh, my soul! What are you worth! Through the example of his life, through his spirit of love, he has convinced us of this fact. That is how he suffered the cold in the crib, humiliation, discomfort and repugnance for love of us. There is nothing better to instil us with love for him and to prove our generosity at his service. I can do all things in him who is my strength. (Phil. 4, 13).

When the contemplation is genuine, we draw fruits from it for our own lives. Our whole Christian life and religious life consists in becoming like our Master contemplated in his life style. Marvelling before the humility of Jesus in his Incarnation should inspire us with humility and fidelity in the face of our humiliations, like him. He, our Master, came among his own and his own did not receive him. At his birth, he was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in the manger; later on he would kneel to wash the feet of his disciples; he suffered the humiliation of an inhuman passion. It is difficult to acquire humility without experiencing humiliations; we all think that we are the best until life makes us bite the dust, showing our weakness and in relegating us to the last place. Our Lord Jesus Christ warned us: take the lowest place; he took it. If we had a holy horror of ourselves we would find that it suits us very well. We wouldn’t compare ourselves with others. No comparisons! Go to the last place! There is only one place! There is neither comparison nor choice! (DS 175-6)

St Michael Garicoits insists on the obedience when he speaks of the humility of the Incarnate Word and that of Christ’s disciple. Obedient means to be reduced to nothing. The Incarnate Word was reduced to nothing. Not only in his divinity but also in his humanity. Taken on their own a man or a woman is nothing. To be nothing is very hard to contemplate whereas St Michael talks about Justice. We need to understand, know, recognize, admit and confess our nothingness and then cry out:”Help!”

A man and a woman derive their value from their union with God the Father and with all others considered as brothers and sisters. That is a fact! Anyone who thinks he is superior to others as if everything depended on him is living under an illusion for to believe that everything revolves round us is a mistake. It is unfortunate that, by acting like that, it is possible to do a lot of harm, preventing real growth, solidarity, friendliness and unity among mankind, as Father Garicoits explains: What do we see in families, with the clergy and even in religious communities? Alas! All too often? Self centred interest, the end of everything. And then how everything is debased! Everything collapses – philosophy, theology, scenes and the most exalted ministries. Only self is visible, is object of consideration; result all those worldly considerations in which the common of mortals get lost. What a waste of time! What a spectacle we have become, thinking only of ourselves! We are putting man in God’s place! Man is put in what should be God’s place! We are materializing, we are humanizing instead of becoming more godlike, instead of being images for each other of our Lord Jesus Christ, who referred everything to his Father so that seeing each other we focus on God for his greater glory. (DS 83; MS 145).

The disciple should be humble like his Master, Jesus. A Master who taught the humility of the wheat seed in the earth, or of the measure of yeast in the dough, or of the treasure and the pearl, or of the last place at the banquet and of the humble who will be exalted. Only humility makes us capable of being the servants of others, makes us aware of their needs and urges us to get out of ourselves and help them to look for the help which they need.

St Michael Garicoits give the following description of the disciple: Everyone is delighted to see someone who makes no exhibition and only appears unwillingly, discreetly; full of charity and patience, avoiding meddling in what doesn’t concern him. A spirit quite the opposite, ready to interfere without mission, without grace, even without reflecting, ready to control everything and to criticise everything, trampling underfoot not only the rules of hospitality and Christian charity, but also the proprieties of common politeness, that is what is preventing the launching of the best works and the most important of foundations. (DS 188).

In the presence of the God of humility in the crib, let us ask for the gift of humility by praying with Psalm 131:

O Lord, my heart is not proud nor haughty my eyes. I have not gone after things too great nor marvels beyond me. Truly I have set my soul in silence and peace. As a child has rest in its mother’s arms, even so my soul. O Israel, hope in the Lord, both now and forever.

Gaspar Fernández Pérez, scj

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