Christmas Letter of the Minister General 2015

My dearest Brothers, While I am writing this letter, the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy is beginning. As Pope Francis has written in the Bull of Indiction this is a time when “we are called to gaze even more attentively on mercy so that we may become a more effective sign of the Father’s action in our lives.” (Misericordiæ vultus, n. 3).

Can we bear the gaze of this mercy while there is so much blind violence, while so many signs of terror and death strike us, and enter through our eyes into our imagination, emotions, intelligence? Certainly, none of this help us to mature a gaze capable of compassion. We need a change of heart, to be able to see in a new way and recognize the signs of a mercy that comes to us in many ways, at this time and in this world, so apparently extraneous to it, yet so thirsty for it.

On the Holy Eve of Christmas, we sing the Father’s Mercy, who has appeared among us and is revealed in the flesh of our weakness, which the Lord Jesus has received from the Virgin Mary, who has made him our brother and obtained for us mercy (cf. . LegM 9.3).

The weak flesh of the child is the same that will traverse the roads of Palestine, caress the poor and the sick, will bow down to sinners, will not be afraid to be touched with tenderness by children and women. That flesh who “went through all the afflictions of humankind” (St. Basil the Great, Homily on humility, 6), even onto death on the cross. Truly when we celebrate Christmas we are celebrating a true “Pasch of Incarnation” (Paul Evdokimov)!

The fragile flesh of every man, woman, child, elderly and young adult has been touched and shaped by contact with mercy, which is the countenance of Jesus’s face, who was born for us. Our flesh, therefore, already bears the inscription of the mystery of a love that gives it all, that forgives, that is always open, and indeed opens the door of mercy for those who accept it…