The limits of the cloister should not be an obstacle to be missionaries: Homily of the Minister General to the Poor Clares

Dear Sisters, all Brothers in Jesus Christ.

It is a great joy for me to be with you and to share the one and only Bread, to be able to rejoice in the encounter with Him who “is the splendor of the eternal glory, a reflection of the everlasting light and unblemished mirror” (4LAg 14), resurrected Jesus Christ).

The Evangelist Luke tells the return of the two disciples from Emmaus to Jerusalem. It must have been a difficult and risky way, that shortly before they wanted to avoid the pilgrim who had joined them: “stay with us, the day is almost over and it is getting dark” (Lk 24:29), but they do it because they have deposited all their hope in Jesus.  Moreover, they know that the Lord is going with them, because they make the way together. They know that, despite difficulties, discouragement and suffering, the experience of fraternity not only makes life more bearable, but also produces the miracle of the presence of Jesus in the midst of his own.

This presence dissipates the fears that trap us in ourselves and paralyze us. A Presence which, on the other hand, brings the peace that liberates, turns problems into challenges and prompts us to be witnesses in “the places of our world where the joy of God and mercy are deeply desired” (Gen Chap/15, n. 33).

Dear Sisters, dear Poor Clares, you, as well as the brothers, have inherited the fundamental intuition that the sisters and the brothers are a gift from God. Indeed, Mother St. Clare writes in her Testament: “After the most heavenly Father deigned, by his mercy and grace, to enlighten my heart to do penance…, along with the few sisters whom the Lord had given  me in the wake of my conversion” (TestCl 24-25).

Therefore, be attentive to those attitudes that build an authentic communion of life such as acceptance, respect, dialogue. Encourage a deep communication among you that leads to sharing not only events or ideas, but also ideals, feelings and deep experiences, especially reflections on life experiences, specifically about your experience of God.

Therefore, the call of Jesus to be his witness, reminds us that all the disciples are also called to be missionaries. The limits of the enclosure should not be an obstacle to sharing in some way with others the experience of God, through prayer for the concrete needs of the world, but also through the exemplarity of a life lived in interior freedom, in joy and fraternity. At the same time that you are attentive to your vocation to the cloister, in your project of fraternal life, you must ask yourselves how to live the missionary dimension of your life expressed in the Testament of Mother Clara: “For the Lord himself has set us a model for example and a mirror not only for others, but also for our sisters, whom the Lord called to our vocation, so that they too may be a mirror and an example to those who live in the world “(TestCl 19-20).

Sisters, the best service we can give to our brothers and sisters is the testimony of a joyful life centered on God, free from the slavery of the excessive desire of material goods, joyful in the experience of a genuine, generous love sacrificed to God and to the brothers and sisters; In itself, a life entrusted and available to the project of God, and builder of fraternity.

Let us recall Pope Francis’s exhortation to the cloistered nuns: “Take care of the friendship between yourselves, the family life, love among you. May the monastery not be a Purgatory but a family. There are and there will be problems but like in a family, with love, search for a solution with love; do not destroy this to resolve that; do not enter competitions…. Build community life, because in the life of a community it is this way, like a family, and it is the very Holy Spirit who is in the middle of the community” (Choir Chapel of the Basilica of Santa Clara, Assisi, Friday, October 4, 2013).

Dear Sisters Poor Clares, perhaps today more than ever is necessary the eloquence of your life in silence and the light that springs from your cloister. Take a renewed conscience of its mission: to be witnesses of the centrality of God in the life of human beings, of the Love of Him to whom all earthly loves in comparison to His are little. He is the only one capable of filling the human heart,  and the Treasury, so unlimited that  is worth, with joy, to leave everything and put what we are and we have at the service of the construction of a world more just, more solidarity and more peaceful. In this way, you will be strength for the frail members of the Mystical Body of Christ.