Letter July 18 2011
Madrid, July 18, 2011
Anniversary of the 1st apparition to Saint Catherine
Dear Members of the VMY!
Receive a warm and fraternal greeting on this special day when we celebrate the 1st apparition of the Virgin Mary to Saint Catherine and the beginning of the VMY adventure!
Beginning this letter, there come to mind two events: the recent beatification of Sister Marguerite Rutan, Daughter of Charity (Dax, France, June 19, 2011) and the upcoming celebration of the International Encounter of Vincentian Youth and the World Youth Day (Madrid, Spain, August 2011). Our anniversary comes between these two events which have great meaning for our life as members of VMY.
One month ago the Church recognized in the life of Sister Marguerite Rutan, according to the words of Pope Benedict XVI, “the brilliant testimony of love of Christ for the poor.” This is the reason for her beatification: a life given to the least favored which led her to a live fidelity to Christ and to the Vincentian charism with all its consequences. Her martyrdom only highlighted what her life had been: an unconditional offering to the Father, like the example of Christ and Saint Vincent, to show to all the immense love of God. The postulator of her cause, Father Luigi Mezzadri, writes about the new Blessed who walked toward death with a serene countenance, not lowering her eyes. “The contemporary meaning of her message,” writes Mezzadri in L’Osservatore Romano, “is in having anticipated with her life the words of John Paul II: “Do Not Be Afraid.” This feast of the Church and of the Vincentian Family invites us to see how we walk with passion and courage in the struggle together with the most impoverished. Are we still struggling with them or have we lowered our head and arms? Ask yourself the question, alone or in a group. The answers we will give with our lives as well as with our individual and communal commitment.
Just one month ago the Church reminded us of the road to sanctity to which we are called as Vincentians. And within one month some 2000 Vincentian youth will gather in Madrid to live an International Encounter with which we want to proclaim that “to be Vincentian is a style of life today.” Do we believe it? To belong to the Church, to the VMY, carries the risk of accommodating oneself, to work within some established limits, to lose the Evangelical force which ought to characterize the followers of Christ and of Saint Vincent. Our efforts within the Association, are they aimed toward creativity or maintenance? How do we announce Jesus Christ in the courtyards of today: in “Facebook” and other social networks, in the street and other places where the youth of today live and grow, in our most intimate circles so often in need of the Love of God? How do we embrace the loving presence of God in the persons we ought to love more, in the events which sadden us or upset our plans, in our own weakness which slows down our journey toward sanctity? How do we live this journey today close to Mary? It is not so much about what we do but rather about who we are becoming, about how we reflect the Love of God and His primacy in our lives. May your life, your commitment, your being be an invitation for other youth, an indication of that spiritual dimension which gives meaning and another flavor to life! To be who you are is the greatest gift you can make to the world.
I wanted to reflect with you about these two events because I think that they show us, by the light of the past, the way which remains before us as Vincentian Marian Youth. Also because to feel like part of the Church, to feel like part of the international Vincentian community, is to make our all that which is lived on a grand scale, even when the particular circumstances and, very often, the economic means, impede us from living it in a personalized way. In Dax only a few of the VMY France and some members of the International Council were present. In Madrid we will only be a small portion of the 100,000 VMY members physically present…. None the less in the Communion of Saints we will all be present, participating in the graces of these encounters because the goodness of God does not allow frontiers, just as our commitment to continue to build the Kingdom of God present among us should have no limits.
In our journey the Patron Saints of the VMY enlighten us – especially our dear Blessed John Paul II, Blessed Marguerite Rutan and our Mother Mary who still dreams with us. This is what we will ask on this day, while we participate in the Eucharist in our distinct places and we unite spiritually to the Thanksgiving Mass and for all the intentions of the VMY in the Rue du Bac, cradle of our Association. Each member and all our Association will be present in our prayers.
International President VMY