God blessed the Curia members with the possibility to spend quality time with our Br. Raniero. It was a time of inspiration for the participants. He based his sharing on the Letter to the Romans and made it alive with insightful and humorous wisdom saying and stories out of his 83 years of living the faith.
The following are some of the points and themes which touched us we share this to you so that they may touch and inspire you also.
Check your seat belts:
We are called to be open to the Holy Spirit who would touch us through a word, an insight, a Gospel passage and above all from the letter to the Romans. He himself asked us to be open to the insights that could come at any moment of the retreat. And it was true.
Metanoia & Gratuitous gift of God in our lives: It should not be interpreted as the penitence as it was done by some authors but It is the change of mind set. To be converted and believe in the gratuitous gift of God to us. It means one has to become a babe and accept the love of God even when facing the consequences of it. St. Francis understood this gratuitous love of God. All that we have is the free gift and we have to respond gratefully knowing Jesus our Slain Hero who is remarkable in his Sacrifice on the Cross. God through the sacrament of confession offers his love to us, like a rich lady suddenly calling the poor of Rome and asking them to take whatever they want from her costliest collections. It is a free gift of love much more to us believers.
Love of God
Love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Rom 5: 1-11). We in turn have to believe in the love of God for us. God is love because of the Trinity. It is manifest in friendship where there are two bodies but one soul. Even we are called to love the enemies considering them as friends (Rom 5:6). We may do charity without love to satisfy the conscience but we have to put the love of our God in our hearts before doing that (Rom 8).
God the Therapist
If God loved us so it could be one of the responses we could give by loving. Because love of God is all in all (Rom 8:31). God is a great therapist who does a therapy with his love as a base. The threats that we witness today existed also during the time of St. Paul with their problems, but nothing of these could separate us from the love of God. With God’s love in us we could be free people and we could also win the race.
It is the work of the Holy Spirit. We are weak and do not know how to pray. (Rom 8:26). The men of faith are Abraham, Moses, Elijah had prayer as a dialogue between the friends. Some have god on their lips and not in their hearts. But in Christ we have received the gift of prayer. We have to pray to God; with God in the Spirit. As in the life of St. Teresa of Avila, prayer could become a struggle. Sometimes we may not be able to pray one Ave Maria. But we should not give up praying even when we don’t find any gratification. In prayer we call God as our ‘Abba’. Sometimes we need to interrupt our routine work to find time for prayer. Desert Fathers St. Antony of the Desert did that. Thus our body itself could become a hermitage where God dwells.
Incarnation comes through the instrumentality of Mother Mary. What does she say about faith? Elizabeth has greeted her as blessed is one who believed. The true greatness of Mary is her faith. Every virgin in Israel was waiting to become a Mother of the Saviour but she got the gift by her ‘yes’. And we could also conceive Jesus that way. She in her life also hoped above every hope. The new Christians have to be persons of hope and it is dialogical. God can do everything there for us. When we stop hoping everything would be over. Hoping when nothing changes and it would change everything.
Eucharistic Lord coming alive in a Social Reality
“one day after celebrating the Eucharist I went to visit the poor children in a particular city. I saw children waiting there with hunger for the food to arrive. I saw their emaciated conditions and Jesus told me: I am being broken there amidst these children,” this was one of the inspiring life stories that Fr. Raniero shared with us.