Your Excellency, Dear Rev. Fathers and Brothers,
“Be glad, rejoice, radiate Joy,” for God has become man revealing the mystery of Love. May I wish you all a Very Happy Christmas and a New Year filled with Joy!
Recently (October 2014) the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life in connection with the declaration of “the Year of Consecrated Life” published a letter addressed to consecrated men and women based on the teachings of Pope Francis with the title, “Rejoice!”… After the introduction the first chapter begins with the title, “Be glad, rejoice, radiate Joy”.
The letter begins with a quotation from the talk of Pope Francis: “I want to say one word to you and this word is joy. Wherever consecrated people are, there is always joy!” Pope Francis is the quintessence of consecrated life always radiating freedom, peace and joy. He gives witness to the radicalism of the consecrated life emanating newness, freshness with a challenge to the world with a simplicity that destroys the barriers of selfishness, materialism and hedonism. His presence and witnessing inspire all consecrated men and women of good will to move forward with the hope proclaiming the infinite love of God through a life of joyful witnessing. We, the members of a Society of Apostolic Life, are committed to the mission of Jesus Christ. We are called to sanctify ourselves through living Christ’s mission, radiating peace and joy of Christmas.
Christmas is the feast that celebrates the opening of the new bridge built between God and man. In the person of the Child Jesus, born in a manger in the company of animals, we have the new bridge that has removed forever the chasm between God and humanity. Clement of Alexandria once remarked: “The Word of God became man that you also may learn from a man how a man becomes God…”
Christmas is a feast of peace, joy and hope. The first Christmas that was celebrated in Bethlehem (house of bread) should inspire us missionaries to become “houses of bread” to the hungry in our vicinity. Just as Jesus offered himself as bread to humanity we are radically invited to satisfy the hunger of those in our neighbourhood in all of its forms such as hunger for food, knowledge, human dignity, approbation and appreciation, leading our fellow beings to real peace, joy and hope. There cannot be real peace, as long as there is poverty; there cannot be real joy as long as there is illiteracy and discrimination. There cannot be real hope as long as the human society is corrupt, unjust and uncaring. There cannot be real love as long as there exist hatred, violence and mistrust, resulting from the accumulation of oppressive powers subjecting humans to mere objects of lust in extreme form.
Only the redemptive of love of Christ, which fills human hearts with a sense of dignity, and spirit of love, can bring peace and radiate the divine joy. Let us become fully committed to live our missionary and consecrated life.
May the celebration of Christmas help us to radiate the joy of Christ in all realms of our life!
Fr Kurian Ammanathukunnel
Director General, MST