Blessed Rosmini Prayed: ‘O God, send us Heroes’
“All can live it in daily fidelity to the Christian vocation; the consecrated, in particular, in faithful adherence to their religious profession,” Pope Francis said October 1, 2018, in the Hall of Popes of the Apostolic Palace, to the participants in the General Chapter of the Institute of Charity (Rosminians)
“In this connection, Blessed Rosmini prayed: ‘O God, send us heroes’,” the Holy Father said. “Evident in him was what I stressed in the recent Motu Proprio Majorem hac dilectionem, on the heroism of life, that is, ‘an offering of life for others, maintained unto death’ (n. 50. Holiness is the way of the true reform of the Church that, as Rosmini well saw, transforms the world in the measure in which she reforms herself.”
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The Holy Father’s Full Address
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
I’m happy to receive you on the occasion of your General Congregation and I greet you all affectionately, beginning with the General Provost, Father Vito Nardin, whom I thank for his words. Your visit manifests the attachment to the Church and to the Holy See, recommended and lived by your Founder, Blessed Anthony Rosmini. It is lived heroically. He loved to repeat: “A Christian must nourish in himself an affection, an attachment, and a respect without any limits for the Holy See of the Roman Pontiff” (Maxims of Christian Perfection Adapted to Every Type of Person, Lesson III, n. 6). Fidelity to the See of Peter expresses unity in diversity and ecclesial communion, an indispensable element for a fruitful mission.
During your assembly, you proposed to reflect on the theme “Be perfect . . . Be merciful.” It’s about putting in the first place the joyful news that every Christian is called to holiness, and to follow this way together in charity. Such a prospect, exquisitely evangelical, is a focal point of the teaching of your Founder, verifiable in a special way in the book of the Maxims. Holiness and the exercise of virtues are not reserved to a few, and even less so to some particular moment of existence. All can live it in daily fidelity to the Christian vocation; the consecrated, in particular, in faithful adherence to their religious profession. In this connection, Blessed Rosmini prayed: “O God, send us heroes.” Evident in him was what I stressed in the recent Motu Proprio Majorem hac dilectionem, on the heroism of life, that is, “an offering of life for others, maintained unto death” (n. 50. Holiness is the way of the true reform of the Church that, as Rosmini well saw, transforms the world in the measure in which she reforms herself.
Your Founder wished to attribute to his religious family the name “Institute of Charity,” precisely to make evident the supremacy of the virtue of charity, which, as the Apostle says, is placed “above all” (Colossians 3:14). And Rosmini accompanied charity with a strong “interior firmness,” intrepid in “keeping silent.” May his example spur you to progress in the fecundity of interior silence and in the heroism of exterior silence. This is the path that produces fruits of goodness and holiness, the path that was followed by the Saints and that the Church points out to every believer. Moreover, it’s important to maintain that “holy indifference” that your Founder drew from Saint Ignatius of Loyola: without it, it’s impossible to carry out an authentic universal charity.
In your ecclesial activity, I invite you to arrange the corporal, intellectual, spiritual and pastoral works of charity in such a way as to second always the Holy Spirit who indicates where, when and how to love. In regard to educational action, it’s not reduced to simple instruction but is intellectual charity. In fact, the living center of Christian education is the science that is transmitted from the Word of God, whose fullness is Jesus Christ, Word made flesh. Your apostolic presence has radiated in India, in Tanzania, and in Kenya, in addition to the area of the United States of America and of Europe. I encourage you to be men of hands that are always extended to the suffering, to take to them the help of faith and of charity. I’m thinking in particular of your Rosminian Brothers and Sisters that work in Venezuela, called to witness spiritual and material closeness to the population so sorely tried.
It is good also that your Institute continues to reflect carefully on its charism and, considering the fruits that have matured in the course of the years, that it be able to open itself increasingly to the expectations of the Church and of the world. With the light of the Holy Spirit, you will find the ways to continue with renewed impetus, taking up the signs of the times, the social urgencies and the spiritual and material poverty of those that await words and gestures of salvation and hope. In this apostolic work, you are side by side of the “ascribed” clerics and laymen that, living in the world, want to acquire evangelical perfection in communion with your Institute. It’s good that they be rendered increasingly participants of your community life.
Dear brothers, your Institute, with the specificity of the Rosminian charism, can again offer a valid service in the proclamation of the Gospel. I exhort you to propose with constancy and foresight the spiritual and doctrinal patrimony that you have inherited. May the inevitable difficulties not discourage you, but push you to always trust God to continue with joy and hope the mission that He has entrusted to you. May the Holy Spirit render you living instruments of universal charity in the Church and in the world, capable of helping all those you meet in your apostolate, to renew incessantly the hope that “does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans5:5).
I entrust you to the maternal protection of the Virgin Mary and I impart to you my heartfelt Apostolic Blessing. Please, don’t forget to pray for me. Thank you.
© Libreria Editrice Vatican
[Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]