Ariccia, Spiritual Exercices 2017 / © PHOTO.VA - OSSERVATORE ROMANO

Lenten Retreat: 'Judas Reveals Us to Ourselves'

Fifth Meditation of Father Michelini

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The themes of the fifth meditation of the Lenten Retreat of Pope Francis and the Roman Curia were the loss of faith and Judas’ suicide, and the Church’s mission to seek sinners. On the morning of March 8, 2017 at Ariccia, Father Giulio Michelini reflected on the figure of the Apostle Judas, saying that “Judas reveals us to ourselves.”
According to Vatican Radio, the Franciscan recalled the tragedy of Judas’ suicide, trying to understand how the Apostle could have betrayed his Master. One of the theories is that Judas, who wanted a combative, political Messiah wished to exert pressure on Jesus.
Another theory is that Judas lost the faith at a given moment. Father Michelini invited the retreatants to ask themselves “if there were not often moments in our life when we abandoned Christ . . . our love, for a vanity, a sensuality, a benefit, a security, a hatred, a vengeance?”
“We have few justifications to speak with indignation of the traitor. Judas reveals us to ourselves,” stressed the preacher. And he quoted the French writer Emmanuel Carrere in his book “The Kingdom” (2014): “I abandon you, Lord; You, do not abandon me.”
Pastors must also ask themselves how they can reach those who are far from the faith, he continued giving a personal example: “I live with a community of young people who carry out two popular missions a year. I tease them because they go to dance on the streets, enter discotheques and go to bars . . . . But they know how much I appreciate the fact that there is someone who goes there where there is something we would not like to see; there are, perhaps, desperate young people . . . Even if we do not fulfil that duty, we should be grateful and supportive of those who go to seek pagans and publicans in the streets, as Jesus said.
Finally, Father Michelini recalled Judas’ suicide, putting him in parallel with the personage of the “Innominato” [the Nameless] of Alessandro Manzoni’s novel “Les Fiances” : doing these misdeeds, he is tempted to do away with his life but thinks again of the heroine, Lucy’s words, about God’s mercy.
In the same novel, the figure of Cardinal Frederic Borromee, who regrets that he did not go to seek the hoodlum himself before his conversion, invites to go to seek sinners, said the preacher.
Father Michelini also highlighted the responsibility of the religious leaders “intellectuals of religion” in Judas’ suicide. He questioned the Pastors: “How can we help Christians of our time not to lose the faith, to regain consciousness of their faith, that of which the New Testament speaks, joyful faith . . . , adherence to the person of Jesus. What can we do so that these suicides do not happen again?»

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Anne Kurian-Montabone

Laurea in Teologia (2008) alla Facoltà di teologia presso l'Ecole cathedrale di Parigi. Ha lavorato 8 anni per il giornale settimanale francese France Catholique" e participato per 6 mese al giornale "Vocation" del servizio vocazionale delle chiesa di Parigi. Co-autore di un libro sulla preghiera al Sacro Cuore. Dall'ottobre 2011 è Collaboratrice della redazione francese di Zenit."

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