“Do not yield to nostalgia, but be men who, moved by faith in the God of history and of life, proclaim the coming of the dawn amid the darkness of the night.”
Pope Francis gave these words of encouragement to the participants in the 32nd General Chapter of the Congregation of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Resurrectionists) the morning of Saturday, June 24, 2017.
The General Chapter took place in Rome, June 11-25, 2017, on the theme:
“Witnesses of the Presence of the Risen Lord: from Community to the World.”
Francis reminded them that as spiritual sons of Bogdan Jański, the apostle of Polish émigrés in France in the 19th Century, their order was founded in order to testify that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ “is at the basis of the Christian life, to proclaim the need for personal resurrection, and to support the community in its mission of service to the Kingdom of God.”
With this in mind, the Pope reflected with them on three particular phrases.
Witnesses of the Presence of the Risen Lord
This first phrase, he noted, could be summarized in a word, “missionaries,” apostles of the Living One, proposing to them Mary Magdalene, as an icon, when on Easter morning, after having encountered the risen Jesus, she proclaimed Him to the other disciples.
“Nostalgia for a past that was rich in vocations and impressive achievements must not prevent you from seeing the life that the Lord is causing to blossom, today too, in your midst,” he said. “Do not yield to nostalgia, but be men who, moved by faith in the God of history and of life, proclaim the coming of the dawn amid the darkness of the night (cf. Is 21:11-12).”
“Men of contemplation, who, with the eyes of the heart fixed on the Lord, can see what others, caught up in the concerns of this world, cannot,” but must proclaim boldly and joyously Jesus Christ is alive and is Lord.
From Community to the World
Like the disciples of Emmaus, allow the Risen One to walk at your side, the Pope encouraged. This encounter, he explained, will make them run once more, “filled with joy and without delay, to the community, and from the community to the entire world, in order to tell others that “The Lord is risen indeed!'”
“Those who believe in the Risen One, Pope Francis stressed, have the courage to “go forth” and bring to others the Good News of the Resurrection, embracing the risks of testimony, even as the Apostles did.
“How many people are waiting for this joyful proclamation! It is not right for us to deprive them of it. If the Resurrection of Christ is our greatest certainty and our most precious treasure, how can we not run to proclaim it to others?”
Prophets of Joy and of Easter Hope
The Risen Lord, Francis stressed, poured out upon His disciples two forms of consolation: interior joy and the light of the paschal mystery.
“The joy of recognizing the presence of the Risen Jesus draws you into his Person and his will: for this very reason, it leads to mission,” he said, adding, “The light of the paschal mystery brings new hope, a ‘trustworthy hope,’ as Pope Benedict XVI has said (Spe Salvi, 2).”
Still Relevant Advice
Francis then repeated to them what he often said to consecrated persons, especially during the Year of Consecrated Life:
“Remember the past with gratitude, live the present with passion, and embrace the future with hope. A grateful memory of the past: not archaeology, because charism is always a wellspring of living water, not a bottle of distilled water. A passion for maintaining ever alive and young our first love, who is Jesus. Hope, in the knowledge that Jesus is with us and guides our steps, even as he guided the steps of our founders.”
Pope Francis concluded, giving them his blessing and reminding them to pray for him.
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full Text: https://zenit.org/articles/popes-address-to-the-resurrectionists