New Year 2018
“She gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the place where travelers lodge.” (Lk 2:7)
Once again the celebration of Christmas offers the opportunity to me and the members of the General Council to extend to all of you—our young people in formation, our active religious, our elders, those who are sick or in difficulty, no matter where you are—best wishes for the holy feast of Christmas. We would like to assure you of our closeness and our gratitude for what you are and what you do in your various community and apostolic situations around the world. May Emmanuel—God with us—fill everyone with his presence and his grace.
This event of God among men—at the heart of the Christian message—means that the God of the Bible is faithful to his promises and that he never disappoints us, because he loves with a special love the creature that comes forth from his own hands. This is also the experience that the people of Israel had in their long and difficult journey to the Promised Land. The assurance of God given to Moses on Mount Horeb, “I will be with you (Ex 3:12),” will mark the history of the people of the Covenant in good times and in bad, as it marks our own. This promise will be realized in the birth of the Savior in the stable at Bethlehem, thereby filling the need for the infinite present in the heart of every person.
His coming among us will be marked by the refusal of comfortable lodging suited for the particular experience Mary and Joseph were going through, and by a more squalid indifference on the part of the inhabitants of Bethlehem.
The world we live in does not seem to be so different from that described in the Gospels. In fact, caught up in the whirl of its problems and unaware of the passing of God on the streets of its life, it seems to care little about Him. Yet God has never stopped thinking of human beings and loving them in their fragility and littleness to the very point of becoming like one of them in the person of Emmanuel.
This year Christmas marks an important step in the journey of our Congregation in that the following day is the opening of the first La Salette mission in the country of Mozambique. As with every new birth, I hope that this one too will be for us all a bearer of life and joy.
I offer up sincere prayers that this most recent mission commitment, which opens new apostolic horizons for the Congregation, may be experienced as a gift and as a time of grace reserved in a special way for us, as well as for all those Laity who desire to be nurtured by the same spirituality which is drawn from the Apparition of the Beautiful Lady at La Salette.
Furthermore, I hope that this becomes an incentive for every individual religious, for every community, and for our young people in formation, to rediscover the beauty of the call to La Salette religious life and, without any reservation and with renewed enthusiasm, to put all one’s human and spiritual capacities at the service of reconciliation in the Church and in the world today and especially where “the cry of the poor” is more obvious and insistent.
May this Christmas bring a breath of fresh air into the heart of each one of us and into our communities—a breath of fresh air that has the flavor of a shared religious and missionary ideal, of sincere solidarity, of effective collaboration, of mutual respect, of brotherly love and of forgiveness received and offered with joy.
I want to extend this wish to all those who under various titles collaborate with us in our houses and in the apostolate, as well as to our benefactors, to the Sisters of La Salette and to the La Salette Laity, who, sustained and encouraged by the words of the Beautiful Lady, commit themselves to announce the Good News with enthusiasm wherever they live.
Once again, and in the name of the General Council, best wishes for a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year—during which we will celebrate the 32nd General Chapter of our Congregation!
Fr. Silvano Marisa MS