“It is not intended to be a pastoral letter, but rather an indication of some spiritual ideas for this year’s journey. They were intense days and weeks, where I was able to personally see the vitality and variety of gifts that our Church is rich and full of ”.
Thus begins the pastoral letter of Msgr. Giacomo Morandi, new archbishop of Reggio Emilia-Guastalla, entitled ‘One heart only, one soul’, which takes its cue from the icon of the ‘Hospitality of Abraham’, identified with the ‘Trinity’, created by Andrej Rublëv.
It is an invitation to resume the spiritual journey: “Rooted and founded on the memory of a Church which over the centuries has sown abundantly, the awareness must grow that every generation of believers, supported and guided by the Holy Spirit, has the unavoidable task to adapt herself more and more to the transfiguring power of the Gospel to consolidate the faith of believers and to help those who have long since distanced themselves, for many reasons, perhaps even for our responsibility, so that they can resume a journey of faith “.
The first point insists on the good of communion as immersion in Trinitarian Love, indicating the first Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians as a book to follow for 2022-2023:
“The compromise of unity and communion, even in the face of a rich proposal and in step with the times, is inexorably devoted to sterility and does not bring any evangelical novelty: in the best of cases the life of the community is assimilated to that of a club or to a social gathering agency that provides services on request “.
It is an invitation to missionary spirit: “We must not indulge in resignation, a temptation that is anything but remote, as if we were called to manage a decline with dignity, believing that the glories of the past, now archived, leave room for a present of a small flock more and more elitist and less and less missionary.
Nor can we indulge in the idea that what has been done is now a silent and sterile experience. In reality, if we are here today to bear witness to the faith, it is thanks to those who preceded us, who, despite the typical limitations of our human frailty, enabled us to encounter the Lord ”.
With the icon of Rublev, the archbishop invited the faithful to immerse themselves in the love of God: “Christian life is therefore immersion in this Trinitarian Love in which we have been made partakers and to which we are perennially invited as it is iconically represented in the famous work of Rublev.
In the Baptism received, buried and resuscitated with Christ, we carry this Trinitarian communion imprint indelibly and, every time we support it and live it, we feel a profound joy because we are called to this and we were created for it ”.
For this reason the relationship is the way to evangelization: “Communion is interwoven and nourished in the encounter, that is, in the desire to give time and space to the relationship. Without this precise and determined will to offer what we have most precious (time, my time) to the other, a true and fruitful encounter in the Church can in no way take off.
Donating time and welcoming oneself unconditionally are the essential prerequisites for communion to express itself and find a place of epiphany… We need to meet a face and not to receive a simple chat message with some funny emoticons! “
In the letter, the archbishop underlines the meaning of accompaniment: “To accompany means knowing how to look at the other with wisdom and freedom, and providing adequate and proportionate nutrition to what can be assimilated and metabolized!
An authentic evangelizer never binds to himself those people who are and always remain of the Good Shepherd and, however grateful he is for his journey of faith and for the spirituality that sustains and nourishes him, he is careful not to give in to the temptation of bringing everyone into the same direction, knowing well that the Holy Spirit blows where he wants and is creative even in the ways in which he manages to open a passage in the heart of man ”.
For this reason the archbishop advises the reading of Saint Paul to understand the value of the announcement: “In this light I propose that for the pastoral year in our meetings we can deepen Saint Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians in meditation and prayer.
In this writing we can draw not only the apostle’s passion for the proclamation of the Gospel, but also acquire, from his experience, that pastoral charity which our communities need ”.
And in the synodal journey the invitation to open oneself to charity: “We are exhorted to have the house of Bethany as a point of reference and to open the ‘Construction sites of Bethany’. These new construction sites involve places and environments that we are called to know better and that include the vast world of poverty, the environments of culture, religions and faiths, the intra-ecclesial world of pastoral councils and economic affairs, the role of the structures of our parishes and finally the area of deacons and spiritual formation, with particular attention to the theme of female co-responsibility within the Christian community ”.
Again, the archbishop urges everyone to be men and women of prayer: “Prayer is not simply important, but essential, just as breathing is not simply important but vital! As long as we confine prayer among the important things, we will always find it difficult to give it the right place in our life and in the life of our Christian communities!
We often defend ourselves, saying that the time at our disposal is short, that we are engulfed in many questions, but in reality, prayer needs courage more than time! The courage to be in the presence of the living God who scrutinizes our hearts and before whom nothing about us is hidden ”.
Finally, an invitation to charity, as a Christian’s daily task: “Nonetheless, it seems important to me that such an intense activity helps to rediscover that charity is not the exclusive prerogative of those who are directly involved in organizational activities!
If there is no delegation to evangelization, then it cannot exist that there are professionals of Charity who are left with the task of providing for so many brothers and sisters who are in need and in need. We will not be able to tell the Lord on the day of judgment that meeting the poor, the hungry, the thirsty … we sent him to Caritas! The professional of Charity is the believer as such! “