Letter of January, 2016
My very dear Team Members,
In the fortuitous context in which we live, marked by the memory of the closing of the Vatican II Council on December 8th, 1965, fifty years ago, and again by the proximity of the Bishops' Synod on the family, I would like, in this letter, to share with you the hope our Movement gives me for the future of Christian families in the Church and in our contemporary society, and to warmly invite you to be faithful to our charisma and mission in the Church, ever more necessary today than 68 years ago.
Despite being in another historical context, the current times, even on a global level, incite us to live with courage and hope that which we are and to live our conjugal mission with joy, as Pope Francis asks us to. I ask you not to forget the dignity to which we have all been called to live, each person according to their state in life, according to three levels.
Let us not forget our dignity as people created in the image and resemblance with God, a reality that is no longer so obvious for many of our contemporaries, who are more worried by the ecology of nature and the world, and less by human ecology, as Pope Francis reminds us in his recent encyclical, Laudato si!
Let us not forget our dignity as sons of God through baptism, as participants in the divine nature and called to holiness, to the perfection of truth, freedom and love, that is only possible to acquire in God, as a gift and a grace that we ought humbly to ask for.
Let us not forget our married dignity, as St John Paul II taught us in his Theology of the Body. In your case, as couples, you ought to live out your married love in the Lord, according to the thinking of the apostle St Paul (cf. 1 Cor 7:39). I recommend that you read and meditate as a couple on this chapter in the Letter to the Corinthians, especially the first verses (1 Cor 7:1-8), where St Paul talks about married duties. Live chastely your married love, that is nourished because love needs to be nourished by frequent attendance at three tables or altars: the Eucharistic table, the table of the fraternal meal, and the table or altar where one celebrates the chaste and pure love of spouses who love each other in the Lord and whose love has been blessed by the Lord and the Church in the sacrament of marriage. Through the sacrament of marriage, the husband represents Christ who loves the Church and gives himself up by dying of love for her, and the wife represents the Church who welcomes the love of her husband, by being submissive to him. Obedience and submission are only possible between people who truly love each other. This is why the golden rule for relationships and married love is forgiveness, which is the most perfect form of giving, the perfection of the gift.
I do not know, dear Team Members, if what I have just shared with you is clear to everyone. In any case, I invite you to reflect on it in your conjugal dialogue, prayers and Sit-Down. Be scrupulously respectful of the Endeavours, which, because they are very simple, are not at all easy!
I take my leave of you and call upon the Lord's blessing for you and your families that He may protect and be with you always.
Father José Jacinto Ferreira de Farias, scj - Spiritual Counsellor to the International Leading Team