Merry Christmas brothers
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Dear Brothers, Greetings to everyone!
I am a little late this year in sending my greetings; I don’t know if they will be able to get the translations done by Christmas Day, the reason being that I just returned yesterday from an intensive and interesting visit and tour around the PACC (Pacific-Asia) Conference. It was a very powerful experience and was indeed a very encouraging one for me as General Minister. I also want to take a moment to express my gratitude for the great efforts made for our reception and for the guided visits, in the company of the General Councilor for the region, to as many places as possible among our Capuchin presences in Pontianak, in Medan, in the Custody of Malaysia, and in the Custody of Nias.
It was a very important experience for me, and do you know why? There were instances in which I was particularly struck by the presence of so many young vocations. In the various places of formation, more than 100 of our young friars in philosophy and theology. It was a very enriching experience that spoke of the Lord’s continued blessings upon our Order. He continues to bless it in ways only he knows how to do, raising up so many friars to respond to this grace of our Capuchin Franciscan vocation.
I saw so much energy for the Order, so much life for the Order, I saw so much desire to serve the Order and not only in the Pacific territory where the Order is growing, but also in terms of a willingness toward making oneself available throughout the whole Order. We can do only what we are able to do, but the willingness is there. Truly, having met many friars, through my many encounters with many friars, I’ve found all to be very attentive to what it is we are living; it made me realize that the Lord really does continue to come among us. At Christmas time, we reflect on this presence of God who comes to meet man. The Lord Jesus who comes to our cities, to our neighborhoods, to our forests (speaking of what I saw on my visit), among peoples of different ages, different cultures, different social situations. See that the Lord who comes, comes precisely for the man of today, for the man of our cities, of our streets, for the man we meet today with his positive aspects and with his frailties, with his hardships, with his desires, and with his will to do good – and let us also remember those beset by difficult living conditions. The Lord Jesus continues to come among us.
Since my visit to southeast Asia took place during the rainy season, I was thinking how all the rain I saw over the last month falls to fertilize the earth and to sustain each one of us. And just this morning in the Liturgy of the Hours, reference was made to the rain that descends and makes the Virgin’s womb bud forth with the mystery of Christmas. How can we become aware … become aware of this Jesus walking around in our streets? How can we savor his presence, and how can we announce that presence to the world? We must learn to do as he does. To see with his eyes the human realities that are all around us, in those who walk right beside us. We must place ourselves among them, walk at their pace, feel them as a part of God’s merciful love, who wants everyone to be saved; while we, also, become a little more like Jesus. That is, to announce that the Lord is among us who is blessing us, who promises us a life full of vitality, full of perspective, full of hope. Brothers, this is the wish I would like to leave with you this year at Christmas. May you be persons who have encountered this Lord who continually participates in our history, who comes among us to let us know that God has a privileged place prepared for each of us. May you be towards other men in the same way as Jesus, the Word who comes, who is beside man, who heals him, who sustains him, and who opens for him a vista for life, light and peace. Then we will ever more experience the beauty of this Lord, for whom we have dedicated our whole life, who always goes before us, who comes to meet us, to meet man, to meet each and every one of us individually.
Brothers, my dearest, dearest wish is that you may meet the Lord and do as the Lord does, bringing a little of his mercy to today’s human family.
Merry Christmas, brothers one and all!
Br. Roberto Genuin
General Minister OFMCap