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Have you ever seen the wonder of children contemplating the Christmas crib? Their eyes shine with joy before the Child Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the various animals. The simplicity of their heart allows them to see the promise that is borne by the newly born baby. With Noel, we are invited to the unexpected of God bursting into our world. The new year is here and we all carry in our hearts the Hope of a better world. Faith in Jesus makes us wait in hope for the renewal of all things because the Incarnation of the Son of God is at the origin of a radical transformation of the universe. Creation as a whole is called to a renewal which will definitively establish it in the love of God. Such, then, is my hope and my wish on the threshold of this new year. I pray that each of us will be transformed and metamorphosed by the grace of God.
The Assumption, with a history of more than 160 years, continues its journey with its strengths and weaknesses. We all know the hardness of the road and we know that we need new forces to support our march. The first of the forces lies in our conversion to evangelical values. The religious knows that he cannot fulfill his mission if he has not been filled by the force of the Holy Spirit. To welcome the Spirit of Jesus is to renounce the values of the world: the thirst for power, the search for riches, selfishness and individualism, the quest for immediate enjoyment. If the fight is tough, we know that God is with us and He will never leave us.
The 33rd General Chapter asked that each of us work on unity in a divided world. This unity is already beginning in our hearts. No places for divided hearts, that is for hearts that have not really chosen God and his Kingdom. But the struggle is also going on in community. The division of the brothers is a countertestimony to the Gospel and its call for unity. Assumptionist communities must always meet the challenge of unity through concrete actions. Let us learn to look at the brother with gentleness and confidence. Let us see in him a being capable of conversion and renewal. The fight for unity unfolds in the Church, our Mother. The news shows us that the current stakes are huge. It is important not to give up on the difficulties we face. The renewal to which we are invited depends on resolute action for the transformation of our ways of acting. Let us give more room for debate, dialogue and fraternal exchange of ideas and opinions.
Let us learn to seek consensus and be ready to compromise. Let also our lay friends help us discern the signs of the times to be more faithful to Emmanuel d’Alzon. The new heaven that is promised to us is the horizon of the Kingdom of God which is revealed little by little in our eyes. Even if the weather is foggy, we know that the thinning will come and we can move forward. The new earth is the world reconciled. A world where men and women live in harmony and peace. A world of justice where everyone has his/her place. God is the God of the novelty and the unexpected. Let us not shut off the power of renewal brought by the child of Bethlehem in our calculations and strategies. Let him take the initiative because it can take us much further than we can hope.
So, let us keep our ability of wonder intact: God does all things new. With God, let us work for the renewal of our world.