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Becoming an Assumptionist

de l'Assomption

Editorial AA Info april 2019 - N° 08


2019-05-23 - Rome

The Church, our Church, the Catholic Church is experiencing a crisis of great magnitude. Since the Protestant Reformation and the French Revolution, I don’t think we have been confronted with such a wave of bad news. Fifty years after the Second Vatican Council during which time the Holy Spirit ushered in a new Pentecost, we are now facing a collapse that is reminiscent of the calamitous dissipation of the apostles at Golgotha on Good Friday. Hope is wounded and the future is uncertain.

Is there a possible future, then, for the Church? What is the future for the Assumption?  These are two pertinent questions, but with uneven importance. The future of the Assumption, we understand, is strongly tied to that of the Church. It is the Church that sends us on mission. Without the Church, there is no longer an Assumptionist Congregation. Therefore, let us ask the right question. What is at stake, is really the future of faith in Jesus. “Do you also wish to go away?” (Jn 6, 67)

I was born shortly before the Council by John XXIII. My childhood was punctuated by the beginnings of liturgical and catechetical reform. A little Frenchman, I saw how faith progressively withdrew from the public arena and from European culture. I saw a slow dissolution of a symbolic Christian universe. Indifference, unbelief and lack of culture permeated the contemporary spirit. Two books appeared during these latter years.  The first came from a historian of GrecoRoman antiquity: Paul Veyne, Comment notre monde est devenu chrétien (How Our World became Christian). Another more recent book is from a sociologist: Guillaume Cuchet, Comment notre monde a cessé d’être chrétien (How did our World Stop Being Christian). Do these two titles present a complete course? Is there anything else to add like in the movies---“the end”? Is there nothing else to expect from Christianity?

The answer to that question belongs to us.  It is not in my power to give you a conclusion. I am neither a fortune teller who can tell the future through cards or a magician with his crystal ball. I am simply a disciple of Jesus, a man who knows that God will never abandon us. My last letter should have given you some understanding, at least I hope so.

Therefore, let us profit from «Ressources du christianisme»1, they are in our hands; they are available to continue the adventure of following Christ, say the exegetes. To return to Christ is the utmost priority. The Assumptionist commits himself with love and with passion. God is an engulfing flame who imparts his strength to expand the Kingdom. In the face of difficulties and of different dangers, we should recall the sanctity of God and cling to it:  “God, your way is holy! What great God is there like our God?”(Ps 76, 14).  God offers us a participation in his holiness. He invites us, despite our failings and our sins, to never falter on the way. The only answer we can give is to move forward together on this pathway. The Gospel is our wealth, and if the Assumption is faithful to it, we will not have said our last word.  Therefore, the relevance of our congregation will remain intact.  The Kingdom awaits us; do not stay motionless. 

Fr. Benoît Grière, Superior General of the Augustinians of the Assumption

1) Title of a book by François Jullien, philosopher and sinologist, who wants to show that Christianity has useful riches for today's man and modern thought.