Message to the Passionist Family on the Feast of St Paul of the Cross
19 October 2013
Dear Brothers, Sisters and Friends in the Passionist Family,
Happy Feast Day!
I write to let you know that you are very much remembered in my thoughts and prayers as we celebrate the feast of our Father and Founder, St Paul of the Cross. In celebrating this feast, we thank God for the gift of Paul Danei, who was inspired to experience and appreciate God’s merciful love for him and for all humanity as he contemplated the Cross and Passion of Jesus. Today, we in the Passionist Family, continue to draw our inspiration from Paul of the Cross, as we profess to keep alive and promote the Memory of the Passion of Jesus as “the greatest and most overwhelming work of God’s love”. This translates itself in our mission “to preach the Gospel of the Passion by our life and apostolate” (Const. #2), and in our ministry of prayer and reconciliation.
In this context, I would like to share with you the following reflection by Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI on St Paul the Apostle’s theology of the Cross:
St. Paul offered an admirable synthesis of the theology of the cross in the Second Letter to the Corinthians (5:14-21), where everything is contained in two fundamental affirmations: On one hand, Christ, whom God has treated as sin on our behalf (verse 21), has died for us (verse 14); on the other hand, God has reconciled us with himself, not attributing to us our sins (verses 18-20). By this “ministry of reconciliation” all slavery has been purchased (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23). Here it is seen how all of this is relevant for our lives. We also should enter into this “ministry of reconciliation,” which always implies renouncing one’s own superiority and choosing the foolishness of love. St. Paul has renounced his own life, giving himself totally for the ministry of reconciliation, of the cross that is salvation for all of us. And this is what we should also know how to do: We can find our strength precisely in the humility of love and our wisdom in the weakness of renunciation to thus enter into the strength of God. We should build our lives on this true wisdom: To not live for ourselves, but to live in the faith in this God, about whom all of us can say: “He loved me and gave himself up for me.”
Let us pray for the grace to bear witness to God’s merciful love and be agents of reconciliation and peace in our communities, our families, and our society.
Through the intercession of St Paul of the Cross, may our Congregation be blessed with many companions – both religious and lay – who will draw inspiration and lead others to find life and hope in the Passion of Jesus.
“May the Passion of Jesus be always in our hearts.”
Fr. Joachim Rego CP
Passionist Superior General