Friday, March 20, 2020

Our Task

Our richness, then, is the poverty of having nothing, no power other than that of begging with faith. And this is a charism that are given not for ourselves alone, but to be able to bring to fulfillment the mission of the Son who is the salvation of the world...The need to safeguard or recover one’s health, which all feel in this moment, perhaps with anguish, is also a need for salvation, for the salvation that keeps our life from seeming meaningless, buffeted by waves without a goal, without the encounter with Love that is given to us in every instant to reach and eternally live with Him.

This awareness of our primary task of prayer for all must make us universally responsible for the faith we have, and the liturgical prayer with which the Church entrusts us. In this moment in which it is imposed upon the greater part of the faithful to renounce the communal Eucharist that gathers them into churches, how much should we feel responsible for the Masses that we can continue to celebrate in our monasteries, and for the prayer of the Divine Office that continues to gather us in choir! We certainly do not have this privilege because we are better than others. Perhaps it is given to us precisely because we are not, and this makes our begging more humble, poorer, more effective before the good Father of all. We should be more aware than ever that none of our prayers and liturgies are to be lived without feeling ourselves united to the whole Body of Christ that is the Church, the community of all the baptized reaching out to embrace all of mankind.

Each evening, in all Cistercian monasteries in the world, we enter the night by singing the Salve Regina. We must do this also with a thought toward the darkness that often shrouds mankind, filling it with the fear of being lost in it. In the Salve Regina we ask that, over the whole “valley of tears” of the world, and over all the “exiled children of Eve,” there shine the sweet and consoling light of the “merciful eyes” of the Queen and Mother of Mercy, so that, in every circumstance, in every night and peril, the gaze of Mary will show us Jesus, show us that Jesus is present, that he comforts us, that he heals us and saves us. 

Photograph by Brother Brian. Excerpts from a recent letter of Fr. Mauro-Giuseppe Lepori, O.Cist.