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Souls of fire

Dearly beloved,

first of all a special thought and prayer for those who are going through difficult times personally, in the family or community.

As Christmas approaches, I propose that we allow ourselves to be accompanied by these three points from the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius:

“Properly speaking, the conversation is done as one friend speaks to another” (EESS 54).

“Consider the task of consoler which Christ our Lord performs, comparing it to the way in which friends are wont to console others” (EESS 224).

“Love consists in mutual communication, that is, in giving and communicating the lover to the beloved what he has, or what he has or can, and so in turn the beloved to the lover” (EESS 231).

One could probably detect an evolution in the experience of consolation: called to be friends of the Lord and in the Lord and progressively lovers of the Lord and in the Lord. This is where Jesus seems to lead us through his work as consoler. And perhaps we can find here the deepest sense of our commitment as spiritual companions, guides of the Exercises, people who in various ways support and promote the great variety of proposals of the CIS network.

May we all, individually and together, in the territories, or in spirituality centres, in associations or in temporary teams, in the family and at work, in ecclesial environments or along the road, be signs of consolation, friends, lovers. May this ‘Heart’ be expressed in everything we do: let us guard it and let it live in us and among us.

Mary, Mother of Jesus, made this journey, becoming friend of her Son and by grace new Eve, “our Lady”, lover of the new Adam, “our Lord”.

In this difficult and complicated time, in joy or in sorrow, in health or in sickness, in wealth or in poverty, let us feel profoundly and radically immersed in this vortex of love, embraced by Jesus and Mary who console us and make us feel the beauty of the future that we are already living and that awaits us. And which impels us to say: “Take, Lord…” (EESS 234).

With all my esteem, friendship and love in the Lord!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Paolo Monaco SJ

A small gift: Thrown to infinity