Fra Ugo-Maria Ginex
Eremo Santa Maria – St. Mary’s Hermitage
My Dearest Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Laudetur Iesus Christus Et Maria Immaculata – in saecula saeculorum! Amen
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued support, prayers not only for St. Mary’s Hermitage and our Order (The Hermits of Saint Bruno), but also the prayers I received during my recent hospitalisation. I in turn, always pray for those who never pray; I pray for those who have done you wrong; I pray for those who sin every hour of their lives; I pray for all sorts and conditions of men, no matter what their colour, no matter their orientation, no matter what their beliefs; I pray that God may remove all doubts and scepticism from the world, I pray that mankind may one day soon recognise each other as brothers and sisters regardless of any differences whatsoever and open all human eyes to the way of faith and salvation. I pray all day for so many things, nothing for myself but for all of humanity, suffice to say, seeking God in the secret of our hearts through prayer are the main duties of the Hermit of Saint Bruno and “I pray for You all.”
We should all take this opportunity to shout with joy “Christ is Alive”. His hand guides the wonderful awakening of nature to spring and fills our hearts with joy. So that you may continue to grow in the joy and grace of our Lord. Christ is our Easter, Easter is Christ himself who in his passion-death-resurrection leads to fulfilment of Love, obeying the Father until the death of the cross and giving himself totally to men until the last drop of blood. By communicating his Spirit to us, Jesus makes us partakers of his Easter: he also offers us the opportunity to obey the Father and to love us as brothers.
The Risen One accompanies every person and assures them: “I am the way that leads to the Truth stronger than the lie. I am life beyond death. They are the most seductive love of selfishness. I am with you at all times, as a faithful Friend. You can count on my help, especially in the dark hours of your via crucis that I know well. A little faith is enough to recognise me near you, perhaps in the shoes of a poor person.”
The Risen One wants to bring everyone to the fullness of His joy with that certain and totally gratuitous Word that he addressed to the thief: “Today you will be with me in Paradise”. Easter is the Feast of Paradise which, thanks to Him, awaits us, experiencing its beauty immediately in the “Easters” that we celebrate every year, every Sunday, every day.
The true hope is this: that our whole existence be an Easter, that every moment is lived in the light of Easter. If you believe that Christ is risen, He is with you, you too are risen, you are already in the Easter that has no end, you are in Heaven.
It might seem that this message does not take into account the problems, the difficulties, the suffering of humanity today, the economic recession. In truth, Easter brings us back to that Love that brought Jesus to take charge of all our miseries.
He comes to our rescue either by freeing us from the evils that sadden us, or by giving us the strength to carry our cross with love.
The Spirit of the Crucified and Risen Christ for Love, while filling us with joy and peace, urges us to live a real and true fraternity that helps us to face the challenges of today positively. The joy of Easter is not true without the Risen One and without the “resurrection” of man, especially the poor, the young, the unemployed, the desperate, the marginalised.
Jesus’ Passover is offered to all, beginning with the crucified men who most share the passion-death of Jesus.
“Mary, a humble woman, immersed like no one in the Easter of Jesus, grant us to look forward to the beauty of this feast as much as possible and enjoy it fully in heaven. Everyone.”
“Why seek you the living with the dead? He is not here, but is risen” (Luke 24:5-6). This announcement, sounded on Easter morning at the tomb of Jesus carved into the rock, reaches us today and proposes to this assembly the essential reason for our hope: “Christ is risen! He is truly risen!” Jesus’ Easter “gave joy to the whole world”: his Death and Resurrection – says the Liturgy – “marks the defeat of the ancient adversary and the stupendous event of our redemption.” On this day, “made by the Lord,” the song of Alleluia accompanies the Easter Sequence: “Death and life have faced each other in a prodigious duel. The Lord of life was dead: now, alive, triumphing”.
Dearest Sisters and brothers, the door of faith has the Paschal Mystery as its architrave, the heart and center of the entire history of salvation. Jesus, descended into the night of death, comes out of the tomb: the only “emergency exit” for all humanity, an inexhaustible “fountain of light” for the whole world. No Evangelist could fix the moment when Jesus comes out of the tomb: this moment remains mysterious, it goes beyond the reach of our knowledge, like a dazzling light. The event of the Resurrection as such is recorded by the jolt of a great earthquake (cf. Matthew 28:2): only the earth has been able to “feel” what has remained veiled to the eye. The Easter narratives begin when, at the dawn of the day after the Sabbath, the women go to the tomb and find it open and empty.
“And on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalen cometh early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre; and she saw the stone taken away from the sepulchre.” (John 20:1). The apostles sleep, annihilated by disappointment and fear; but she gets up that it is still night, not even waiting for the light to make the alleys of Jerusalem safer. He has only one thought in mind: going to the grave. Her pain overcomes and erases all reasonableness and convenience: like a woman who goes to cry on the grave of her lost love or a mother who cannot break away from the tombstone bearing the name of her child. Chasing the steps of the Magdalene, in the uncertain glow of a dawn, it seems to hear the gasping sound. Then he cries, petrified; she does not even startle when he who seems to her the guardian of the garden asks her: “Woman, why weepest thou?” (John 20:13). And yet, the first announcement of the Easter joy is entrusted to her, who with her heart in her mouth will say to the disciples: “I have seen the Lord, and these things he said to me.” (John 20:18). Who knows if he will have embraced him or fallen on his knees in front of him? He certainly holds Jesus and no longer wants to leave him if he has to say to her: “Do not touch me” (John 20:17). “Do not hold me back – the Lord seems to say -, I must flood the earth with great splendour. Don’t hold me, I must irrigate the hearts of the disciples, anxious for light, with the living water of the Easter joy.”
Dear Sisters and Brothers, this year we can each experience the fullness of Easter joy without confining it to individual and private space, without holding it for ourselves. Pope Francis, in the catechesis held during his first general audience, reminded us that “following Jesus means learning to go out of ourselves (…), from a way of living the tired and habitual faith, from the temptation to close oneself in their own schemes that end up closing the horizon of God’s creative action.” We cannot remain silent that the Word of God, having come out of the bosom of the Father to put his tent among us, has come out of the womb of the earth to give us life again. “if thou confess with thy mouth:” Jesus is the Lord! “believe in thy heart that God hath raised him up from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For, with the heart, we believe unto justice; but, with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10). Faith in Christ, crucified and risen, is a personal act and, inseparably, an ecclesial act, a “rebirth from above”, which urges us to “walk together” towards the goal of our hope.
“If you be risen with Christ, seek the things that are above; where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God: Mind the things that are above, not the things that are upon the earth.” (Colossians 3:1-2). At first glance, in reading this Pauline text, it might seem that the Apostle invites us to forget about the realities of this world. To grasp the true meaning of these statements it is enough not to separate them from the context. The Apostle specifies what he means by listing, first of all, the “things of the earth” which must be stripped to put on Christ. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, lust, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is the service of idols.” (Colossians 3:5) As was explicit in indicating the realities from which to look at, with equal clarity Paul suggests which are the goods of heaven to be sought and tasted. “Put ye on therefore, as the elect of God, holy, and beloved, the bowels of mercy, benignity, humility, modesty, patience: Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if any have a complaint against another: even as the Lord hath forgiven you, so do you also. But above all these things have charity, which is the bond of perfection.” (Colossians 3:12-14). Therefore, St. Paul is far from inviting us to escape from the world, but urges us to “evaluate with wisdom the goods of the earth in the continuous search for the goods of heaven.”
Dear Sisters and Brothers, aware of being citizens of another “city”, where our true “homeland” is found, let us act as new men in the heart of the “earthly city”, marked by the luminous shadow of the cross. “Jesus did not invent the cross, he also found it on his path like every man. The novelty that He invented was to put a seed of love on the cross. Thus the cross has become the road to life”. This reflection — taken from the writings of His Eminence Carlo Maria Cardinal Martini — reminds us that the cross of Christ, the fulcrum of the Paschal Mystery, is the fixed point, the sure point of support for the world — “Stat Crux dum volvitur orbis – The Cross is steady while the world is turning”, — the lever that overturned the course of history toward the side of good. May the Easter light open the “tombs” of our hearts, sealed by sadness, and make them confident and attentive to the surprises of God’s love.