“You did it to me” is the theme of the Spiritual Exercises held in Taipei, Taiwan last September 6-11, 2009. This theme is called “The Gospel of the Five Fingers”.
Organized by the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum” (One Heart) it was hosted by Fu Jen Catholic University (Population: 26,000).
Aims: formation of the hearts of charity workers in Asia and deepening of their faith.
Participants: over 400 persons from 29 Asian countries and 260 dioceses. Five Cardinals (including Card. Rosales), around 60 bishops (15 Filipinos), priests, religious brothers and sisters, lay. They are responsible for the Church’s “diakonia” (service). Charity given to the needy is given to Christ: “You did it to me”.
Spiritual exercises: daily masses, morning and evening prayers and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament with benediction; Stations of the Cross with meditation, meditated rosary (prepared by Mother Theresa of Calcutta), sacrament of reconciliation, discussion in groups (16 groups), reporting and open fora.
Bro. Yesudas, MC, former superior general of the Brothers Missionary of Charity, gave the conferences in lieu of Sr. Nirmala Joshi, MC, who was sick.
Jesus’ deeds are signs of his saving work. Exterior deeds can and should arouse faith.
He calls us to have a new heart. “I shall give you a new heart and put a new Spirit in you”. (Ez. 36:26).
Cultivate a sense of belonging to Jesus and believe him: Everyone who believes in him may not be lost” (Jh. 3:16)
This sense of belonging was revealed at the Wedding in Cana. Mary could request Jesus to do something about the problem – no more wine – and could tell the servants “Do whatever he tells you”, because of her intimate relationship to Jesus (Jh. 2: 1-11).
Relationship with others based on love – love even of one’s enemies (Lk. 6:27).
Jesus wants us to be compassionate as the “Father is compassionate” (Lk. 6:36). Peter showed this compassion when he raised a woman to life at Jaffa (Acts 6:36).
Jesus himself restored to life the son of the widow of Naim because he felt sorry for her whose son is her only means of support (Lk. 7: 13-16).
We are Children of God. “Everyone moved by the Spirit is a son of God. The Spirit you received is not the spirit of slaves bringing fear to your lives again; it is the Spirit of sons and makes us cry out ‘Abba, Father’…co-heirs with Christ (Rom. 8: 15-17).
Belonging to Christ and united with Christ we should look at life through the eyes of Jesus. This will lead us to change our life of mediocrity, marked by arrogance, minimalization, resentment and unkind words. As a result, we shall have a new heart, a new spirit, a new lifestyle – always aiming high.
Nathanael is an example of this new heart. Jesus said, “There is an Israelite who deserves the name (Israel – strong before God) incapable of deceit” (Jh. 1:47). Nathanael’s heart is open, sincere, honest. He desires to see Jesus, to be with Jesus experiencing Jesus’ presence.
Compassion for sinners. Zacchaeus desired to see Jesus. Jesus desired to see Zacchaeus and dine with him. This encounter resulted in Zacchaeus being converted. He decided to make restitution (Lk. 19: 1-10).
Compassion was also shown to the Samaritan woman whom Jesus met at the well in Samaria. Such encounter with Jesus resulted in the woman’s decision to leave her many “husbands” (Jh. 4: 7ff).
On the Cross Jesus “thirsted” for our souls. He thirsted for our holiness. We stand with Mary at the foot of the cross and listen to Christ’s anguish and feel his pain.
Only when we love him in return with love so pure and universal would his thirst be quenched.
And so, when we feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome strangers, clothe the naked, care for the sick and visit the prisoner could we hear Christ say “in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, YOU DID IT TO ME” (Mt. 25: 35-40).
And we will enter God’s Kingdom (Mt. 25:34).
Source: Communication from the Bishop (No. 546, 21 September 2009)