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https://archden.org/religious_order/missionaries-of-charity-m-c/#.XNL7Mo4zbIX

https://archden.org/religious_order/missionaries-of-charity-m-c/#.XNL7Mo4zbIX

https://archden.org/religious_order/missionaries-of-charity-m-c/#.XNL7Mo4zbIX

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Being a new creation (Gal 6,15)

10 May 2019

22nd April 2019: Genoa Airport, 1.40 pm. The person in charge of checking the documents of the passengers arriving from the flight coming from Tirana, having viewed my identity card, asked me with a smile: “Vacation?” and I : “To be honest, I’m a religious and I’ve been in Albania for an apostolic experience”. Leaving aside the fact that I would have branded as science fiction a similar dialogue with me as the protagonist until a few years ago, I would like to share with you something about the period I spent in the land of the Eagles.

One of the most beautiful memories is the meeting with the Missionaries of Charity, the female religious institute founded by Mother Teresa. During the time I spent in Tirana and Scutari, I did service more than once in their residences. What characterises their charisma is the commitment to serve “the poorest of the poor” and I can assure you that they embody this ideal perfectly. In the structures they manage, they welcome and house in a stable manner people born with serious physical and/or mental disabilities and who are rejected by their parents because of this, as well as several elderly who for reasons of age are no longer self-sufficient and who, without the help of the family, no longer receive any assistance. Every day they provide everything that is necessary to ensure them a dignified life.

But what amazed me was not what they do! What left me astounded me was their angelic appearance. Although they lead a very austere life, characterised by numerous deprivations and a rhythm of work that is difficult to sustain, their face is always radiant, a mask of peace and joy, stuff that would make a Buddhist monk envious. They are very kind and welcoming with guests, always gentle and patient with the people they care of. They are also capable of humour and irony. By spending time in their residences you understand concretely what Paul was talking about when he said that what matters is being “a new creation” (Gal 6:15). Speaking with them, one is then struck by hearing them say that service to the poor, their main occupation, is not the center of their life and that all their commitment originates and takes meaning from a relationship with Jesus, which transforms us and makes us more and more like Him.

This meeting confirmed me in the certainty that serving others and prayer give that fullness to which we aspire deeply and that other recipes are not able to guarantee us. Following the Lord can sometimes seem depersonalizing, but it is precisely in the decentralisation of ourselves and in the death of our egoism and our narcissism that we find what we really desire.

Travel notes

by Christian Lefta

On 24 May, the Society of Jesus in Italy celebrates the feast of ‘Our Lady of the Road’, a devotion so dear to Father Ignatius in his Roman years. In general, the image of the pilgrim has always given me a strange ‘spiritual joy’. Needless to say, for the Jesuits, ‘the pilgrim’ – par excellence – is Ignatius himself.

 

A few weeks ago, in the midst of a study time on Ignatian sources in the Cueva de Manresa, with the second-year novices from Spain and Portugal we retraced, actually backwards, the path Ignatius took from the sanctuary of Montserrat to the town where he would receive the most important spiritual illuminations of his life, Manresa. Walking towards Montserrat, I was thinking back to Ignatius’ journey, the physical one but above all the inner one of the thoughts he carried inside, the questions about the future, the remorse for a rather restless past.

 

Now, that I am here in Genoa, ‘in the middle of the road’ of everyday life, every now and then I find myself thinking back to that road I took, with gratitude and great joy, because I feel that that road was not just a ‘road’ but was and continues to be a recapitulation and an anticipation, in mystery, of every road travelled so far and of all the road to come.

 

 

XXIX
Caminante, son tus huellas
el camino, y nada más;
caminante, no hay camino:
se hace camino al andar.
Al andar se hace camino,
y al volver la vista atrás
se ve la senda que nunca
se ha de volver a pisar.
Caminante, no hay camino,
sino estelas en la mar.

(A. Machado)

Christian Lefta

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