“Welcome-Protect-Promote-Integrate”: Four actions to promote peace.

Vocational Letters – January 2018

The yearning for peace and reconciliation, the desire for unity and the awareness of being part of one human family – feelings which grow and manifest themselves with force, particularly among young people – are for us, in the words of the 25th General Chapter, an interpellation from God for our vocation as missionary disciples of the Gospel (cf. MS11-13).

At the beginning of this new year, Pope Francis underlines once more the daunting reality of migrants in the world: “More than two hundred fifty million people and twenty two and a half are refugees.” The focus of attention becomes a call to responsibility and the political commitment of those who govern nations. On the one hand it is a call to put into action the feelings of our hearts before the anxiety of so many displaced people.

To follow Jesus the Missionary “to the end,” will have very concrete consequences in our lives. On the one hand, there was the path of Jesus – by handing over his body, he broke down the walls of hostility between people and offered peace. (cf. Eph 2:14) This becomes paradigmatic for our Congregation which recently celebrated the beatification of 109 missionaries who were martyred. These brothers sealed with their blood, becoming witnesses in offering their lives to the very end. On the other hand, in somewhat modest and everyday but no less extraordinary, is the action of God in our lives, which is grace and mercy, and calls us to be part of His people. By belonging to the people of God, this enables us to share the status as migrants with the displaced people of the world (cf. 1Pe 2:11).

Our status as believers places us within the promises of God; a situation in which Abraham left the land of his fathers. Moses forges a new society in the wilderness; the prophets envision a new city, open to all peoples. Mary expresses her fiat and the Word assumes our human condition to become the path which leads us to the Father, where our heart finds its definitive dwelling place.

From this condition as travelers, Pope Francis presents four fundamental verbs which are factors for peace… “WELCOME”-“PROTECT”-“PROMOTE” and “INTEGRATE.” Through these actions, we are invited to: (1) Break with the indifference of human conviviality. (2) Sharpen our eyes to contemplate the growing number of displaced persons; to discern the causes of such displacements and search for solutions or responsibilities for each individual. (3) Promote solidarity, brotherhood, the desire of goodness, truth, justice and the promise of peace. In all this, the young people of our communities have much to teach us.

Also in the small horizon of our communities, these four actions become vital. In the new configurations of communities, intergenerational and intercultural components, we are called to be a parable of communion, an eschatological sign, a word of evangelization in today’s world (cf. MS46). To transform therefore the four verbs in attitudes of life, allows us to transcend the mere cultural, national or geographical location to which we are accustomed and to venture to an ever more authentically evangelical communion.

Carlos Verga CMF