Father Alejandro Moral has sent to the Augustinian religious of the world through the General Secretariat his reflection at the beginning of Holy Week
“Christ ‘rose’… and was exalted so that we would not be abandoned in the abyss, but would be exalted with him in the resurrection of the dead; we who have been raised up will from now on live by faith and by the confession of his name” (S. Augustine, Serm 23/A, 3).
The Easter celebration is drawing near. Lent has surely helped us live our faith more deeply. Every year we are given this wonderful opportunity to walk with the Gospel in hand to accompany Jesus and relive the last days of his life. Having a new opportunity is a gift. In everyday life this is not the case, and we are surrounded by situations that do not give us opportunities, since the end is marked by circumstances. Let us remember those who suffer the war without the opportunity of other exits, of the millions of people who are forced to abandon their lands (apart from the mafias that move and deceive other human beings, the most fragile), with the risks and hardships that this entails, etc. Having the opportunity to unite more deeply with Jesus is a true gift. The possibility of retracing the road to Easter for another year, going through the different stages that the Gospel marks out for us, helps us to become more aware of our vocation as human beings, believers and religious.
I would like us to live this Holy Week with Jesus in the key of compassion and love. To Jesus of Nazareth “his compassion is reflected in his love” and led him to the cross. This is how we have seen it in the evangelical passages that we have proclaimed throughout Lent. Compassion and love can be expressed with different words and symbols, and they will all help us internalize that Life that comes to us from God. Jesus tells us that the merciful will be “blessed”, those who suffer for being compassionate. Now the Church also tells us that compassion and love are lived and transmitted in the key of synodality (it is the difficult task of sharing together, so typical of our charism as Augustinians), in “giving” to those who are hungry or thirsty. That is why someone says that “we are what we give and if we give compassion and love, we are the same, that is, we are compassion and love.”
This journey that comes from Ash Wednesday will now culminate in the celebration of the Pascual Triduum. This week is special for us. It is an intense and joyous week, with its hours of pain, sadness, anguish, and death. In it we will contemplate the greatness of God who accepted in his Son all this for us. The entire journey leads us to understand that it is an immense act of God’s love addressed to each one of us.
May nothing keep us from contemplating the love of God in his Son Jesus who dies and rises for each one of us!
Contemplation helps us to have a loving knowledge that unifies and unites the existence of the one who contemplates and of what is contemplated and that, consequently, qualitatively transforms the relationship. Contemplating the compassion, mercy and love of God and feeling reborn in that wonderful compassion and new existence that God gives us in the risen Jesus, leads us to a new way of existence. We contemplate all the love that comes from Jesus in the Paschal Triduum, and it enters our interior as nourishment and a new meaning for our lives.
Our path leads us to Easter. As Saint Paul says, “if we die with him, we will also live with him”. The Resurrection of Jesus is the confirmation that He is here with us. His resurrection is not the return to life of another deceased. His resurrection, which transcends space and time, helps us to be “new creatures”, capable of overcoming fears and receiving the Peace of the Risen One.
We have been loved and now we can love in the image and likeness of Jesus. Now love is the center of our lives. It drives us in our actions and in our being. We will live Easter developing our humanity. Risen Jesus fills our being. We will be able to live his peace to be transmitters of peace. The Risen One helps us to understand that we are made in the image of the Trinity and that as Augustinians our vocation helps us to live by sharing our being. Fraternity and openness to the other, their friendship, makes us more human and more divine.