CHRISTMAS GREETINGS 2009
IVY OR WEED?
Dear Confreres, Sisters and Friends of the Orionine Family,
I am writing these good wishes in the chapel of our seminary of Anyama, in the Ivory Coast, during my stay on this soil of Africa, which Benedict XVI has defined as “the spiritual lung of the world of today”, because of it exuberant vitality and, for the most part, uncontaminated by destructive secularism.
This morning I had a walk with a confrere along a path in the bush. Weeds were hindering the passage of people walking. Then my eyes followed an ivy plant climbing luxuriantly up the trunk of a tree. A question linked the two images: ivy or weed?
Ivy or weed? Both look for the life and growth which they do not have in themselves. Neither of them is self-sufficient. With the same instinct for life the weed goes downward to the earth, while the ivy goes upward to the tree.
Ivy or weed? The weed finds easily and immediately sustenance from the earth. The ivy climbs with difficulty, always up higher, and nourishes itself from the evergreen life of the tree.
Ivy or weed? All human life is fragile and in search of a source of strength outside itself.
In our desire for life – for which the African peoples have such exuberance and joy – many of us have had the grace to be able to find a tree to attach ourselves to, often with desperate hope, seeking life from it.
Yes, I mean the Tree of life of the Garden of Eden, the good olive tree onto which we have been grafted, the vine of which we are the branches, the cross from which life flourishes continuously.
It is the Christmas Tree planted amongst us so that we may become like him.
It is Jesus, the Son of God made man, from which all of us have grace on grace, life in abundance. “To stay with Jesus means to stay with the tree of life. He is in fact a tree of life for whoever clings to him” (St. Augustine).
It is the Paschal Candle around which our faith entwines in a confident journey towards the heights. “Go before me column of light, tree of life, our only hope: tell me how much Jesus loves me” (Don Orione).
A Happy Christmas and Blessed New Year 2010, dear Sons of Divine Providence and Little Missionary Sisters of Charity. Let us rediscover that we are made for God and holiness (esse ad Deum, ad sanctitatem). “May Everything reveal in us – exhorts Don Orione – purity and holiness of life, so that the world should have to say in astonishment: these are real men of God”.
May my Happy Christmas and New Year wishes reach You who live in or frequent our houses, schools, parishes and missions, in need of food, health, dignity and faith: forgive our failings, bless the Lord, pray for those who do good to you.
Dear Friends and Benefactors of the Little Work of Divine Providence “with gratitude I pray for you, who are instruments of Divine Providence, and for your families”.
Together with Don Orione let us all renew generous and good thoughts.
“Enable us, Oh Lord, to follow the right path, in your sight, always in obedience to your Church, with humility, simplicity and joy. Oh! Sweet Jesus, loving Jesus, we want to love you and serve you with great charity and holy comfort, always happy, and with holy hope, loving and living the humble and poor things that you have taught us, Oh Jesus, with your birth, with your life and with your death. Do good always, do it to everyone, Oh Jesus, praising God always”.
To everyone, in the name of Don Orione, I wish a
Fr. Flavio Peloso FDP