Dearest Brothers and Sisters of the Calabrian Family,
Peace, love and joy of the Lord Jesus Christ be always in your hearts.
He comes to bring us his mercy. The solemnity of Christmas is a providential occasion to exchange a loving greeting of Merry and Holy Christmas.
The Nativity of Jesus is the expression of the infinite love of God towards man; indeed in the incarnation of Jesus, God offers us the joy of salvation and his infinite mercy.
This is the event that touches our lives and our hearts and it has to penetrate all the places where man lives in his daily life.
God reveals himself in the smallness and tenderness of a Child, communicating his joy and opening our hearts to his salvation.
Some days ago Pope Francis opened the Holy Door and began the Year of the Jubilee, the extraordinary Year of Mercy. By opening the Holy Door the Church reminds us the great love by which God reveals Him to mankind.
Mercy is one of the attributes of God the Father that, more than others, tells us of his identity because “God is merciful”...
The mystery of Christmas reminds us the joy of Incarnation and the Birth of Jesus who comes among us to show us the merciful face of the Father.
“And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us”. His presence fills the world and our hearts of his true joy, of the tenderness and love of the Father. This event is made visible in the world and in our life in the measure in which we meet him, and his presence transforms our lives, our relationships, our daily work with its labour and joy.
It is a meeting that transforms and changes our life.
Christmas and the Holy Year must keep alive in us the desire of discovering the numerous signs of the tenderness that God offers to the whole world, and above all to those who suffer abandonment, solitude, and various kinds of disease, without hope of being forgiven and loved by the Father.
It must be time in which we feel strongly the joy to have been found again by Jesus who, like the Good Shepherd, came in search of us because we were lost, thus making us able to perceive the warm of his love when he carries us on his shoulders towards the House of the Father. It is a profitable time to make experience of the mercy, to be touched and transformed by the Lord Jesus, and then becoming ourselves merciful like the Father. This is time to heal the wounds, to meet tirelessly those who are waiting to see and to touch concretely the signs of the closeness of God the Father and his tenderness.
The event of Jesus, his incarnation and his birth is the revelation of the attitude by which God realizes his relationship with man, how he looks at and loves us. The first who made his pilgrimage towards us was the same God, who gave us his love in Christ.
The openness of our heart to others is the consequence of the fact that we were touched ourselves by the love of God. Now we can do the experience to open our heart to those who live in the different peripheries of human existence. How many situations of precariousness and suffering in the today’s world! How many wounds are impressed in the flesh of many who have no more voice because their cry trailed off due to the indifference. How many wounds of the difficult situations of broken families! How many wounds of people who, “according to the prejudices”, are far from the Church! How many wound caused by violence, marginalization and poverty!
On this Christmas and in this Jubilee once more the Opera is called to heal these wounds, to relieve them with the oil of consolation, to wrap them with mercy and to cure them with care and solidarity. Let us open our eyes to look at the diseases of the world, the wounds of many brothers and sisters deprived of their dignity; let us feel called to hear their cry for help. Fr. Calabria was a living Gospel and was able to meet the several situations of his time; today, following his example, we should walk the same path.
We have the daily opportunity to cross “some holy doors” where we can meet the mercy of God and offer our love. Whenever we enter the existential door of the other in order to make a work of charity, we obtain mercy from the Father. Let ourselves be touched with the same compassion that Jesus has had for man and “take care” of one another. Let us try in this Christmas, and particularly in this year, to live the dimension of the extraordinary charity as Fr. Calabria taught us.
Having a merciful and steadfast heart, which knows its own poverties and takes care of the others, is one of the indispensible conditions to enter the logic of the Love of God’s Kingdom. Let us recognise ourselves as poor with the poor. We must put aside many things, empty and lower ourselves in order to share our life with the most destitute persons. This is the true meaning of Christmas and of the Year of Mercy
May the words of Fr. Calabria encourage us to live properly this time of extraordinary grace: “From the depth of my heart I send you my fervent greetings: Marry Christmas and Happy New and Holy Year, with a burning peace and love to the Lord who has called us to be his collaborator in the service to the souls” (17-12-1949). “The Holy Year we are celebrating is a new and strong stimulus to make us holy, to renew us in the pure and genuine spirit of the Gospel... So that it may be an year of great pardon, let us sanctify ourselves, let us put on the spirit of Christ, so as to be ministers of pardon and peace among our brothers and sisters” (29-1-1950).
I wish a Marry and Holy Christmas to all. May the Birth of Jesus bring the deep joy of his love and mercy in our hearts so that we can bring it to the heart of mankind in our daily life and mission.
May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy, and St. John Calabria intercede for us in our extraordinary journey of grace.
My fraternal love to you. God bless all of you. I remember you in my prayer and ask you the charity of your prayers for me.
With fraternal affection,
Fr. Miguel Tofful