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Lenten Message of the Casante 2020

“Now is the favourable time; this is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor. 6:2)

Dear brothers and sisters of the Calabrian Family,

Peace, love and joy of the Lord always remain in our hearts!

Today we begin the Lenten journey, a time of preparation for Easter. Lent is the "favourable moment" that the Church offers us in every liturgical year. First of all, it is a profound preparation for Easter solemnities, the time in which God gives his faithful the opportunity to prepare with joy, purified in spirit, for the celebration of Easter, to draw on the mysteries of redemption, in the fullness of communion. It is also the favourable time for a new beginning, the road that leads to a safe destination, to an embrace of love: the Easter of Resurrection.

We, members of the Calabrian Family, enter today in this "favourable time" with the very particular motivation of the process and the involvement of all towards the XII General Chapter of the Poor Servants of Divine Providence. It wants to be a time of prayer, of penance and concrete charity, which leads us to a personal inner purification and of the whole Work, which is the Work of God.

With this letter of mine, I would like to motivate all of us to three concrete, tangible gestures of great spiritual richness which, from the beginning in the tradition of the Church, correspond to the Lenten journey: prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

I felt the inspiration to live this Lent in close connection with the path of the XII General Chapter, and for this reason I invite all the members of the Calabrian Family to join in a sincere spiritual journey of purification and charity, so that the Holy Spirit may build in us that communion which God wants to realize through the favourable time of grace and salvation that it offers us.

Accepting the grace of the celebration of the Chapter, which is already extraordinary in itself, and which is enriched with the opportunity to meet Pope Francis on 9 May in Rome, in an audience completely dedicated to us, I propose to live in this way the three significant attitudes of the Lenten period:

Intense prayer, as a path of personal, community and family purification. Pray personally, in communities, in families and in our activities, with a central attention to the listening and meditating the Word of God, so that the Holy Spirit may activate communion in us and arouse a generous response to the gift of the Word with gestures of sacrifice and of reciprocal charity.

Fasting, by making small sacrifices and renunciations, which commit us personally, in community, in families and in our activities to have an expression of attention towards the poorest and most needy. We will deliver the material fruit of our renunciations, in monetary value, to our Delegations.

Charity: on the occasion of the meeting with Pope Francis, as a sign of sharing of the Calabrian Family, we will hand over to him, who has a particular sensitivity towards the poor, the fruit of our sacrifices, in a gesture of communion with him and with all poor in the world. The Pope will know how and where to allocate the fruit of our fasting and sacrifice in favour of the suffering.

"Now is the favourable time." These gestures that I propose are deeply spiritual and deeply human: they create a spiritual harmony and relationships of communion between us and with the Pastor of the Universal Church, who shows a particular benevolence towards our Calabrian Family, welcoming us all together, gathered from different parts of the world , in a very special moment of the Opera.

This is a unique and favourable moment, granted by the Provident love of the Father, who never abandons us and looks at us with eyes of fondness. I think how much Don Calabria would rejoice in significant moments like these.

Great grace and great responsibility! Concluding my letter, which I would like that it is welcomed and circulated in every reality where the Opera is present in the world, I invite you to be promoters of this very significant Lenten initiative, which will help us spiritually in the preparation of the Chapter and will have a visible consequence of charity and solidarity towards the poor.

We welcome the fatherly invitation that Don Calabria gives us through these words, pronounced in Lent of 1946: "We are in Holy Season of Lent: truly acceptable time, these are days of well being for us ... We live in a way, dear ones, that our conduct, our sacrifices, our prayers on these days be a counterweight on the scales of God to attract His divine mercy; without saying that in this way we will prepare ourselves worthily for the utmost Christian solemnity, the Easter of Resurrection ”[1].

I bring you all in my heart and I wish you a good Lenten journey, a truly favourable time for a transformation of the heart that makes us live as risen people, in fraternal communion.

I remember you in my prayer and request you to pray for me.

[1] Don Calabria, Lettera ai Religiosi XLVIII, Quaresima 1946.


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