Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Spirituality of the TAU

From the speech, BELONGING TO THE SFO
By: The late Emanuela De Nunzio SFO, former General Minister of the SFO,
And consultor of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

The external sign of belonging/identity of the Secular Franciscan is the TAU … St. Francis highly regarded and honored this sign, the symbol of conversion…The exterior sign of the TAU gives testimony which by grace we connect ourselves to the "spirituality of the cross". We reread Rule n. 10: “...Let them also follow the poor and crucified Christ, witness to Him even in difficulties and persecutions." Let us reread also art. 10 of the General Constitutions: the Cross is “the ‘book’ in which the brothers and sisters, in imitation of Francis, learn the purpose and the way of living, loving, and suffering.” When we were working on updating the Constitutions, the request came in from a national Fraternity to abolish or to change this article because it was too pessimistic. What is more optimistic than to give to our suffering an eternal and universal value?

He who does not accept the mystery of the cross will never find peace, nor will he find any answer to the eternal questions of man about the meaning of suffering, of illness, of death, of the uncertainty of existence. He will never understand the great love that is hidden in the wounds of the Cross. He will never know how to put himself in the wounds of His sacred side, of the hands and feet of Christ with the confession of Thomas: “my Lord and my God”; or with the discovery of Paul: “(Christ) loved me first and he gave himself for me”, or with the invocation of Francis: “that I may die for the love of your love, like you have deigned to die for the love of my love”. There is no other explanation for suffering and pain if not on the horizon of love.

In the homily for the canonization of St. Padre Pio of Pietralcina (June 16, 2002), John Paul II affirmed that our times have a need to “rediscover the spirituality of the cross in order to re-open the heart of hope.” Hope in a world in which “every tear will be dried”, but also the hope of improving the human condition in this world, making it more just and evangelical through the practice of Christian virtue and through the works of mercy.

Pax et bonum

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