Anniversary of the death of EZIA FIORENTINO
March 19, 2016
The whole and its enemies
1. The commandment of the whole is a promise.
Against the modern suspicion that God is intrusive, overbearing, imposing commandments to show his claims, Jesus reveals that his mission is to offer relief to the tired and oppressed. The commandments of God are the promise of happy life; they are the manifestation of God’s mercy.
The “commandment of the whole” must therefore be welcomed and practiced with gratitude: God asks me my full heart, my whole mind, all my strength, because he wants me fully happy, fully saved.
The grace of God that fills heaven and earth offers itself to fill the lives of the God’s children.
The commandment of the whole is therefore not that heavy yoke that oppresses, which leaves no breath, as if it were a claim of service without time to rest, as if it were the opposition of a chain from which you can never free yourself.
The commandment of the whole is a promise: even if it seems to you that there is something or a lot of your life that is worthless, even if there is something about you that you do not like, even if there is in your behavior or in your story something you are ashamed of, even if you know that you are a sinner or a me-diocre man or disappointed by what you are or what has happened, everything, everything can be delive-red to God and be transfigured into love.
In Ezia’s reflections on Contemplation and action, we can be encouraged to see the solution of the dilem-ma (contemplation or action ?, moreover, one or the other?) Right in the “commandment of the whole”: the secret of holiness is not in one state of life, in the monastery or in the world, but in a total consecration (how much the church asks to the secular institutes that “all life understood has changed in apostolate” demands that it be entirely transformed into love and communion in the redeeming work , p 27).
2. Resistance to enemies.
On the path to the promised land, towards that practice of the commandment of the whole that is the way towards joy, the secret of happiness, we must take into account the enemy’s insidiousness and the struggle to resist.
Those who want to follow Jesus put into account misunderstandings, difficulties, hostilities, because they are part of Jesus’ experience, and Jesus didn’t promise that things would be easier for the disciples (they have persecuted me, they will persecute you too).
But the attacks of the enemy are not just pitfalls set by others, from the outside. The commandment of the whole is contested, above all, from within, and the battlefield is not the world but the heart, the mind, the forces.
The figure of Ezia and her testimony certainly encourages us by example and sustains us with prayer, because we are sure that we have not forgotten the Institute nor the individual missionaries. What,then, are the foreseeable enemies’ pitfalls lurking beneath the missionaries?
The feet, shod and ready to propagate the gospel of peace (Eph 6:15). The reading of the testimonies gathered in the volume of Acts for the 70th foundation (cf. pp. 87-121) gives the idea of such a simple and total delivery to the moving missions.
The temptation against the commandment of the whole serves the purpose of justifying that that season is over: the readiness to propagate the gospel of peace is the characteristic feature of youth. Now due to the advanced age, to health conditions, to the situation which we find ourselves in, it’s not possible anymore. The commandment of the whole instead represents the promise that even advanced age, even disease, even the current family and society situation are the appropriate time to propagate the gospel of peace. It is not the journey that characterizes the missionaries, but the fact that they are where they are sent. Perhaps today we are sent home, in a retirement home, in a city apartment.
You have hidden these things from wise and erudite people, and revealed them to little ones (MT 11.25). Jesus noted the impermeability to his message by the “lake towns” (Corazìn, Betsaida, Capernaum) and revealed another temptation against the commandment of the whole. There is an exercise of thought, a practice of knowledge which becomes an objection to Jesus’ revelation. Wisdom and doctrine feed presumption instead of openness towards truth. Perhaps it is even a commonplace that faith is the way of thinking of those who don’t reason. But the commandment of the whole promises instead that the whole mind can practice in a loving thought, in a savory wisdom that knows how to turn over all fields of human experience into a gaze inspired by God.
“We must definitely abandon ourselves in order to put ourselves irrevocably from Jesus Christ’s point of view, living only for Him, not caring and not worrying about what interests and touches him. …”
The first condition is to be in possession of that infinite treasure which is wisdom! As the diver can’t work underwater without the oxygen he receives from the outside, so the consecrated person can’t live or act like his Master, in the midst of the world, if he is not fixed in the truth: “Father, sanctify them in the truth your word is truth “(Jn 17.17). Here is the study, here is the formation through the word of God and docility to the known teaching of the Church! This conquest of wisdom, this knowledge of the things of God is of paramount importance if we do not want to weaken, befuddled in habit and materialize “(E. FIORENTINO, Contemplazione e azione, 29-30)
While remembering Ezia, the good received from her, her example of consecrated life, we ask for the grace to practice the commandment of the whole, to believe the promise, to persevere on the path of joy living the mission, seeking wisdom, dwelling totally in God .