Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Spirituality: “The Lord Who Forms Us: The Hidden Life of Nazareth”

Saint Luke insists on the mystery that “the Child grew” (Lk 2:40), and he affirms this mystery again in the Acts of the Apostles: “the Word continued to spread and grow” (Acts 12:24; 19:20). We who began our apostolic journey [our active discipleship] years ago, are we still inhabited by the hope that filled our sails in the beginning? Are we convinced that the Word can still grow stronger and deeper within us? Do we still believe that the Lord has many more spiritual treasures to reveal to us in contemplation? Do we still have the fervent desire to grow day after day in service to the Lord? For example, by continually educating and renewing ourselves through a program of permanent formation?

We know from experience that, at this stage in our lives, temptations are no less numerous, that our original ideals have a tendency to wane: “Yet I hold this against you: you have lost the love you had at first” (Rev 2:4). Similarly, our memory of the “great thing the Lord has done for [us]” might get a little hazy. We are conscious of the combat that we must engage in to remain loyal in our service to Christ and in our belonging to his Church. Precisely for these reasons, contemplation of the hidden life is the place where we rediscover our first love, where we come in contact again with the source of salvation, with the love of Mary who conceived the Word, the love of Mary and Joseph who take care of him and form him in Bethlehem, in Nazareth, and in Egypt. What better way to replenish our soul than to become a simple disciple again, to become a little child who needs to be cared for and formed anew! . . . . Let us draw close to the Lord, in whose presence we are always disciples, always children.

Source: Pope Francis (Jorge Mario Bergoglio), In Him Alone is Our Hope: The Church According to the Heart of Pope Francis, pp. 62-63, adapted slightly.