WOMEN LIKE RINGING BELLS.
how nice it is to hear the sound of the bells when you arrive in a city! How nice it is to perceive the echo of a woman when she has been fully a woman in her life!
Three days ago, Anita died: a lay woman, wife, mother, teacher and missionary. I met her many years ago when she married her husband, a young member of our missionary groups. All her life she showed great femininity in her dedication, full of delicacy, joy and generosity. She was nearly 50 years old. Surrounded by the love of her family, after fighting for a long time against an illness, she left for the Father's House. Those of us who believe in eternal life are sure that her “echo” will continue to be very fruitful. With these words ends the video tribute that the community of the children's home in which she missioned, “Our Lady of Heaven,” made her: "we are mourning but we touch Heaven because there is a new Star."
We, dear friends, are called to be like ringing bells announcing the good news of Jesus' salvation. With our intuition, peculiar sensitivity, expressive capacity and interior unity, we must exercise the diakonia of truth and charity to “resonate” the tenderness of God's love. And if the echo of the Word of God and the teachings of the Church are perceived around us, then we are evangelisers, catechists.
Today, the Church offers us a new mean to nourish ourselves in that diakonia of truth and charity. This is the Directory for Catechesis (DC), published by the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, applying the pontifical magisterium of the Evangelii Gaudium. It is intended not only for catechists and educators but also for all members of associations like ours, for its “great evangelizing capacity” that makes us “Church’s richness,” provided that we take care of ecclesial training and communion (Cf. DC, 305 et seq.).
This time of confinement and mutual protection, imposed upon us by Covid-19, may be beneficial to deepening this new link in our training process. The text recommends that lay organisations “offer a catechesis that supports vital adherence to the person of Christ, the capacity for evangelical discernment in complex situations, availability to dialogue with all, and a moral rectitude that avoids the dissociation between faith and life, between ecclesial belonging and commitment to the world” (DC, 391).
And it gives us important criteria such as that referring to gender, an orientation that “puts into question the revealed: «male and female he created them» (Genesis 1:27). According to such position, gender identity would no longer be an original information that the person must accept and fill with meaning, but rather a social construction that is decided autonomously, completely unrelated to biological sex. (...) The Church (...) does not judge people, but invites to always accompany them, whatever their situation. It is aware, however, from a faith perspective, that sexuality is not only a physical fact, but a personal reality, a value entrusted to the responsibility of the person. In this way, sexual identity and existential experience must be a response to the original call of God” (DC, 377).
Please allow me to recommend you the Directory, to make even more fruitful the personal and community evangelising task that, by the grace of God, you are already carrying out. I offer you some keys for reading and reflection.
Three basic concepts run through the chapters: testimony to grow the Church not by proselytising but by attraction; mercy to make the proclamation of the Message reliable; and dialogue to respect freedom at the behest of love, without excluding anyone. We must accompany the discernment and freedom of others with humility and respect. An attempt is made to free catechesis from pursuing the reception of a sacrament as its sole objective, but rather to make it seek to better understand insertion in the mystery of Christ and, progressively, in the ecclesial community.
Catechesis must make the announcement of Easter continually resonate in the heart of each person, so that their life is transformed (DC, 55). Special attention should be paid to the imprisoned, people with disabilities, immigrants, the elderly, families, adults, and not be restricted to children and young people. Evangelical poverty must be taught, promoting fraternity and encouraging to react to situations of misery and injustice, to respond with a “culture of inclusion” that wins the “culture of waste,” focusing on acceptance, trust and solidarity with “a concrete and direct commitment, with tangible signs of care for the poor and marginalised” (DC, 388).
And since “integral ecology” is part of the Christian life, evangelisation and catechesis must encourage a deep “ecological conversion” for the care of Creation and to inspire the virtues of a non-consumer existence (DC, 384). We are also required a pedagogical dedication to digital culture in the globalisation era, using various languages such as storytelling, art and music.
We are facing new challenges. Hopefully WUCWO women will welcome them, so that we “ring like bells” and we can say at the most decisive moment of our life on earth, like Saint Therese of Lisieux: “I will spend my Heaven doing good on Earth.”
María Lía Zervino, Servidora
WUCWO President General