“The wind blows where it pleases and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. It is like that with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (Jn 3:8).
1. A Cenacle in the middle of Pampas
The town of Pilar is located 60 kilometers from Buenos Aires, towards Lujan. There the archdiocese built a monumental building with capacity for almost two hundred people. Personal rooms occupied time ago by the seminarians during holidays. Today it is destined for several meetings, including the Episcopal Conference of Argentina. Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, lived there on many occasions. The building was called “Montonera”, today it is called CENACLE.
In that place it was held the third International Meeting of Nazarene Fraternities, from 10 to 14 July this year. A meeting that brought together 156 “confreres”: Argentina 46, Uruguay 36, Spain 8, Mexico 1, France 5, Brazil 7, Ecuador 49 and Philippines 4.
A mysterious “wind”, not as strong as the “Pampero”, but effective, quickly swept barriers of origin, race, language… One Faith created deep human tunes. Nazareth gave warmth. The “esprit de corps and family” vibrated fraternity. Gabriel Taborin’s dream insinuated in the fraternal hearts, gathered by a common call. Pentecost?
2. The directions of the wind
“You don’t know where it comes from or where it is going”, said Jesus to Nicodemus, in his image of the wind. It is the curious thing about this event. We were all amazed by what we lived. Sometimes we get carried by discouragement. As the friends who came back to Emmaus. An unexpected presence makes them reading Scripture in the language of history they were living. And they have hope.
Like the friends of Emmaus, we were perplexed by the problems which we live. Does the family die? Why was it trivialized so that we distrust his strength? What are the ways to find again the consistency of family ties? Is it worth continuing to rely on a more promising future? To what extent the links between people will be permanent? Such questions were addressed during the Meeting.
Gustavo Irrazabal, a priest of Buenos Aires, gave us some clues to see the family problems from the Gospel. The announcement of the Angel to the shepherds: “You will see a new-born baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger”, puts us in a certain way before the mystery of the Incarnation. The same “the child grew and became strong”… The family, the way of Jesus, the way of every man, the way of the Church.
From this evangelical perspective, Gustavo was opening us to the family community of love, Church in miniature… He proposed the “law of growth” to tackle irregular situations, so common today. He corrected some misconceptions about what many families are living, helped us interpret the work of the Synod of the family which will continue soon in Rome, opened a wider and hopeful horizon regarding a reality that certainly worries both families and educators. A wind that clears clouds and discovers new heavens and new ways for the Good News of Jesus.
3. The secrets of the wind
At the heart of this wind that pushes us, secrets that begin to be revealed nest. They call us to descend to the most intimate and listen to its language, the one of the different cultures that bring us together. A wind that invites us to shed our certainties and securities, to get involved with the feelings of the brothers whom God sends us.
To announce the imminence of the Kingdom of God, Jesus of Nazareth uses images close to his listeners: the sower, the seed, the wheat, figs, mustard seed, salt, yeast, flour, fish, nets… His message is very poetic, peasant culture, fishing in the Sea of Galilee, family life… A language with warmth of home, work, everyday life. So he arrives at the heart of his countrymen, attracts them, captivates them, is news, is good news. It is what the Master learned in his daily life in Nazareth. The secret of Jesus is what he learned in Nazareth. His experience is communication and the message he communicates can only be read from the history of each man, from his life experience.
We have in this precious gift of God, received and left to us by Gabriel, which we call charism, a secret that is like “the pearl of great price” (Mt 13:46), the key entrance to the Kingdom announced by Jesus. I dare say that this key allows our missionary Brothers transmit the joy of their presence in new regions of the planet. And it is that same joy we enjoy at the Nazarene Fraternities meeting. And that raises new adhesions to the life of Brother.
4. In the heart of the wind
In his welcome greetings to the Fraternities, Brother Juan Andrés Martos, our Superior, used a biblical reading of the word “heart”: source of life, home of the feelings, thoughts and memories. And he added: “Being in the heart of the families” is to help them discover their vocation, communion and mission. He quoted Pope Francis that “insists on a Church that is able to use the language of tenderness and mercy.”
The family spirit that inspires our being of Brothers whose gaze is awaiting the life of the Family of Nazareth, allows a particularly attuned to the lives of families. As stated Br. Francisco Cabrerizo, our dear Paco, in his lecture on “formation in the fraternities”, “love is the true message.” He added: “My true self exists to the extent that I give myself to others, that the reason for my existence shall I find in donation and service.”
The wind that took us to Pilar pushes us towards a more total gift of our lives. We lived fraternity in daily prayer, enriched by celebrations prepared by the fraternities, with great creativity and spirit of Nazareth; in sharing the table, where we could know our brothers and sisters coming from various countries; in meetings carried by contributions and experience of the fraternities; in the working groups, which allowed sharing experiences and ways of feeling in different regions and social situations; in the bonfire, which gave rise to humour, original artistic expressions; in daily dialogue with warmth of home… Not to mention the presence of children and youth in some families, who recreated us with their grace so fresh and jovial. For them some cheerful animators of our College of Villa Urquiza came and animated them.
5. Where is this wind blowing us?
“…You hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. It is like that with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (Jn 3:8b).
A very significant fact for me was the presence of Brothers in the Meeting: about twenty, among them three members of the Government of the Congregation, who took over the organization and most of the costs.
Questions that suggests to me this moment of our history as a community of consecrated are partly those of our Superior, Br. Juan Andres and some more. These are questions that relate to our mission with respect to the family, and the importance for us of the existence of fraternities as born of the Spirit.
“What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit” (Jn 3:6). In the meeting with Nicodemus, Jesus associates the action of the Spirit to be born again. Could it be that we are facing a new birth of our Institute? What current signs could be telling us that a new life is growing in the Congregation? Will this particular interest in the revitalization of the family an indicator of the future accurate direction of our mission?
The biblical term for the Spirit is the RUAH. It is the wind that removes the desert sands. Many times we felt we live in the desert: lack of Brothers, lack of new vocations, deceased that hurt us, aging, despair, disappointment… But in an event like this Meeting, we feel that the desert sands are moving. The RUAH invites us to hope. We are confident that the spirit of family, legacy of Gabriel, is capable of arousing life, even in the desert sands.
Br. Héctor da Rosa- 24-7-2015