Sunday, November 11, 2007

Montecasale: International Fraternity

Peace and Good!
My few days of retreat at Montecasale, in the heart of the mountains of Italy, were also a time to reflect on the wideness of God’s mercy and presence. Besides the Italian brothers, there was also a friar there from Nigeria, who was studying in Rome and helping out at the hermitage for the summer. What a circumstance, friars from three continents in this little place on the side of the road, joined in prayer and fraternal life and ministry.
It reminded me of the time when Francis told the first brothers not to be afraid of how small their little group was. “I see men from all over joining us, from England and France and Germany and Spain and all over the world.” It began in his own lifetime, but over the centuries has continued to be true.
It is true that there are differences of culture and language to be respected and celebrated and at times overcome, but being a friar has always been for me a reminder that God loves the whole world. And that God acts through so many different people and different circumstances. But it also reminds me that kindness and compassion and a welcoming smile are international, enduring signs of the Love of God in our midst.
God bless and keep you!

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