November 28, 2004
To all Vocationists in the world
Object: Through transformations to transubstantiation
My Dear Confrere,
May God the Holy Spirit unite us ever more with the Son to the Father,
At the start of a new liturgy year, that in addition to being the Year of the Holy Eucharist for us it also Justinian Year, since we are going to celebrate his 50th anniversary of his death. I am wishing to myself, to you, to the relatives, friends and benefactors of the Vocationist family a year of continuous spiritual progress in an increasing assimilation of our charism, of our spirit and of our commitment to vocation apostolate.
I keep myself, why as Father General, I should write a new pastoral letter at the beginning of the Advent season, in a distance of just four weeks from my last one? What is going to change or what should be changed?
Fr. Justin synthesizes the rotation of the liturgical cycles and various festivities, (Advent, in this case) thus: ”it brings the same name of last as well as of next year. It, however, does not have entirely the same meaning; this present year does not bring the same graces of last year and the year to come. It is always new in the divine presence.” (Asc. 153)
A new year is a beginning; it implies new efforts, new yearnings, new commitments. “To avoid lukewarmness and to extend with effective progress to his Lord…truly, the soul enjoys when it is certain to itself…it is the sign of spiritual progress. The second sign of spiritual progress is “the continual recurring to new beginnings and to new impulses” (Asc. 7). This letter wants to be an invitation to undertake new steps in the transformation of our life.
New aims at a deeper identification with Father Justin
Next year, 2005, we are going to celebrate the 50th death anniversary of our Venerable Father Justin. Encouraged by the Letter to the Hebrews that states: “Remember your leaders who spoke of the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith…” (Heb. 13: 7), we declare the year 2005 as a “Justinian Year”because we want to fill every hour and every minute, every act and project of the new year with the spirit and the presence of Fr. Justin. This cannot happen without your cooperation! The program prepared by the Committee and the General Council for the 50th death anniversary of Fr. Justin contains many initiatives; some of the activities will be held in Pianura, others at regional level and still others in our parishes and local communities.
The recently re-
New efforts toward a continuous becoming
Our good Fr. Justin taught us that: “our relationship of essential dependence from love, our essential correspondence to love, and consequently our relationship of essential ascensions through love consist in becoming and in acquiring, in doing and in giving, in being and in operating ever more and ever better for the joy of loveing…” (Faciamus Hominem, pg. 148)
The continuous longings and invitations of Fr. Justin to being and in doing “ever more and ever better” and rooted in the principle that we are “limited and successive” individuals. Even though we are “the image and likeness of the three divine persons” immediately from the moment of conception, we can and must become ever more perfect image, ever more like that of divine exemplar. We are limited and yet almost unlimited because our boundaries are always extendable. “My soul, get to know the boundless limits that the Lord has assigned to your boundlessly limited being; and the unlimited levels to which you need to ascend through your successive work…” (Ibid. pg. 151) The law of life needs a continuous and constant evolution, and at the same times a continuous ascensional transformation.
Let us hear some of Fr. Justin’s conversations with the Holy Trinity: “For You being is divine, for me becoming is divine. For you giving is divine, for me receiving is divine. For you the act is divine, for me activity is divine. For you loving is divine, for me corresponding to it is divine. For you wanting is divine, for me obedience is divine.
For you talking is divine, for me listening is divine. For you calling is divine, for me coming is divine For you to attract is divine, for me accepting is divine, for you doing is divine, for me imitating is divine…” (Ibid. pg.186)
For Fr. Justin, our spiritual growth, our development and our becoming more perfect image of God will not finish at the end of our mortal life, it will continue through eternity.
“It grows and develops throughout our lifetime (and who could ever think that it will not continue through eternity, even though we do not know how it will continue?) thus is the activity of the divine life…” (Ibid. pg. 184)
The advent season offers us a new opportunity to grow, to look forward and not backward, up and not down, to the future and not the past. “Now (Lord) teach your creatures how to reach eternity, how to find you, how to know you, how to praise you and how to love you in your sweet, dear and beautiful eternity, while moving forward without turning back and looking ahead to the future and not to the past.
In looking ahead and upward, life is developed more and better, and at the same time love is also developed. Since all of my being is life and love in your image and likeness, everything has to unwind itself forward and upward according to the law of life and love.
Totally tending ahead! Totally tending upward! Totally tending toeard you, to the point of reaching divine union in your eternity. Now I know you better and I can encounter you more easily in your eternity aiming forward rather than returning back!”. (Ibid. pg. 153). Looking back or looking to the past can easily cause negativity, discouragement and inactivity. Looking ahead and upward it infuses new energy, it encourages and it promotes optimism and positivism.
New impulses to become Eucharist.
According to the desire of the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, 2005 is the Year of the Eucharist. I hope that it will be such also because we want it to be such! Our Trinitarian – ecclesiological spirituality is essentially Christ centered. The Jesus to whom we want to conform ourselves more everyday of our life, the Jesus that wants to be the center of our life and the Jesus that we meet every day is the same Jesus – Eucharist.
The desire to have the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament at the center of our houses, the desire to position ourselves in such a way as to be looking always toward the nearest tabernacle, the frequent visits to the Blessed Sacrament, the holy sacramental and spiritual communions, our practice of the “matter of the Sacrifice”, the liturgical fervor, practiced and taught by the Fonder, they tell us that we cannot truly be Vocationists without becoming deeply Eucharistic souls.
“The Eucharist and Fr. Justin” will be the theme of our regional vocational Conference of the year 2005; to the same theme we dedicate one of our meetings of study and prayer, at the local community or parish level, and the General Assembly of the Servants of the Living Christ, that will be held at the stadium in Avellino on July 17. Because the Justinian year is also the Eucharistic year I invite you to have a copy, to study, to meditate and then to make it known to other these writings of Fr. Justin on the Eucharist: Heaven of heavens, The Priesthood and the Agape, The Eucharist and the Children, The Liturgy and the Clergy, the Solemn Viaticum, The Holy Mass and Mystical Body, Admirable Conversion. Equally important to be known are the Visits, the Preparations and Thanksgivings that are found in the Major Devotional, as well as these chapters of the Ascension: For the Divine Sacrifice and For the Divine Sacrament.
It can help us immensely to intertwine the Justinian year with the Eucharist and the liturgical-
“when every created element on earth will have gone through many process of assimilation and has become human bodies, and when every human body will have become Eucharistic sacrifice, the end of the world will come about!
Through thousands and thousands of centuries and centuries it unwinds and comes to completion the divine word “let us make man in our image and likeness” addressed to every atom of the earth, and imperiously and yet softly resounding in every instant in the course of life.
Thus at the end, the glorious number of the chosen ones will be accomplished, the great number of the divinely alive personal images of the divine perfections and persons, the number of the chosen ones, brethren of the angels, will be equal to the innumerable of the stars, since each star will house one chosen soul (while enjoying the company of its saved brothers).
In every star of heaven, around the chosen dweller, (in the company of the saved brethren), will also shine in mysterious beauties the exemplars of every created element even those of the mineral, vegetative and animal kingdoms, according to the whole beauty of the divine idea, (since no divine ever goes lost!).
Therefore every creature groans and aches like a woman in a difficult labor, and allows the perennial circulation of the elements, and it hastens the transformation of the elements from one form to another in order to reach the perfection of the body of the chosen one so that all its substantial being can become the body of the Lord; just like the bread and wine that cease to exist in their substance, in order to become by the sacrificial and sacramental word of the priest, in a supreme form of sacrifice of adoration, offering its accidents to become a small veil, filled with mysteries and wonders to the wonder and mystery of the divine real presence” (Ibid. pg 228 and 229).
Are they imaginations only, intuitions or longings for divine love? It is only the yearning desire of Fr. Justin to become with Jesus “a host of sacrifice to the Trinity and sacrament to the souls”, the consummation of the divine union not only in the spirit, but also in the body! (Could this be the reason why the hypostatic union has been given to us as our heritage?).
Wishes and Prayers
In this new year of grace, with the intercession of Fr. Justin, may the divine Trinity grant to me, to you and the whole world this continuous becoming, to conform and to transform ourselves more and more into authentic and real images of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, to be more and more worthy gift of a divine person to the other, in order to contribute in forming a downpour of saints and holy deeds.
May the Lord who is to come find more and more space in me and in you, and feel more and more at ease in me and in you to make of us living temples of his glory and his love.
Let us look ahead, let us look heaven-
Father Louis M. Caputo, S.D.V. of the Most Holy Trinity.