400 years in the light of the star of Tolentine
Message on the day of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine 2021
he who sows generously, generously will reap ...
God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor 9: 6-7)
The feast of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine, our patron saint, has a special meaning in the celebration of the 400 years since the birth of the Province. I send my fraternal greetings and a message to all of us who walk under the same star.
Behind the glare of a star
After the glare of a star, the Province of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine has lived for four centuries. It is the star that announced the birth of our Savior and pointed out the roads that led from Bethlehem to the presence of the Son of God. It is the star that shines and illuminates the hearts of those who sincerely seek to immerse themselves in the mystery of God incarnate.
Guided by this star, our missionaries left their homeland to announce the light of the Gospel in distant lands. It is the star that warms fraternal life in community and shared mission. It is the star that fills homes with love and guides families in their daily dealings. The light of this star illuminates the sunset of our older and sick brothers, while they are embraced by the Light that never sets. It is the star of Saint Nicholas of Tolentine, our patron saint, who serves as our guide, encouragement and protection.
A star that shines in the night
For more than a year, the entire humanity has been involved and afflicted by the pandemic. Along with the pandemic, our world suffers from other endemic wounds: migration and war; the poverty, inequality, loneliness and sadness of so many people; the polarization in so many areas of life, the loss of the sense of the transcendent, the degradation of nature, ...
Like humanity, the very history of the Province is woven from springs of splendor and life with cold and dark winters; of charismatic clarity with moments of immobility coupled with years of revitalization and restructuring. The same can be said of the Province that Pope Francis says of the history of the Church. "... It is glorious because it is a story of sacrifices, of hope, of daily struggle, of a frayed life in service, of perseverance in tiresome work, because all work is" sweat from our brow. " (Francisco, Evangelii gaudium, 96).
The Church "goes on pilgrimage between the persecutions of the world and the consolations of God." However, we live by a certainty: Christ is the light of the peoples and the Lord has entrusted us with his light to illuminate our environments and the dark days of our history.
Pandemics, injuries and institutional winters reveal our vulnerability and false assurances, at the same time that they allow us to see the dependence we have on each other; We are all in the same boat, called to row together.
Our lives are sustained by many people who show us patience, instill hope, and sow stewardship. People who support us with small and daily gestures of affection; How many people pray and intercede for the good of all! (Cf. Oración del papa Francisco en la Plaza de San Pedro por la pandemia -27 marzo 2020-).
Let us invite Jesus into the boat of our life; we need it as the ancient sailors needed the stars. Jesus brings serenity in our storms and awakens that solidarity and hope capable of giving strength, containment and meaning to the hours when everything seems to be shipwrecked. Their presence encourages us to seek new forms of hospitality, fraternity and solidarity. He invites us to embrace on his cross all the setbacks of the present time.
The star of Saint Nicholas
We do not sail or pilgrimage alone. In our centuries-old history we have been blessed with egregious figures who point out the path of the Gospel in their own light. Today we remember Saint Nicholas of Tolentine, our patron, who has been present since the dawn of the Province.
The saint commented that in his dreams he saw a star that traveled the path from his hometown to the oratory in the Tolentine convent. For many years he saw the same star advance before him as he made his way to the oratory and perched on the altar where he celebrated the Eucharist. The community understood that he should be buried next to the altar to intercede for the community and the people. A glow was kindled in the hearts of all who visited the tomb of the saint and met Jesus Christ, the Light of the world.
The Church always turned to the intercession of Saint Nicholas when it was hit by natural catastrophes, by pandemics, by the wounds of the world ..., and by the souls in purgatory. Through his intercession, the saint of Tolentine continues to bring us closer to the Light to dispel darkness and suffering. That is why in the iconography we represent him with the garments studded with stars or with the Sun that shines on his chest.
The same Light that prompted Nicholas to love the people, mingle with them and live their needs, share their joys and sorrows, is the one that has moved thousands of Augustinian Recollects, as well as many men and women with restless hearts. We often address our prayer to the Lord:
May we never ignore the cry of the Mother Church when she asks for our help.
May we seek in the community the rest in you that we do not yet possess and long for.
May the brilliance of its star guide us and the loaves of generosity multiply in our hands.
Let us be bearers of light
The feast of Saint Nicholas is always a good occasion to rekindle our religious life and share it with joy and hope, because this is the most credible testimony of his presence and our current society needs witnesses of hope.
May the star of our patron saint continue to shine in our communities as a sure sign of God's presence in the life and mission of all the religious of the Province.
Madrid, September 10, 2021