Final Message of the International Congress of Formators, Rome 7-11 April
Blessed are you, the formators
At the end of this Congress, the deep and vibrant experience we have lived together invites us to bring the Word of God alongside our lives as consecrated men and women, our communities and fraternities, our institutes, our cultures and the lands we come from, our service in the Church and the world.
(Mt 5, 1-10)
Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him,and he began to teach them. He said:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you who, feeling poor and inadequate before the sublime duty of forming Christ in hearts, trust in the work of the Holy Spirit, who reveals Jesus as “the most beautiful amongst the children of men”. It is the Holy Spirit who inspires the desire to become conformed to Christ in the depths of one’s heart, who infuses the sentiments of the Son and brings forth his feelings, his affections, his own sensibility; who ignites the passion of proclamation so that the Son’s way of life is made visible in today’s world. When this happens, the Gospel is revealed in a new way and the Kingdom of God dwells amongst us.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are you when you share with the formees the difficulty of conversion, of leaving everything to follow Christ, of responding generously.
Blessed are those formators who can hold in their hearts the sufferings of the young people, if you can look at them with total empathy, allowing them to pour into your hearts some of their pain and to welcome their pain with the tenderness and mercy of the Father.
Blessed are those formators who cry for the disappointments and failures they will inevitably face. Rest assured that you will be consoled by the Lord: who wipes away every tear and will make your service fruitful.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are you, when you know how to wait patiently for the seed sown with trust and constancy, without trying to force or control the outcome.
Blessed are the formator-sowers, who will sow in every occasion, in every moment, in every heart, knowing that the seed has a strength and efficacy of its own. Blessed are you when you act without any subtle or hidden violence, not even as a means to an end, because God will give your hearts the promised land.
Blessed are the formators who with their meekness remind those in formation that the one thing necessary is to become like an earthenware jar, from which others can take sips of heaven.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be filled.
Blessed are you if you hold in your heart the intense desire to bring about God’s justice, to share his passion for life and fraternal communion. Look for the divine plan for each person called, even at the cost of being misunderstood; do so without imposing your own points of view, or the interests of the institute, so that each person can become themselves according to God’s dream.
Blessed are you if you do this, because the truth will give you the freedom to ask everything of the young person entrusted to you and to be persuasive and credible, without manipulating or coercing them. And the Father will hear the holy desires of your heart.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are you formators if you have met the God of tenderness, and allowed him to form in you a heart of flesh; a compassionate heart capable of discovering the ember beneath the ashes in those who appear to have lost all hope. If you know how to reignite the fire that seems to be going out, you will teach them to descend into the many places of suffering, to be the consolation of God.
You will be witnesses of God who listens to the cry of the poor, recognises human misery and bends over it with mercy. Your young people will follow you.
Blessed is the formation community, small “Church of outreach”, “with open doors”. Fraternity in which the young person, “gets involved by word and deed in people’s daily lives; bridges distances, is willing to abase themselves if necessary, and embraces human life, touching the suffering flesh of Christ in others.” (Japan Bishop’s Conference, 20 March 2015)
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are you if you have a sincere and upright heart, a transparent gaze, and lead a life free of hypocrisy. Formation to consecrated life involves a purification of the heart so that one can enter into the mystery of the eternal Beloved.
Constantly guide the young people to live in communion with him, without duplicity, and to taste intimacy with him and with what is his. (cf. Lk 2:49).
Blessed is the formator who is able to transmit to the young person the beauty of God and the certainty that only the Eternal One can fill the heart’s thirst for love.
Blessed is the formator in love with God and passionate for humanity who knows how to communicate at the same time the beauty of loving God whole-heartedly, and of loving the other with a heart learning to love as God loves.
Blessed are you formators if you can look at the young people with the eyes of God, and if you can see God in their hearts!
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are you formators, men and women at peace in yourselves, if you are sensitive to the great need for peace in our divided world and if you know how to bring peace to others and to all relationships.
Blessed are those who teach that peace and interior unity is the foundation of every fraternity. Blessed are you if you know how to form an ordered fraternity and to live unity in diversity, in a variety of cultures: the Lord is there.
Together with the young people, you will be children of God and you will disarm hearts from every form of aggression with the therapy of goodness and of blessings for all.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when you are persecuted because of the witness you are giving to the Lord Jesus, who is the apple of your eye, and the delight of your heart.
Blessed are you formators coming from the countries Christians are persecuted: the paschal mystery is enfleshed in you. Blessed are you who, like the grain of wheat, bear much fruit.
The whole Church, suffering with you and in you, gives hope, invokes peace and proclaims the Kingdom of Heaven.
FROM THE CONGRESS TO LIFE: SOME PRIORITIES
In the vision of these beatitudes, we invite you to accept as a care of this dicastery, certain pointers as a spiritual and pedagogical priority for your service as formators.
1. Be happy formators, content to be able to offer this service, and make your joy evident so that it can be transmitted to the young people.
2. Pay attention to the formation of the heart, not just to behaviour, remembering that “heart speaks unto heart.” It is the passion for Jesus that makes you formators.
3. Don’t be presumptuous but look after your continuous formation, be willing to learn every day the art of forming hearts… Learn from Jesus and from his pedagogy but also from your young people, from your mistakes and from life.
4. Don’t forget that it is the Father who forms the personality of his Son by the work of the Holy Spirit in every young person: you are mediators of this Trinitarian action.
5. Be full-time formators giving the best of yourselves. It is the Lord who is entrusting the young person to you as someone precious in his eyes and who has to become precious in your eyes as well.
6. Have a big heart so as to welcome whoever the Father sends you from every part of the world. Value each person so that the formation community becomes an expression of the one faith and the one charism, in the variety of cultures and the riches of each one.
7. Form young people with a heart in love for God and passionate for humanity, “citizens of the world in dialogue with every culture; young people rich in mercy for those without dignity”, who know how to search for God in the peripheries of existence, free to let themselves be formed by life for the whole of life.
8. Don’t expect anything from them that is not already lived and put into action by yourselves. Don’t impose impossible burdens and let the law of the freedom of God’s children, the law of love, guide every request you make.
9. Dedicate time to regular meetings with a group but above all with individuals. It is the interpersonal relationship between the formator and the formee that is the instrument par excellence of formation.
10. The formation team, especially in larger formation houses, whilst expressing the variety of pedagogical competences and respecting specific roles, shares the same formation model and always aims at the good of the formees. The formation of formators is a precise and mandatory responsibility of superiors. Together with you, they are promoters of an authentic culture of continuous formation.
11. Don’t be afraid to accompany the young man or woman to discover themselves and their truth, with their weaknesses, but may your presence be at these times a sacrament of the love of the Father who heals and forgives. In a particular way, make your closeness felt by those who, for various reasons, leave the formation journey.
12. Especially don’t be afraid of accompanying the young people through the pasch. This has to be the aim of every formation journey throughout life, in the company of Mary, the disciple and mother at the foot of the Cross.
Dear formators, the Church loves you, appreciates you and prays for you. Without your service, consecrated life could not exist, or would have an uncertain future. Without your patience and your discernment, the people of God would risk not seeing ever again that luminous way of life that makes that definitive world transfigured by the beatitudes shine in a world that passes.
Rome, April 11, 2015
João Braz Card. Aviz
José Rodríguez Carballo, O.F.M.