• Updated: 18th January 2000

  • The Minister General
    interviewed on Vatican Radio

    The Minister General, Br. Giacomo Bini, was interviewed (26.01.2000) on Vatican Radio's "Jubilaeum" in a special slot dedicated to the celebration of the Great Jubilee especially in view of the Jubilee for religious which will commence tomorrow Sunday 29th January. He participated in the Spanish, Italian, French and English transmissions during which he spoke about the importance and the role of the religious in this historic moment. He insisted about the need for religious to live more deeply the contemplative dimension of their lives. He called this a "return to the desert". This "return" will give us the possibility to rediscover our sense of belonging, where we are and where we are going. The absolute priority of God in our life is the pivot for all renewal and rebirth of religious life. We need to keep our distance from the world, a distance from its values! Consecrated life must purify itself to discover true dialogue with the world. The Call of Jesus demands always: a distance from the world, a life with him and finally: mission. The haste to "mission" without interior stability may be dangerous. The religious is a person who consecrated his/her life to the Lord and it is from this centre of love that he/she can open up to the world and humanity. Jesus himself separated his disciples from the rest of the surrounding world and after they were formed at his "school of love" they were sent out to the world.

    Another important aspect which Br. Giacomo mentioned, was identity of the religious in a practical sense. We have to avoid a dichotomy between what we say and what we live. Even if theoretically religious Orders/Congregations have rediscovered their identity, we need to clarify our identity in our experiences and relationships. It is in this sense that sometimes we have to speak of a crises of identity of Consecrated life. We find it difficult to render visible what we live in our charisma and spirituality. We need to project a convincing image of our identity in today's world.

    Br. Giacomo then spoke of the creative and dynamic faithfulness to our call as a challenge today. Faithfulness is based on a strong experience of God. It is only if we experience the love of God that we can become gifts for the others and the world. Many a time we studied our past, our errors and success; we have also foreseen our future and calculated its numbers. But sometimes we lack the necessary strength to get involved today, in our present.

    As Franciscans, Br. Giacomo continued, we have the example of Francis of Assisi. Francis astonished his world and as a historic figure continues to do so today. This because he brought the living Gospel to the hearts of men and women of his time in simplicity, courage and joy. Today's world is waiting to receive from us this same spirit of the Gospel. Franciscan spirituality insists that Francis asks his followers: to become advocates for those in need, to overcome all barriers and distances in order to serve all as "minors"; an empathy towards all must characterise our way of relating; a special regard for the poor with whom we must share our lives; that our way of life should be our primary witness.

    Br. Giacomo, speaking of the Jubilee experience and using Francis' word, said that the Jubilee is a moment of Restitution. The world belongs to all men and women. We have to share everything we have with others. Francis' experience was very deep and strong: if you meet a poor man/woman on the road you have to share with him/her what you have! We have to share with the world . We have to start building strongly a human fraternity based on justice and on the sharing of goods. As Franciscans we believe that whatever we have and whatever we are given comes from God. To be a fraternity means to live in dependence one on the other and share with others. We have to share with the world even if it requires courage and we might encounter difficulties. We have to start and have the courage to meet and share with the others without prejudice while watching others with empathy and respect.

    As an Order, with over 17,000 members dispersed in 105 countries the Franciscans are involved in many different ways in giving witness and sharing with the others. Br. Giacomo brings out the example of his witnessing the Friars living in San Francisco California who daily hand out food to over 2000 poor who live on the road! In other areas Br. Giacomo said that this reaching out to the others is obtained through religious dialogue like what is happening in Morocco, Africa and Russia. A dialogue which centres on the themes of reconciliation and peace.

    - NEWS

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