Dear friends of Minsteracres, I trust that you are all keeping fine in these difficult circumstances. A simple effective method used in group dynamics is the ‘TRUST FALL’ exercise. The test comprises of two people one standing in front of the other. The task consists of the one standing in front gently falling back, with both feet held firm on the ground, while the other partner at the back supports the person preventing from falling. Initially, the person who is falling finds it extremely difficult to drop himself. There is a fear all over his face, a sense of panic that is experienced deep within. But as they repeat this exercise the trust level increases; the confidence factor grows. And the person feels at ease to fall back. There is a sense of positivity and reliance. Something similar has to happen concerning our faith in God as well. When we go through struggles and problems in life, we often fall away than leaning back on God. Dying of fright and collapsing is a sign of despair and hopelessness. When we are in great tension, we tend to stoop low. The tension in life robs the spirit and joy of living. This pandemic, I am afraid is such a one. We find it difficult to meet the people who spread that positive energy. Let us believe we are not alone in our struggle.  If we trust in His power, we are sure that He will never let us down.  The season of Advent is about waiting in hope. We are challenged to stand erect and raise our heads high with our belief that God will hold us when we fall.  The question is are we ready to play the ‘Trust Fall exercise’? The invitation is to look around us to find those opportunities which God provides, that would make us stand firm.

It has been 300 years since November 22, 1720, the day when young Paul Danei, founder of the Passionists, received the habit of a hermit and began a 40-day retreat in the small cell of the Church of San Carlo in Castellazzo.  During this retreat, he wrote the Rule of “The Poor of Jesus”, the future Congregation of the Passion. He adopted the religious name of Paul of the Cross and, over time, we assumed the name “Passionists”, to preach the Passion of Jesus Christ as “the greatest and most wonderful work of divine love” capable of transforming humanity and the entire world. 

For us, the Passionists, the present Jubilee which opens with face masks and social distancing, is an occasion for spiritual renewal, growth, and re-evaluation of the charism, as reflected in the theme that is chosen– “Renewing our mission: gratitude, prophecy and hope”. 

The Superior General, Fr. Joachim Rego explains, “When we talk about renewing our mission,”, “it is primarily about renewing ourselves, because ‘who we are’ and ‘what we do’ are interconnected and interrelated.” The Jubilee Year, therefore, is not a celebration of the Congregation’s greatness or successes; rather it is a celebration of the blessings of God during these three centuries and the faithfulness of countless Passionists who, through their lives and their ministry, have kept alive the memory of the Passion of Jesus as a magnanimous and concrete act of God’s love. We remember and pray for the Passionist family during this holy year.

Jenish CP

December 2020