Friday, 24 October 2008

Contribution of Sr. Maria Antonieta Bruscato

Superior General of the Daughters of St. Paulto the Synod of Bishopson The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church

Most Holy Father, Reverend Synod Fathers, dear brothers and sisters,
I am deeply grateful to the Lord for the wonderful opportunity to participate in this Synod on the Word of God. I feel accompanied in spirit by all the Daughters of St. Paul, who have always been committed to “preaching the divine Word” in keeping with the example of the Apostle of the Gentiles. The Founder of the Pauline Family, Blessed James Alberione, urged us to disseminate the Bible, especially the Gospel, in every part of the world, saying: “Let us read the Scriptures, because God is their Author. They will show you the path to follow [in spreading] the Editions.” And: “The Eucharist and the Bible form the apostolate of the press. May the two be unseparated and inseparable in your hearts.”

My statement today is in reference to what is affirmed in n. 52 of the Instrumentum Laboris (IL) regarding the service of the Word of God carried out by consecrated persons. Through the centuries, the consecrated life, both masculine and feminine, contemplative and apostolic, has always nourished itself and its mission at the Table of the Word. It could not be otherwise because the religious life, in fact, is called to be prophetic and prophecy springs from attentive listening to God: “Morning after morning he opens my ear that I may hear” (Is. 50:4). The Table of the Word holds an important place in our personal and community life. It provides us with food for our spirit, as well as with light and strength to help us persevere in following the paths of the Lord. It is the source of our creativity and apostolic audacity. I am convinced that we consecrated persons become disciples of the Master to the extent that we welcome the Word with attentive, docile and prayerful hearts, allowing ourselves to be evangelized by the “surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord” (Phil. 3:8).

To live and work as consecrated persons in today’s post-modern civilization calls for a radical conversion of life: one that gives God and his Word primacy in our lives. What challenge do we face? That is what we are asking ourselves these days as we listen attentively to the statements of the Synod Fathers–input that confirms our conviction that if we are to make progress in this area then it is necessary that the consecrated life not only reaffirm its spiritual commitment to “reading and meditating on the Sacred Books, to ruminating on them daily and making a comparison of life with them so as to carry out a personal and community discernment in view of evangelization” (IL 52), but that it also ensure that Sacred Scripture is the center of our initial and ongoing formation itineraries by enriching them with a systematic study of the Word of God. Even more, we must see to it that more of our members receive specialized training in this field so that the “Bread of the Word” will be broken and shared with the wisdom required for this service.

A member of this Assembly defined the laity as a “sleeping giant.” If the consecrated life, especially its feminine branch, courageously follows the path proposed above, then we, the “silent giant,” will rediscover the prophetic power and significance common to us all, no matter what our charism or mission. And the many forms of our presence, whether in monas-teries or along the streets of the world, will become a living “exegesis” of God’s saving Word and thus respond more effectively to his new appeals to today’s world.
(taken from Paoline)

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