The Rule and life of the Friars Minor is to observe the holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, living in obedience, without anything of one’s own and in chastity. It is Jesus who is our master and our Gospel.
During this week we will relive what the Lord has done for us, and I can’t help but think about how the interior of our Lord might have been, what he might have experienced during that week, how he may have seen many things that would otherwise be closed to human sight. It must not have been very easy. I then ponder how we, in some small part, are also experiencing that dimension of abandonment, of difficulty, of weariness, of questioning ourselves about what is happening; we can, in some small way, follow in our Lord’s footsteps.
During this period, many of us are already closed up in our homes – some for a long time, some for less time; and it is interesting to see and to reflect on how all our plans, our activities, our projects, the positive things as well as our negative habits, all suddenly fall by the wayside – they’re no longer of much value, no longer very useful. It is a perfectly favorable time to return to centering the meaning of our lives and activities on following our Lord Jesus Christ. In the end, we realize that other things are not worth that much anymore.
It could happen that tomorrow the virus arrives at the General Curia, and some of us get confined to our beds and have to face this disease. What can we do during these days, other than to truthfully reflect on what is of real value? One friar suggested to me recently something else we could do. He told me this: today I experienced a very difficult moment, because I felt almost the entire weight of suffering of the friars, the restlessness, the fear and suffering of hundreds of thousands of people in the world, the worry. Here lies something we can do as well. For the many friars affected by sickness, but above all, for so many other people who suffer at this moment who are fearful, who do not know what the future holds, who lost their loved ones … we, as Capuchin Friars, can carry the burden of those who are suffering in the world.
These days in Italy mark for us the beginning of spring. Already, some of the trees have begun to blossom. The linden trees in the courtyard of the Curia are beginning to bring forth their buds. Perhaps by Easter, I hope, we will see the first green leaves.
Well, I think that if we truly redirect our lives in the footsteps of the Master, if we return to observing the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, for all it’s value, we’ll likewise find the strength to sprout new leaves and to get to work with greater resolution for the Kingdom of God.
Best wishes to all the brothers. Happy Easter!
Br. Roberto Genuin
General Minister OFMCap
(This text is a translated transcription of the Minister’s video message in Italian)