Christmas message from the General Council
In contemplating the Incarnation, Saint Ignatius invites us to contemplate the world (Spir. Ex. 101 and ff.). We are asked to see this world as God sees it, knows it and loves it, with all its beauty and its painful and vulnerable reality, “all the nations in great blindness descending towards death and hell”.
Today, we are painfully aware of how the earth and all humanity are crying out, especially the poorest victims of war, climate change and the economic system that is creating an ever-widening gap between rich and poor.
God does not remain indifferent to human reality, the Trinity contemplates and decides to send the second Person who must become a man to save humanity. In his decision to take flesh in our humanity, we touch the depth of his loving mercy. God comes to us in our misery and our needs with truth and love.
“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, and it will be the joy of all the people: For unto you is born this day a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord…”. Lk 2, 10
As we contemplate the representation of the birth of our Saviour, with the Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, the shepherds and the Magi who have come from the East to pay homage to Him, we can see that men and women, rich and poor, Black and White, are all around Him. Since his birth, Emmanuel, God-with-us, has revealed to us that every human being is desired and loved by Him from all eternity. In Him, we can discover the path to a new humanity and a new creation.
When we meet Jesus, each person finds his or her own path of transformation. When we meet Jesus, each of us may experience upheaval and chaos, because in Him a new order begins in the journey of conversion that each of us feels called to live as a response to the overwhelming love of our own being.
Let’s take a look at how God’s love transformed and turned upside down the lives of the people in the cot. The same dynamic of transformation is found throughout the Gospels.
God’s love is transformative and overwhelming from the moment he set his eyes on a little unknown young woman from Nazareth called Mary, born in a context where women did not count, but in God, she became full of grace, mother of God, mother of the Church and of humanity. She is our mother who can teach us to listen deeply, to dialogue and to be open to saying our “fiat” to the impossible things that God does.
God’s love was transforming and shattering in the life of Saint Joseph, for when he learned that the Virgin Mary was pregnant without having lived together, as he was a just man and knowing the danger to Mary of being stoned if he denounced her publicly, he resolved to repudiate Mary quietly. Behold, the Angel of the Lord came to him in a dream and said: “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary, your wife, into your home: for that which has been begotten in her is of the Holy Spirit…” (Mt 1,20). When Joseph woke up, he did as the Angel had told him. His plans were turned upside down, and he became Mary’s husband and the adoptive father of our Lord.
God’s love is transforming and overwhelming, because in Him the poor regain their human dignity, captives are set free and the blind see again. The powerless, the excluded and the sick are healed and reintegrated into society. Salvation for them comes from their endurance, their faithfulness in believing that God will deliver them through the resurrection.
God’s love is transforming and overwhelming because in Him the powerful and the wealthy are called to abandon their wealth and power, inviting them to take up their cross and follow Him. Jesus teaches them that power is to be lived in a spirit of service and wealth is to be shared with the poorest.
God’s love is transforming and overwhelming, because today a new breath of the Spirit is at work in the Church, where all the baptised are called to walk together in a synodal spirit of communion, participation and mission. Every person is important, and we are called to listen to the voice of the poor, the voice of every person who deserves to be recognised in their uniqueness as an expression of God’s goodness.
We are called to listen to the cries of the earth and do our utmost to protect our common home. The Garden of Eden that God has entrusted to us is dying because of human activity.
Let us listen once more to the words of the Angel of the Lord to the shepherds: “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, and it will be the joy of all the people: for unto you is born this day a Saviour, who is
Christ the Lord…” (Lk 2, 10)
Let us not be afraid to go and meet the Emmanuel, God-with-us, and let him tell us of his infinite love for each and every one of us. He is the
Way, the Truth and the Life. Let’s not be afraid to enter into the process of transformation, let’s not be afraid to let ourselves be turned upside
down so that we can participate in the new creation, where everyone is a brother and sister in humanity, where diversity is seen not as a threat but as a source of richness. Emmanuel, God-with-us, is our joy and the joy of all our people.
“Let us follow the Magi’s example; they did not give up their journey when the star vanished but went resolutely on to Jerusalem, certain that God, having led them thus far, would lead them to the end.” (Thoughts of Mother Marie-Salomé, N° 635)
May our yes to journey together be like that of Mary with patience and trust in God. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2024!
Your sisters of the General Council
Jeanne d’Arc Ouattara