Circular of Sr. Antonella, Congregation Leader, on the occasion of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the day on which our congregation celebrates the anniversary of its foundation. This year we celebrated 86 years.
Thy Kingdom come!
December 8, 2022
On this Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, I want to invite you to look at Mary and her response to the angel Gabriel: Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. The readiness of the first “yes” in participating in the plan of salvation shows one of the virtues that will
characterize Mary’s entire life: to be an obedient woman.
I would also translate Mary’s answer to the angel Gabriel as follows: I am willing to know the Lord, to serve him unconditionally, with my whole life, according to his plan; I am willing to do what he wants, living as he wants.
Mary had a knowledge of God that was not purely intellectual but so profound and
experiential that she became an orientation of life. It was recognized, fundamentally, a creature dependent on God the Creator, an awareness that became an explosion of joy in the singing of the Magnificat. This is true wisdom, this is the soil on which our vocation flourishes, this is the secret of our obedience.
‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord‘ is the response that springs from knowledge of God and from the desire to do in all that pleases him, certain that only his will counts, the rest is nothing” (cf. C 7). This was the case for Mary at all stages of her life as a woman, mother and disciple of her Son. So it is for us who want to continue the mission of Jesus
The desire to do what pleases the Lord sometimes flares up in us like a fire, and inflames our whole being, makes us feel the vitality to love and to do good; at times, more quietly, it is a hidden spark that simply keeps the flame burning. Burning fire or invisibly radiant coal, who
cares? “After all,” said Giuseppina Rodolfi, “it seems to me that obedience is love”. Obedience is the ability – which is the grace given to us – to commit our heart, our freedom to the point of loving as Jesus loved for the salvation of the world.
Here I am the handmaid of the Lord, will also be our response if we know how to enter into God’s perspective, capable of seeing the world as his Son Jesus sees it, of loving souls as he loves them, without letting ourselves be overwhelmed by the upheavals of history.
Here I am the handmaid of the Lord, will be our response if we know how to obey the reality we inhabit made up of situations and circumstances of death and resurrection at the personal, ecclesial and social levels, with sentiments of entrusting, in the certainty that nothing can ever separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Here I am the handmaid of the Lord, it will be our answer if we recognize in those who live next to us a value and an important good for our life; if we also know how to renounce our interests and rights in order to share in his wounds and fragility and welcome him into our home, following the example of Mary at the foot of the Cross, who welcomed the new motherhood as a service of love.
On this solemnity so dear to us, let us ask Mary for the joy of filial abandonment in order to put our lives at the complete disposal of the Kingdom.
Together with the sisters of the Delhi delegation, I wish you all a peaceful Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception!
Sr. Antonella Tovaglieri