Even in systematic, structured life such as that of Carmelitan monasticism the Jubilee is a true breakthrough and a challenge. The matter at stake is the very foundation of the calling bestowed upon us, implying its embodiment in everyday life.
Not only is it a consequential conscience examination, whereby a list of fulfilments and non-fulfilments are addressed during the evening celebration of Compline. In fact, it would already represent a major step… Rather, it stands as an acknowledgement of individual progress at this precise moment, at this inescapable time in the history of humanity, which we are living even if we are not fully immerged in everyone’s daily life, yet we share it with empathy and symbiosis. From our deeper self emerges the face that we have received with our chromosomal heritage from our ancestors; the characterising features brought to us through our education and the relationship with those who have lived near us, making each one of us precious and unique beings. That face is confronted with the challenge of being compared with the “Face of the mercy of the Father”, that is Jesus Christ. And we collapse… The Trinitary Mistery demands to fully enter the fabric of our lives, of our breath.
However, there exists the door of our ego, that very self-image based on our resistance to the unconditional embrace of God, and to personal adherence to Him, which is seen as a loss of self, of self-esteem, built with such effort in the course of our life. We are not willing to renounce that self-image, and worse, we are unwilling to relinquish it because we feel lost. Yet, only this mystery of Trinitarian life that opens our heart to Jesus Christ is a promise of salvation, it is “the life uniting man to God” All of this is fully acknowledged after having entered the convent. Along the way it clearly appears that it is not a question of understanding, since understanding implies a limitation, confined within individual understanding according to our own definition. Instead, we should let ourselves be guided to understanding. We should let ourselves be read, following the path we are being shown. Understanding means setting concepts and limits to God, while opening up to the mystery means letting ourselves be inundated by the limitless, ever-forgiving and ever-embracing mercy of God. This constitutes the fountainhead of joy and the certainty of being loved, in spite of everything.
Francis has opened the door. Our door must be … forced open … because it is the door of the self in the relationship with our sisters. Only if this door remains wide open will our joint presence in human history become a channel of mercy.
All considered, it is unnecessary to plan specific strategies or specific celebrations. Monastic life implies silence loaded with the Presence of God; it implies the fervent listening to the Word; it implies the adoration of that piece of Bread through which everything can be gained or lost. Experiencing the closeness of God and realizing that His name is the “all-Merciful” bewilders us and raises questions. In Hebrew the Name is “El Rahum”, God’s womb. He is the One who engenders, who gives life, but who never forgets the fruit of His womb, capable of guiding our free steps in life, so that we may perceive His imprint (the ever-engendering womb) that constantly precedes us and shows us the way guiding our decisions, almost always blemished by self-centeredness: we want to be the judge and jury.
But if instead we fix our gaze on Christ, our self-centeredness comes apart and our steps beyond our ego proceed freely and swiftly. It’s a sort of magnetic force that attracts and draws the modified outlines of the face, apprehending perpetuity and grasping “the mercy that will always be greater than any sin”.
We can regain faith along with our capability of donating it in the communion with all our brothers and sisters. Moreover, this extraordinary Jubilee thus breaks all codified limits, precisely because forgiveness and joy are meant to reach out to everyone, in an extraordinary way. This should not be confused with the exteriorities of a parade, with the clamour of a crowd or a set of devoted inventions.
Extraordinary means out-of-the-ordinary, crossing the limits to the greatness of God imposed by us with our own views. This is the challenge: am I surprised to the extent of letting myself be inundated and become “a living sign of the love of the Father”? In the Spirit “as morning hew, for a fruitful story to be developed with everyone’s commitment in the near future”.