On the first day of the Assembly Leny Beemer from The Netherlands held a meditation during the morning prayer.
Reading from the letter of St Paul to the Romans 8,10-11
If Christ lives in you, then although the body be a dead thing in virtue of our guilt, the spirit is a living thing, by virtue of our justification. And of the Spirit of him who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised up Jesus Christ from the dead will give life to your perishable bodies too, for the sake of his Spirit who dwells in you.
Dear sisters and brothers,At this first day of our ECLDF Assembly, it is for me a privilege being here with you contemplating words the Scripture, so encouraging and so inspiring. Almost five weeks ago we celebrated with joy the feast of Easter, the feast of Christ, raised from the dead. And now we are on our way to Pentecost, waiting in great confidence, the Holy Spirit will come over us. There for we started this celebration with a Veni Sancte Spiritus. But what does this all mean to us, as Lay Dominicans, especially gathered here from whole Europe, East and West, North and South? What does this mean when we want to be Torchbearers, crossing borders.
The Sunday after Easter I had the chance having the predication in a convent of Dominican Sisters in our country, meditating on the story, told by St. John in his gospel, when Jesus after his resurrection came in the room, where the disciples were together, full of doubts and fear.
‘Peace’, Jesus said to them. That was the very first word he said. I think, it is not by accident Jesus said this. The word ‘peace’ means the heart of everything that follows in that story. Jesus sent his disciples just like the Father sent Him. In the word ‘peace’ everything of what Jesus lived is coming together in the mission of the disciples. ‘Peace’ means forgivingness, mercy, compassion, charity, justice, respect, love…. Everything Jesus embodied in the Spirit of the Father. And then he gave this Spirit, his Spirit, while breathing over them. This story is remaining in me as an overwhelming image….
Nevertheless, the story has a follow-up. Thomas was not there when Jesus came for the first time. O yes, after the first euphoria I feel a little bit like Thomas. The world did not change then, the world did not change since then until now. Violence and oppression will not be ended as a miracle. Thomas is still full of pain and disillusion. He can’t believe in a risen Lord without the wounds of his suffering, without his connection with the suffering world. And Jesus understands what Thomas means. He did not say to Thomas: ‘How stupid of you not believing in me as the risen Lord without remembering my suffering’ No, Jesus said: ‘Come to me, Thomas, here I really am with my wounds. Feel me, touch me, my wounds are still there’. As Jesus himself touched the poor, the sick, the excluded with their wounds, He asks Thomas to touch Him. As if Jesus is saying: when I send you in my Spirit, you must embody Me by being with the wounded people, by touching the wounds of them. Become in my Spirit just peace for people, forgive them, heal them, encourage them, love them, show them by doing so the way to Me and to the Father. Isn’t that what we are waiting and praying for?
That Holy Spirit of love? That’s where St. Paul speaks of in his letter to the Romans. Be sure, although we live in broken and ending bodies, the Spirit is a living thing, the Spirit of him who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you. When we talk about torches, we talk about the fire of love living in us by the Holy Spirit. When we talk about crossing borders, we talk about overcoming the borders of our small hearts, full of grieve and pain, reaching out to others with great compassion, love and peace like our father St. Dominic did, like our pope Francis does. Let us pray with all our heart that the peace of Christ in his Spirit is coming in our lives, in our fraternities and all over Europe where we live and are sent. Veni Sancte Spiritus. Amen.