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updated 4:57 PM UTC, May 7, 2024

Easter Message from the General Minister

Dear Brothers, 

Peace and good to all!

During this very intense period of our lives, not so much from what we do but from the mystery that we are living – the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ – some thoughts have reverberated in my mind regarding signs that have come down to us from accounts presented in the Word of God during these days. In particular, I paused to reflect on the situation that Peter experienced. So many other figures appear in these accounts, but I was focused on him for a while, thinking about the whole story of his denial of the Lord Jesus. Who knows how Peter must have felt about himself, so enthusiastic, so eager to be one with the Lord, but is he strong enough to promise the Lord that he would never deny him? And then at the crucial moment, he finds himself lacking the courage to say, yes, I am also one of His own. God's word says that when he remembers what Jesus had said to him: after the cock crows... once, twice, three times it doesn't matter; he finds that he has denied him! Who knows how Peter must have felt. He probably felt disconsolate, first toward himself. Because his desire to imitate the Lord was genuine, his decision to say “I will never deny you, I will always be by your side” was true. It was true! And immediately he must admit that, instead, despite all his enthusiasm and courage, he succeeded little, indeed: that he blatantly belied his willingness to follow the Lord anywhere. But he will also have been greatly shaken and will have wept bitterly not only toward himself upon acknowledging his limitations and his fragility, but also for betraying his friend who had drawn him away from the lake and from his tiresome work because he wanted to make him a fisher of men. 

These two situations could very easily happen to each one of us.

When I am on my visits, I often feel a deep sense of joy upon seeing so many brothers who toil day by day, and who desire to be one with the Lord. This is something that gladdens the heart of a General Minister, and which makes me reflect; praying with you in the various places where I meet you, I am able to say: “Look Lord, how many beautiful people there are who try to imitate you with sincerity! You walk with them!” I have no doubts, I have no doubts that we truly want and have real desire to imitate the Lord; However, afterwards we realize that, despite our sincere will and our sense of commitment, we are not always able to ... keep our promises – let's put it that way! We don't always succeed: sometimes we notice that, despite our commitment, in fact in some way we too deny the will to do good. And that may be the reason why we feel somewhat defeated, sometimes disillusioned, we lose our energy a little bit, maybe even feel bad, because we actually love the Lord for all the good he has done for us; and we are sorry that we have, even with our choices, disappointed him; we are sorry that we have detached ourselves from him a little bit and acted differently from how he taught.

Well, if this is a question that can affect everyone, it must also be said that it is not the final word! It is not the final word for Peter's life nor for our life. Indeed, I think of how Peter must have felt enormously stronger after realizing that this very kind of human weakness is being crucified on the cross. The passion, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, really brings a different perspective to this weakness of ours. Then we feel like recommitting ourselves not because we trust in our own strength, but because we see that despite our limitations, even despite our sins, the Lord continues to act. He has already overcome them! On His word we can cast the nets. Casting the nets every day and recovering from defeat: the Lord has forgiven us! This may have made Peter realize that the Lord wants a greater good even than our sin; it may have made him realize that it has nothing to do with our limitation. Instead, it is crucial that, through the love of God manifested in Christ Jesus on the cross, we find the way to resume each day, to walk with strength, to never give up. During these six years, how many times have I been able to see that, despite the characteristic limitations of us Capuchin friars, and even despite some occasions of error, so much has been due to the power of the Spirit's action. He has prompted us to find new ways of life, to dream of future prospects full of hope and commitment. It is the work of God acting through our humanity. And it reminds us all the more how the Lord really, really loves us and continues to love us and to signify for us paths to resurrection.

So, brothers, I would like to say don't stop, continue with the Word of God. May you enjoy the beauty of seeing that the Lord is working independently of our abilities, of our strengths, but he is using them; do not give way to the tendency of believing that our limited activities, even just little monotonous housekeeping activities in the fraternity, do not benefit the growth of God's kingdom. Instead, may the Lord enter into all the affairs that await us, into all the things we are called to do, and into our small but rich way of being. Even in our defeats the Lord can enter in and tell us: “look, defeat is not a victory over your life; victory is my resurrection.”

Thank you, brothers! With heartfelt wishes to each one of you for a happy Easter!

Br. Roberto Genuin
General Minister OFMCap


Last modified on Thursday, 04 April 2024 14:30