“Do not be afraid.”
“Behold, I make all things new. Now it springs forth, do you not perceive?”
With this quote from the book of Isaiah, the Minister General began his message addressed to the friars of the Province of the Holy Land, defined as the pearl of the Franciscan mission. “….amid changes, the Evangelical and charismatic identity of the mission.”
Fr. MICHAEL PERRY OFM
Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor
I believe that today, we live in a world that is undergoing so many changes, changes for good and for evil: we go through a change that offers us the opportunity to deepen our sense of identity and belonging and also our sense of orientation for the future.. and this affects the Custody at this time: this affects its identity which is evangelical, charismatic, franciscan. This is the vocation of the Holy Land and of the Custody: to celebrate and remember the mission of the resurrected One, that is the importance of Jesus Christ in today’s world, especially in the extremely difficult situation that we are living and that we are aware of, around the world. So I think that this is a time for gathering at the Custody of the Holy Land and this is also an opportunity for the whole order and for the whole Church to reflect on values. The first value is dignity, human-Christian dignity. The second is our joint responsibility born of our identity and dignity, that will enable us to respect and enforce respect for all of humanity. The third value is cooperation: working together with all mankind, with other Christians and with Muslims in order to create the conditions for a life that God wants and not for what we want, to create the conditions for a future of peace, a future of reconciliation, a the future of progress of the conditions under which all humanity can find its space.
Father Michel Perry then spoke of the challenge of the Franciscans in the Middle East, mainly in Syria.
“I believe that the permanence of the Friars Minor is a challenge for everyone, and that this is, first of all, our vocation in Syria today: show that God has not abandoned His people. The Friars Minor are the representatives of Christ and representatives and ambassadors of reconciliation. This is their double dimension. We are surely there to console the population, with everyone’s help and with everything we receive from outside: we are here to materially help these people, to help Christians, Muslims or any other groups.”
“Do not be afraid, but be men of bliss”, stressed the Minister General in his introductory speech.
“The message is what Christ told his apostles: not to be afraid. But not just stand still. There is no question about that: God is inviting us to become, to create, to see and already imagine the conditions of God’s kingdom here in the Holy Land and everywhere in the Custody. Our task is to present ourselves and live as men of bliss, showing a different future for all.”
For more information visit the Custody’s website : www.custody.org