My dear confreres,
May the grace and peace of Jesus be always with us!
“Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5).
In this period of great suffering, as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, so many people are losing their lives, among whom we may find family members, friends, and people whom we knew and served. Many more have been infected by the coronavirus. Numerous families and communities bear the pain of loss of a dear one, loss of work, loss of inner peace, because of illness, self-confinement, isolation from society, and worries about the future.
I would like, at this moment, with these simple lines, to reach the heart of every Province, Vice-Province, Region, International Mission, the heart of every community and every confrere of our Little Company, wherever you serve, wherever you are now, our confrere-bishops around the world, and the confreres who, for one reason or another, are living outside the CM community, many of them alone.
Our Founder Saint Vincent de Paul once expressed with so much emotion, I might even imagine him with tears in his eyes, “How sorry I am about your suffering.” It is these words that I would like to repeat today to each of you, dear conferees, “How sorry I am about your suffering.” We bear the suffering of each other!
However, in this period of great suffering our spiritual, emotional, and mental closeness with each other within the Congregation and, through each one of us, with all thos whom each of us carries in his heart, those whom we serve, has reached extraordinary proportions! We have deepened our prayer life. We have grown in openness to one another. We have intensified our search for common solutions to the drastic situation we are experiencing as individuals, communities, family, countries, continents, and world.
We are deeply grateful to the medical personal who, day and night, are fighting for the lives of thousands and thousands of our brothers and sisters around the world. We are profoundly thankful to Pope Francis, bishops, priests, brothers, deacons, sisters, all consecrated persons, and the laity. With wonderful initiatives, all these people remain in touch with each other, with the sick, the abandoned, the homeless, their parish communities, other ecclesial groups, and dioceses, helping persons in their various needs: materially, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. We very much appreciate the national and local governmental authorities, police, civil servants, and many volunteers who are engaged in this battle.
You, dear confreres are certainly on the frontlines in so many of these areas, one confrere more in one area, another more in another, but I am convinced each of us is trying to do his best. Let me thank you for it from the bottom of my heart! We know that, as we do good, we need, at the same time, to be attentive and follow the prescriptions and directives given to us by governmental leaders and health authorities, for the good of all, for those who are served, as well as for those who serve. Nevertheless, this does not stop us from being inventive and seeing what else can be done for our brothers and sisters, helping them in the spirit of our Founder, holistically, in whatever area they are presently most in need.
It is also part of our charism to engage others in the initiatives we are inspired by Jesus to fulfill. We act together as confreres with other members of the Vincentian Family, as well as other collaborators.
At this moment, our thoughts also go beyond this present time to the period when the coronavirus pandemic will be mostly over. So many persons will feel the dramatic consequences of what the world economy is experiencing as a result of the virus.
As we continue deepening our prayer lives, individually, as a community, as a Congregation, in supporting one another, supporting the persons we serve, our families and friends, in the midst of all this suffering, insecurity, and struggle, Jesus’s words from the book of Revelation become so consoling and uplifting for ourselves and for others, “Behold, I make all things new.”
At this moment, I invite each one of us to ponder these words of Jesus that touch every corner of our inner self, all we are, all we think, all we do. Jesus is telling us, in other words: I am always in motion. I am always in movement. I am always moving forward. I am always moving for the better. I am always making things new for you, for each one, for each community, for the Little Company, for all our loved ones, for all the people we serve, for the Poor.
It is in this specific moment of grace that has been given to us that we also are invited to reflect, pray, and meditate what does Jesus by His words. “I make all things new” means for me personally, for my community, for the Little Company. This pandemic has touched the lives, hearts, and minds of most of humanity. We are invited and called to see the present reality also through Jesus’s eyes and heart, to totally trust in Providence that, from this heartbreaking reality in which we live, something good, positive, and better will arise, as Jesus keeps walking around the world making all things new!
Dear confreres, at the General Curia, we have received e-mails, phone calls, WhatsApp messages from you and your communities sharing with us the reality in which you live, your state of health, the state of health of the people you serve. We are so grateful for any news from you from any part of the world as we include you in our prayers, the Eucharist.
Dear confreres, once again, my heartfelt thankfulness to all of you, as we accompany Jesus around the world in mind, heart, and body, He who keeps making all things new.
Your brother in Saint Vincent,
Tomaž Mavrič, CM
1 Vincent de Paul, Correspondence, Conferences, Documents, translated and edited by Jacqueline Kilar, DC; and Marie Poole, DC; et al; annotated by John W. Carven, CM; New City Press, Brooklyn and Hyde Park, 1985-2014; volume I, p. 138; letter 92 to Saint Louise .