Called and calling to holiness.
“A saint is a masterpiece of God”, used to say my father and master of spiritual life, the Servant of God Luis María Etcheverry Boneo, founder of the Servidoras. It is by God’s Spirit working in us and with us that we can respond to the call to holiness and, in turn, call others to walk together towards that goal (4th resolution of the Dakar General Assembly, 2018).
“Our Christian lives begin not with doctrine and good works, but with the amazement born of realizing that we are loved, prior to any response on our part. While the world frequently tries to convince us that we are valued only for what we can produce, the Gospel reminds us of the real truth of life: we are loved. […] This is our identity: we are God’s loved ones. This is our strength: we are loved by God” (Pope Francis, 15 May 2022).
If every Christian is a Christian because he or she is loved by God, we women of WUCWO are valuable precisely because of the love that Jesus has for us. A few days ago, I returned from Nairobi, Kenya, where we had a wonderful week-long meeting with about 40 women from WUCWO organisations from 16 African countries. During this workshop, which culminated in a splendid WUCWO Day celebration in the cathedral of the diocese of Ngong, the Holy Spirit was present and led us to our goal: the training of social correspondents for the World Women’s Observatory in Africa. Blessed be God, for despite our shortcomings and weaknesses, He is present with His grace and His gifts!
Continues Pope Francis with his teachings: “The love that we receive from the Lord is the force that transforms our lives. It opens our hearts and enables us to love. […] “as I have loved you, so must you love one another”. That word “as” is not simply an invitation to imitate Jesus’ love; it tells us that we are able to love only because he has loved us, because he pours into our hearts his own Spirit, the Spirit of holiness, love that heals and transforms. […] To love means this: to serve and to give one’s life. To serve, that is, not to put our own interests first: to clear our systems of the poison of greed and competitiveness; to fight the cancer of indifference and the worm of self-referentiality; to share the charisms and gifts that God has given us. Specifically, we should ask ourselves, ‘What do I do for others?’”.
To apply the words of the Holy Father to us, dear friends, I ask myself and I invite each one of you to ask yourself: “What do I do for the women members of other WUCWO organisations?”, “Can I affirm that I go out to heal the wounds of Christ in them, in the most vulnerable, in those who are suffering situations of violence, persecution, loneliness, hunger...?”, “What do I do to listen to them, to understand them, to give them a voice in the face of the globalisation of indifference?”.
We have an open door to listen to the women of the Middle East and the Mediterranean in Athens, Greece, from 7-10 October. It is an extraordinary opportunity to meet face to face, to be able to look each other in the eye again and share our hopes and needs, with the Assisi 2023 General Assembly already on the horizon. Each organisation, which will be present with a delegation, will be able to share its good practices with the others and to strengthen its actions on the basis of what it learns from the others. We will celebrate together the love with which God loves us and sends us to call others to holiness.
This sharing in solidarity will allow us to be “a luminous reflection of the Lord of history” in order to advance together on the path to holiness, which “is not barred; it is universal and it starts with Baptism. Let us strive to follow it, for each of us is called to holiness” - Francis reminds us.
I wish that we can educate ourselves and educate for the path to holiness, for the love of God that dwells within us and gives us a Christian “identity”. Let us be thankful that, because we are loved by Him, we can also love like Him. In this way, it is worth living. Let us pray together the Pope’s homily of 15 May. I entrust each one of you, your families and peoples, especially those suffering from war, to Mary, Queen of Peace.
María Lía Zervino, Servidora
WUCWO President General