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News
Mangalore (India)

1st Mission Congress
of Asia and Oceania
( 3 )

 

 

The Missionaries of St Teresa in Asia

 

 

Very Rev. Fr. Luis Arostegui Gamboa OCD

Superior General, Discalced Carmelites.

 

 

1. The missionary nature of the Church

 

“Divinely sent to the nations of the world to be unto them “a universal sacrament of salvation,” the Church, driven by the inner necessity of her own catholicity, and being the mandate of her founder (Mk. 16:16) strives ever to proclaim the Gospel to all men” (Ad Gentes, 1).

“The pilgrim Church is missionary by her very nature, since it is from the mission of the Son and the mission of the Holy Spirit that she draws her origin, in accordance with the decree of God the Father” (ib., 2)

 

Nevertheless, “the mission of Christ the Redeemer, which is entrusted to the Church, is still very far from completion..…an overall view of the human race shows that this mission is still only beginning and that we mustcommit ourselves wholeheartedly to its service” (Redemptoris Missio,1).

Indeed, the following consternation is a cause of great concern: “The number of those who do not know Christ and do not belong to the Church is constantly on the increase. Indeed since the end of the council it has almost doubled. When we consider this immense portion of humanity which is loved by the Father and for whom He sent His Son, the urgency of the mission is obvious ” (ib 3).

 

Quite rightly Pope John Paul recalled in Redemptoris Missio the shout of the apostle Paul: For if I preach the Gospel that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid on me. Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel! (1Cor 9,16) (RM 1).

 

The post-synodal apostolic exhortation Ecclesia in Asia reminds us of the religious, cultural, economic and social realities of the largest continent, rich with many cultures, languages, beliefs and traditions (nn. 6-8). But it acknowldges also: “Whatever the circumstances, the Church in Asia finds herself among peoples who display an intense yearning for God. The Church knows that this yearning can only be fully satisfied by Jesus Christ, the Good News m of God for all the nations” (n. 9).

 

The post-synodal exhortation Consecrated Life emphasizes the intimate connection between the consecrated life and mission (“Consecrated for the mission”, n. 72). In fact, consecrated life shows God’s love in the world by its specific witness to the saving mission of Jesus by his total consecration to the Father. For that, even the contemplative religious communities are appreciated as a special source of strength and inspiration in mission countries (Ecclesia in Asia, 44).

 

This vision of the consecrated life as being explicitely missionary is rather new in the history of religious life and in the history of theology. But it should be familiar for the Teresian Carmel, as we will see now.

 

2. Some words of Saint Teresa

 

We have here St. Teresa’s vision, yearnings and words on the ecclesial and apostolic spirit of her Carmel, and consequently on the apostolic and missionary life of the Carmelite friars in keeping with the general apostolic spiritual ardour of the new carmel. They are well known, have been frequently quoted and have also been the subject of studies.

 

“At that time news reached me of the harm being done in France and of the havoc the Lutherans had caused (…). The news distressed me greatly, and, as though I could do something or were something, I cried to the Lord and begged Him that I might remedy so much evil. It seemed to me that I would have given a thousand lives to save one soul out of the many that were being lost there (Way of perfection 1,2). “O my Sisters in Christ, help me beg these things of the Lord. This is why he has gathered you together here. This is your vocation. These must be the business matters you’re engaged in. These must be the things you desire, the things you weep about; these must be the objects of your petitions” (Way of Perfection 1,5).

 

“I beg you to strive to be such that we might merit from God two things: First, that among the numerous learned men and religious there be many who will meet these requirements I mentioned that are necessary for this battle, and that the Lord may prepare those who do not meet them; one who is perfect will do much more than many who are not. Second, that after being placed in this combat, which, as I say, is not easy, they may receive protection from the Lord so as to remain free of the many perils there are in the world, and stop their ears in order not to hear the siren’s song on this dangerous sea” (Way of Perfection, 3,5).

 

“Four years later, or, I think, a little more than that, a Franciscan friar happened to come to see me, whose name was Fray Alonso Maldonado, a great servant of God, who had the same desires for the good of souls as I, but he was able to transfer them into deeds for which I envied him greatly. He had recently come back from the Indies. He began to tell me about the many millions of souls that were being lost there for want of Christian instruction, and before leaving he gave us a sermon, or conference, encouraging us to do penance. I was so grief stricken over the loss of so many souls that I couldn’t contain myself. I went to a hermitage with many tears. I cried out to the Lord, begging Him that He give me the means to be able to do something to win some souls to His service, since the devil was carrying away so many, and that my prayer would do some good since I wasn’t able to do anything else. I was envious of those who for love of our Lord were able to be engaged in winning souls, though they might suffer a thousand deaths. And thus it happens to me that when we read in the lives of the saints that they converted souls, I feel much greater devotion, tenderness, and envy than over all the martyrdoms they suffered. This is the inclination the Lord has given me, for it seems to me that He prizes a soul that through our diligence and prayer we gain for Him, through His mercy, more than all the services we can render Him.” (Foundations 1,7).

 

In the description of her visit to the house in Duruelo she writes that together with a life of prayer, penitence and poverty “they used to go to preach in many of the neighboring towns where the people were left without any instructions in Christian doctrine. On this account also I rejoiced that the house had been founded there. For I had been told that there was no monastery nearby nor any place from which the people could get instructions, which was a great pity” (F 14,8). The final words are revealing: “May it please His Majesty, in His goodness, that I be able to serve somehow for the very many things I owe Him, amen. For, indeed, I understood that this foundation was a much greater grace than the favour He granted me to found houses of nuns” (F 14.12).

 

3. Exceptional witnesses

 

The first exceptional witnesses in the living tradition of Teresa’s missionary spirit are Fr. Gracián and Fr. John of Jesus-Maria, the Calagurritan. Gracián, according to our records, was aware of being identified with the Teresian spirit, which he also expressly confirms regarding the missions. He sent, when Mother Teresa was still living, the first missionaries to Congo; and later to Mexico (1585), and produced several fervent writings in favor of the missions. Fr. Gracián reminds always the apostolic spirit of Mother Teresa: “From here was born the fact that we all were formed from the beginning in this vocation to go and convert the Gentiles” (Escolias al libro de la Vida de la M. Teresa de Jesús de Rivera. Teresianum, 1981, 371). “As I spoke for a long time and with such intimacy with Mother Teresa of Jesus whose spirit was of zeal and conversion of the whole world, I am still more convinced of this way ” (Peregrinación de Anastasio, dial. III).

 

Fr. John of Jesus-Maria was the explicit supporter of the charismatic maternity of St. Teresa, and therefore was the doctrinal supportor of the missional spirit of Teresian Carmel. This is his definitive argument:

“Finally we either approve the spirit of Our Mother Teresa or not; Similarly we either venerate her as our foundress or not. Undoubtedly to disapprove of her spirit is reckless and questioning her founding is extremely ungrateful. It is obvious that that our Mother Teresa wanted the missions more eagerly than martydom itself. To this end she guided her works and prayers as well as those of her people, so that whoever devotes himself to the conversion of the heretics may be crowned with success. Who can deny that her idea was to obtain with our Friars, her sons, what she could not obtain with her daughters? (Assertum seu Tractatus quo asseruntur missiones, 1603).

 

Commissioned by the 1605 Chapter to edit the Instructions for missions, again he puts the fundament in our Mother Teresa: “The others may think as they wish, but we, sons of this Mother, must either adjure her descendance or follow in her footsteps” (XIII).

 

These two friars are the exceptional witnesses in the living tradition of the missionary spirit of Holy Mother Teresa, and therefore of her religious family. In fact, John of Jesus-Maria is accepted by all as teacher and formator. Fr. Gracián, on the contrary was forgoten and absent in a great part of the history. The two had collaborated, in that very time, in the preparation of the beatification of St. Teresa, proclaiming together her missionary spirit.

 

After accepting the doctrine of Fr. John of Jesus-Maria in the communities of Italy (the “Congregation of Italy”), there followed an extraordinary expansion of the Order in Europe and the missions in the Middle East.

 

John of Jesus-Maria, in the mentioned Instructions for missions, recommends: “The religious who are destined for the salvation of the infidels should exercise their minstry in remaining in fixed stations, without going from one place to another, and procuring where they can to found priories, with permission from their superiors, to where they can withdraw as in a fort to recover their strength, in order to go out again with greater determination to conquer souls”(ch 9).

 

We, today, understand what these reservations mean, but in any case they should not be understood in a way that diminishes the Order’s missionary spirit. John of Jesus-Maria ends the paragraph by explaining “in order to go out again with greater determination to conquer souls”.

 

The tradition of the “potior pars” and the “pars posterior” of the ancient Constitutions seems to have carried weight creating some doubts or reservations and so, in fact, weakening the missionary spirit of the Order.

For this reason, we can emphasize the apportation of a witness of the twentieth century, who supported this tradition, and personally also loved the eremitical life, experienced and formulated the Order’s missionary spirit in a clear and strong way, without any doubts whatsoever.

 

4. The formulation of a contemplative and an apostle

 

The Venerable Fr Juan Vicente of Jesus Mary (1862-1943) was a missionary in India for seventeen years. Afterwards he was one of the greatest promotors of missionary spirit in Spain, with initiatives that endure still today. He had a strong contemplative vocation, he believed even that he had an eremitical vocation, and in fact was the restorer of the eremitical convent in his Province of Navarra. For that, his perception of the Teresian Carmel charism is very important as a witness of life and doctrine.

 

“The sons of St. Teresa have understood and professed always, that a Discalced Carmelite must, before all else, be profoundly contemplative, but must be decidedly active. That is to say, he must try, in all sincerity, to burn with the fire of contemplation with that love of God which is as strong as death, and from there proceed to love his neighbour for God, until he makes himself all things for all men, in order to win them all for ever. This is what makes the true Carmelite missionary. Action without contemplation would not be Carmelite; contemplation without action, would not be teresian” (“La Provincia de S. Joaquín de Navarra y su exposición de Paris”, Monte Carmelo 426, 1918, p 367).

The Teresian Carmelite is “contemplative until maximum, apostolic until you can do no more”, “the Carmelite must be a contemplative who is totally apostolic and an apostle who is totally contemplative” (“Way of meditating as taught by our Venerable Fr. St. John of the Cross”, in Mensajero de Santa Teresa, 1924-1925).

 

This double totality is the clear contribution that Fr Juan Vicente brings. We have to be totally contemplative, men of prayer, and totally apostolic and active. Not only did he have a great appreciation of the missions, but also his life and his writings on the Order’s missionary spirit clearly proved to be original in the context of this tradition.

 

In fact, these statements of the author strike us even today for their clarity and security. We are the sons of St. Teresa, and must be totally contempaltive and totally apostolic, active. We could ask: how did Fr. Juan Vicente arrive at such a strong certainty, how did he understand the unity of the two aspects of contemplative and apostolic life in a way that it seemed for him that all doubts disappeared, not to mention the conflict, present in others, even in the entire tradition of our Order? How did he live this unity himself, in such a way that his very life is an exegesis of his doctrinal understanding?

 

We must think that he did not encounter this formulation in the legal expressions of the Order. Certainly, we know the strong missionary orientation that took the Order after its restablishment in Spain. The young Juan Vicente had witnessed the departure of several Fathers, even his own teachers, to India (See Domingo Fernández de Mendiola, “Juan Vicente, exponente de la restauración misionera”, in 15 Estudios sobre el Padre Juan Vicente Zengotita, C.D., Estudios MC 17, El Monte Carmelo, Burgos 1994). In this ambient we find this text in the carmelite magazine:

 “That the Discalced Carmelites are the missionaries founded by Holy Teresa of Jesus, and that therefore to nobody else than them belongs in justice and truth the title of Teresian missionaries”: P. Gabriel de Jesús, in the Review San Juan de la Cruz, 1890, 605-607).

 

Nevertheless, the expression of this spirit in the Constitutions and the concept as a whole of the charism of the Order did not offer the clarity and determination that is evident in the words of Fr. Juan Vicente. He, anyway, does not seek his inspiration and foundation in other authorities, but begins from his own direct knowledge of St. Teresa. It is there that he finds his criterion and proof. In any case, it is at the height of his maturity that we encounter this result.

 

I believe that today we would change some terms. For example, in the context of the mentioned statements he says that the Carmelites are “hermits”, alluding to our primitive history, and also to other expressions that St. Teresa used herself. But really the apostolic life, lived and conceived so intensely by Fr. Juan Vicente, strictly speaking, cannot be reconciled with the eremitical life. It is clear that, deep down, his eremitical life refers more to a life of prayer, of contemplation. The objective eremitical life is a specific way of life, which is different from an active way of life. Juan Vicente also felt called to an eremitical vocation; none the less, being parish priest of Chattiath, and director of St. Albert’s college, in Kerala missions, and travelling throughout the cities of Spain to make others aware of the missions, dedicating himself to this through the “Obra Maxima” and other initiatives, it cannot be said, strictly speaking, that he lived any kind of eremitical life.

 

On the other hand, in the context of today’s theology, and the way we see in faith the Church today, we have to understand and explain mission in a different way, as we shall see briefly in the second part of this conference.

 

Presupposing this, the most decisive of Fr. Juan Vicente’s statements refers to the essentially carmelite missionary vocation, as drawn out directly from the writings of Holy Mother Teresa, with that unique totality and spiritual strength of her “cries and tears”.

 

About the reception of this missionary spirit in the history of the Order down the centuries, very important and worthy to be systematically studied, I do not make mention here. I am going to refer now to an official reception, approved by the church, as moulded in our Constitutions and Norms.

 

 

5. The missionary spirit in the renewed laws

 

Our renewed laws after Vatican II recognize and transmit the missionary spirit of the Teresian Carmel: “The evangelization of the world, so intimately part of the very nature of the Church, in as much as it is to be accomplished primarily through love and prayer, has always been a priority in our Order’s apostolic work. Our Holy Mother St Teresa passed on to the Order the ardent missionary zeal that burned within her heart, and it was her wish that her friars should also undertake missionary activity. This missionary zeal should be faithfully fostered, all should have the missions very much at heart, and vocations to the missions should be encouraged throughout the Order.

All our communities and provinces should sustain our missionaries by their brotherly concern, by their prayers and also with financial aid; and all should contribute to the best of their ability to promoting the growth and expansion of our Order in mission lands as well” (C 94).

 

This is what the Constitutions stated. In the Norms some basic means are prescribed:

 

“That our family may fulfil its missionary task as it should, suitable projects should be thought of in every province and followed up. The result will be that the missionary vocation will flourish and grow among us” (N 58).

A zelator for the missions is to be appointed in every province and semi-province, who, “under the direction of the provincial, will foster union between the province and the missions, he will promote the missionary spirit and will obtain personnel and material resources for our missions” (N 65).

 

So, in our renewed legislation, the mission is confirmed as a favorite work of the Order. The charismatic reason is established in St. Teresa no less, who spread the flame of the Order’s missionary zeal within her entire family, and said explicitly that she “wants the friars to undertake also missionary activity”. Within the entire carmelite family, all are to be apostolic and missionary; the friars are active missionaries.

 

As in the Constitutions generally, when they approach the fundamental aspects of the life and mission of the Order, the part relating to the missions is well formulated, soberly.

 

We can ask ourselves if this reception of the missionary spirit in the Constitutions is assumed effectively in the sociological and spiritual reality of the Order today. In an overall assessment we would have to say that there are differences. In some pastoral visits I have asked in interviews and discussions with religious about their understanding of this matter. We can say that in general the missionary spirit is not present sufficiently in the Order. It seems to me that many of those whom I spoke to in different provinces would agree that with respect to their regions, they know them better.

 

First of all, and in general, and also refering to our carmelite nuns, are the young people approaching carmel for those ecclesial and missionary reasons of a St. Therese of Lisieux or an Elizabeth of the Trinity? And, at the very source, for the charismatic proclamation of the Way of Perfection? Accordingly, what image or inspiration of our Carmelite family do masculine vocations respond to? Do they see already from the beginning the missionary spirit of the Teresian Carmel, together with a life of prayer and fraternity?

 

In formation, above all in the novitiate, there is a correct insistence on personal and community prayer, on fraternal life, and on certain activities that serve the house. Is the whole of St. Teresa’s charism truthfully developed in the novitiate? Are her cries and tears converted into acts and dedication? How much is taught of the history of our missions, and the present day situation of our missions? And, above all, how is carmel communicated: what is the charismatic criterion - is it St. Teresa or is it the previous tradition, is it the mediaeval Rule which began being eremitical then transformed into being mendicant, preserving its rather eremitical structure and mentality?

 

The Order’s vocations and students in formation have to assimilate the ecclesial charism of the Order as it is found in the Constitutions, in a balanced and integrated way, and with a force that should inspire.

 

Several or even many provinces have a direct relationship with a mission, or have some missionary presence, sometimes with a small number of religious. We consider this to be a very positive sign in each of the provinces. Not only because mission in itself is important, but also because the presence of a mission in a province can transform the awareness of the province. First of all, to open it up to the dimensions of mission, to something beyond itself. Never the less, the simple fact of having a mission, being good and positive, does not alone transform the awareness of the province. In fact, there are missionaries who feel more or less left to themselves, with the impression that the mission is something only for them; it is something that they like, it is their particular vocation, but without the province, as such, being involved personally . Something changes in this feeling when there is a vocations animator who helps with material resources in the province. This rather ambiguous situation can happen in our provinces.

 

II. Sense and actuality of mission

 

  1. The soteriologial principle

 

The expressions, which we have heard, for example, from Saint Teresa about the many souls which are being lost, reveal, as is known, the theology and the piety, which were at the basis of the missionary and apostolic charity, and are generally the basis of the missionary activity of the church, in the past. This theology necessarily generates a special urgency in people, such as in the case of St. Francis Xavier, or our missionaires who in the Congo in the space of a few years baptized 40,000 people. Not only this, within this theology it is surprising and even incomprehensible that religious who are aware of it do not feel called to a missionary awareness, in the way that Gracian and John of Jesus & Mary did.

 

For our object here, I want to try to indicate synthetically the position of mission in our ecclesial awareness today.

 

Vatican II stated “those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation” (LG 16, cf. AG 7).

This is a sign of the optimism of the Second Vatican Council, which redeemed misson from a hopeless darkness that had dominated for centuries, and opened us to new horizons of revelation and evangelization.

Among these new horizons I would like to mention two in particular: the relationship between evangelization with the historical and earthly reality of man, and the relationship between Christian faith and other religions.

 

The principle which moved the missions throughout our history was that of the salvation of souls, which is to say, their transcendental and eternal salvation. The missionaries certainly had in mind the needs of the individual and the people as a whole, and promoted good works, above all the promotion of education, but the salvation, which was most pressing, was that of the soul. Charitable works always pertain to Christian activity.

The missionary encyclicals are more and more concerned with the themes of poverty, justice and development, though the decree Ad Gentes does not dedicate much attention to this theme. The Second Vatican Council, with Gaudium et Spes, dedicated an entire document to earthly realities, and with this led to an official appraisal of salvation history. Especially since Evangelii nuntiandi, we accept as natural and obvious that evangelization is something total that affects the individual and society, and that missionary activity must understand the situation of the the poor and their dignity, in spite of the different theological explanations of this general conviction.

 

Salvation is for us something historical and integral. It is the Kingdom of God, as in the Gospels, such as Christ himself experienced, first of all in his relationship with the Father, which constituted a transcendent relationship and therefore transcendent salvation. At the same time, and for this same reason, the Father’s relationship with man, as it is manifested, for example, in the Sermon on the mount, and by the good samaritan or by the 25th chapter of the Gospel according to St. Mathew; and by all the healing work of Jesus, who, annointed by the Spirit, went around doing good. The Kingdom of God is this dual and unique relationship between the Father and humankind.

 

Therefore, charitable works, which are always necessary, the development of humankind and society, and the awareness and respect of individuals and societies acquire a very decisive importance. It is the historical and eternal dignity of the children of God. This present and eternal love is manifested and fulfiled as revelation and urgency and an appeal in Jesus Christ.

 

Regarding the fact of the spread of globalization in today’s world, we can underline different characterisitics. First, there is the economic factor, with its obvious profit and competitiveness. How does “political charity” develop as a missionary service, as a economic expression of mission? How does the economical aspect of development promote the dignity of individuals and societies? Secondly, the globalization, though it has its ambiguities and dangers, also offers the chance to know and transfer progress to serve people in distant regions.

 

Particularly the ability to comunicate opens up new paths which allow people to encounter one another, and which could, in time, dissolve the dangers of conflict between religions and cultures.

Globalization and wellbeing form a new kind of person, who, thanks to technical facilities, can enjoy the goods of the earth, but with a real danger that a religious sense and a sense of solidarity will disappear.

 

7. The value of the religions

Another factor which has changed the theology of mission is the Church’s present understanding of the value of other religions. It is an understanding that has gradually progressed since Vatican II: other religions are to be seen as a cultural enrichment, as an expression of the people, as a natural religious aspiration, as places of salvation and finally, as vehicles of saving grace. Whatever the concrete understanding and explanation of the relationship between different religions and grace and salvation can be, today we see the need to dialogue with other religions in order to announce the gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

“The catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She has a high regard for the manner of life and conduct, the precepts and doctrines which, although differing in many ways from her own teaching, nevertheless often reflect a ray of that truth which enlightens all men. Yet she proclaims and is in duty bound to proclaim without fail, Chirst who is the way, the truth an the life (Jn 6:6). In him, in whom God reconciled all things to himself (2 Cor 5:18-19), men find the fulness of their religious life.

The Church, therefore, “urges her sons to enter with prudence and charity into discussion and collaboration with members of other religions. Let Christians, while witnessing to their own faith and way of life, acknowledge, preserve and encourage the spiritual and moral truths found among non-Christians, also their social life and culture” (NA 2).

 

The missionary urge of past centuries arose from eternal salvation, or, negatively, from eternal damnation, as we have already mentioned. For ourselves, with all the tradition of the gospels, our sense of mission has remained firm. However, without the “despair” of eternal damnation which missionaries in the past used. Now, on the other hand, they speak of the salvation of the entire person, with a new importance for the history of salvation of the children of God. But this does not diminish the urgency and the decisive importance of the proclamation of Jesus Christ: to know and love Jesus Christ and the Father in the Spirit is another way of expressing and understanding salvation. This double and unique reality: the loving knowledge of the gift of Jesus Christ and the realization of the historical, present and earthly dignity of the children of God is the meaning of mission. Therefore, it has lost nothing of its present importance and urgency. If people say that the knowledge of Jesus Christ is not important it means to say that Jesus Christ is not important after all. But to know Jesus Christ is in itself salvation. Not to know him is an immense loss, independentally of personal responsibility and of eternal salvation. Whoever believes in Jesus Christ (the Church) cannot but proclaim him as the greatest good news for humankind.

 

8. New missionary urgency

 

In Novo Millennio Ineunte John Paul II makes this admission and this urgent invitation: “Even in countries evangelized many centuries ago, the reality of a ‘Christian society’ which, amid all the frailties which have always marked human life, measured itself explicitly on Gospel values, is now gone. Today we must courageously face a situation which is becoming increasingly diversified and demanding, in the context of "globalization" and of the consequent new and uncertain mingling of peoples and cultures” (n.40). As a result the Pope calls for a new missionary activity, in which four aspects can be highlighted: a) it requires a revival of the original impulse, the ardour of Pentecost, b) it cannot be the task of a few “specialists” but rather the responsibility of all the members of the people of God: c) inculturation must characterize the “multiform face” of the Church; d) working for young people becomes something of the utmost importance, because they are going to be the protagonists of the future.

 

In Redemptoris Missio, 1990, as I mentioned at the beginning, the Pope called attention to this fact: “The number of those who do not know Christ and do not belong to the Church is constantly on the increase. Indeed, since the end of the Council it has almost doubled” (n.3). But at the same time he indicated other reasons for an urgent and and new misssionary ardour: the collapse of oppressive ideologies; the opening of frontiers and the formation of a more united world; the affirmation among peoples of the gospel values (peace, justice, brotherhood, concern for the most needy); and a kind of soulless economic and technical development (n.3). After all this it can be optimistically confirmed that: “God is opening before the Church the horizons of a humanity more fully prepared for the sowing of the Gospel” (ib).

 

9. Asian Carmelites

 

“Those who believe in Christ are still a small minority in this vast and most populous continent. Yet far from being a timid minority, they are lively in faith, full of the hope and vitality which only love can bring. In their humble and corageous way, they have influenced the cultures and societies of Asia, especially the lives of the poor and helpless, many of whom do not share the Catholic faith. They are an example to Christians everywhere to be eager to share the treasure of the Good News” (Ecclesia in Asia 50).

 

I wish to apply very specially these words to our Carmelite brothers in Asia. Let us recall that Fr. Gracián sending the missionaries to Mexico had long and large perspectives for the missions: from Mexico it was the plan to pass to China, Philippines and East Indies.

The present Asian Carmelites have now the challenge and the grace to bring the Good News of Christ, according to the Carmelite experience, to their inmense geographic and human area. I invite them to open the minds and hearts to the spiritual horizons of holy Mother Teresa and moreover to the geographic horizons of her ideal son, the Father Gracián. I do feel that Carmel is arriving in your countriesto its moment, to the biblical kairos.

 

 
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