Audacity to Love - OL- GS Carisma

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Do you know the interesting story of salmon? The more you discover about this species the more it emerges as an example of determination, audacity, strength, courage and resistance.

Salmon are born in rivers and stay in fresh water when they are small. As they develop they go back to the sea, where they live and reach their maturity.  Coming nearer to reproduction time, they return by the same route to reach the exact place of their birth and there they spawn.

It is a difficult journey. They go over hundreds of kilometres, face difficulties, rapids and waterfalls. They need to disentangle themselves from the aquatic plants that try to hold them back; they overcome swirls, rocks, fallen trees and many types of obstacles. It is said that salmon do not eat anything once they have started this journey up the river. Only their instinct gives them strength to fight against the current. But once they reach their place of birth, the female salmon lay their eggs and the males fertilise them.  Then, exhausted they can die as they are now fruitful.

This story about salmon can help us understand the dictionary definition of AUDACITY : the courage or capacity to do something risky, or a value that one puts into practice with boldness and nerve, in favour of a great cause or objective.

In your own life, for what cause or objective is it worth going against the current?

If it was possible to write the story of God, it could be entitled: "A story of endless audacity" or better still "The audacity to love unconditionally". But in the end is this not what Scripture is telling us from the beginning? « God is love » (1 Jn 4:7-16), for God cannot do anything else except radiate, extend and spread the fragrance of God’s love. And God does it beyond measure in every moment and every circumstance. God’s final word is always love. Faced with the continuous infidelities of human beings, our God always answers like this:

"That is why I am going to lure her and lead her out into the wilderness and speak to her heart… I will make a covenant for her on that day, with the wild animals; with the birds of heaven and the creeping things of the earth...I will break bow, sword and battle in the country. I will betroth you to myself for ever, betroth you with integrity and justice, with tenderness and love; I will betroth you to myself with faithfulness, and you will come to know the Lord ."I" (Hosea 2: 14-16; 18-20).

According to St. John Eudes "The most remarkable thing God created outside of the Godself was to form Jesus in the  womb of the Virgin"
. So we could say that the incarnation expresses the greatest audacity of God’s love: "For God so loved the world that God gave God’s only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life." (Jn 3: 16).

Jesus took on our human condition and sent by the Spirit of God revealed the Good News to the poor and liberation for the oppressed.  For the people of that time and today, what Jesus said was unimaginable, it was almost an insult: blessed are those who live humbly, those who act without selfishness, those who do not dominate, those who respect and defend life in the universe, those who are persecuted…  for theirs is the kin-dom of heaven (Mt 5: 3-11). Among the consequences endured by Jesus in living like this, was the suspicion of the scribes, the irritation of the doctors of the law, the rejection of the leaders of the temple, ultimately leading to his execution on the cross.

Apostles, prophets, saints, and martyrs of all times experienced the love of God, as the ignited flame that illumines and consumes; they felt themselves urged to imitate Christ with courage and bravery, risking everything, including their lives. We all know people who are giving brave and risky responses to the urgent calls of God, born from his passionate love.

Saint Mary Euphrasia was one of these witnesses: "Together with lofty and great ideas, which she pursues with a constancy nothing can shake, her courage grows stronger when facing obstacles.  Her mind is full of vast projects, her heart devoured by that holy ambition to do good which consumes great souls."
It is enough to name a few examples: the construction of the tunnel, the responsibilities given to very young Sisters, the foundation of one hundred and ten houses, sending Sisters on missions with very little means and much uncertainty.  

What is the story of your "own courage/boldness/audaciousness"?

In what way is it similar to the audacity of God and Jesus?

How does the audacity of St. John Eudes and St. Mary Euphrasia inspire you?

Do you feel that your courage/boldness/audaciousness has been and is being fruitful?

The well-known theologian, Urs Hans von Balthasar made a pointed comment on the lack of audacity in the Church: "At the end of the second century, a frost fell on the (prophetic) spirit of the Church and has remained there until now".

Concerned about recovering Jesus’ prophetic meaning, Pope Benedict XVI invited believers to: "spread the Gospel and bear witness to it, conquering fears and inertia, so that they can give account of their hopes to those who would ask them, with audacity and wisdom" even in "difficult and dangerous circumstances". He also said that «the newness of the proclamation does not consist primarily in the use of original methods or techniques, but rather in being filled with the Holy Spirit and letting ourselves be guided by this Spirit.»
The same Pope, through his resignation from the office of the papacy, gave a great example of this audacity, wisdom and prophetic sense, together with a conviction that he would « entrust the Church to the care of the Supreme Shepherd, Our Lord Jesus Christ »

Inbued with the strength of faith, we are asked to risk; to reach out to places where we can make the earth fruitful, as we wade up the river of life and fight against the current. Risk "being" more than "doing".  Take the risk of believing and hoping and trusting. Dare to keep awake, to listen to different voices, to break out of the circles that keep us inert, to fight against paralysing fears, to confront difficult circumstances wisely, to learn to walk in the dark, to loose one’s feeling of security and welcome prophetic gestures.

We can take the flame as a symbol to remind us of the audacity to which our zeal challenges us. "Let the flame make us aware of the fire that burns deep within us, a fire that embraces us with all our successes and failures, hopes and fears, joys and anxieties, good moments and not-so-good ones.  It is a Divine love that invites us to move confidently and creatively into our unimaginable future, the future of our Earth, and the future of the whole Universe."

How is your life of courage, bravery and inner fire responding to the Christian cause of extending the " Kin-dom" of God?

What fears are you discovering that might be holding you back?

What is your sense that Jesus might be calling you to something urgent and audacious? What does he say to you? What do you say to him?

You might like to pray with 1 Jn 4:7-16 "Let us love one another since love comes from God…"

We ask the Lord to give the fire of his presence to each one of us, to the group, to the Congregation; this fire that transforms, renews, illuminates others and becomes strength and newness for the present and the future.

If you wish, you can go into Supplementary Tools to deepen your reflection with photos, videos etc.

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