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Put Out Into Deep

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God is Love. To believe in this God of unconditional Love is a lived experience in each person and in each generation everywhere on the globe and all different cultures and historical periods. In the beginning of the nineteenth century we notice in the south of the Netherlands a strong movement to renew and to actualise the Catholic faith in the concrete circumstances of poverty and political neglect. In this way the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity Daughters of Mary and Joseph was founded on 7 July 1820 in ’s Hertogenbosch. Similar to several other congregations in the same period St Vincent de Paul was their principal source of inspiration, determined their charism and remained at the centre of their spirituality. Religious life is essentially a lived experience of faith in which concrete persons touched by the incomprehensible Love of God dedicate their life in total surrender to this Love. As a result, they obey to the divine calling to be wholly transformed in love and to become docile instruments of God’s overwhelming Charity towards all vulnerable persons - young and old – their brothers and sisters who are stripped of their human dignity, humiliated and enslaved in many subtle ways. In this Vincentian congregation this divine vocation of Charity was originally implemented as a specific service to the education of blind and deaf children but widened to the care of other forgotten groups like victims of trafficking in women and discrimination or subordination of women. Love may sometimes be an easy word used for all kinds of emotional bonds, but the tradition of religious life highlights how ‘love’ is the continuous journey of detachment transforming self-concern and self-love into pure love. From a human rational perspective ‘pure love’ is an impossible fata morgana, leading to extreme forms of asceticism and often over-activity, but in mature religious life this divine vocation of purity is a contemplative way of receiving the grace of God’s Charity in their ‘works of mercy’. God seizes these mature religious in their whole being and transforms their limited and poor activity in his divine working beyond all human possibilities. In this way there exists an essential unity between the love of God and the love of one’s fellow man, because the religious becomes empty of herself so that God may use her capacity of love as the channel to love himself and her fellow humans. These religious are no longer tormented by their inordinate self-will to be ‘good’ and to do ‘good works’ (I have to … ), but arrive at the spiritual freedom of their total availability to the working of God’s Charity in them. The vocation of Charity is not limited to the personal journey of the religious or to the charism of the congregation, but radiates inevitably to all people whom they will encounter or serve. They are pioneers of a new world where charity and care for each human person replaces egoism and aggression to the more vulnerable. Their vocation is not a theory beautifully formulated in poetic terms but the lived experience in the midst of a harsh reality. Their religious life has no other purpose than to inspire others by their implicit and explicit example. Their transformation in Charity may evoke in others the ardent desire to be transformed in the same way by the grace of God. They do not simply help others in their urgent needs, but they contemplate in them their divine dignity so that they may become the persons whom God loves and clothes in his divine amiability.
ISBN 978-979-21-6696-5
Terbit 2020
Halaman 240
Berat 840
Dimensi 210 x 210