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An Advent Reflection by our FMM sisters in Nador, Morocco   versione testuale

for the First Sunday of Advent, 2017
 
Sisters Fidela, Rosy and Lupita, fmm - community from Nador, Morocco
We work with the migrants
 
As we begin this enriching time of Advent, the liturgy invites us to prepare our hearts for the coming of the Lord Jesus who "came as a little child for our salvation", (1Cel, 100).    It is an invitation to prepare the way for the arrival of the Prince of the Peace so necessary for our world so traumatized by violence, hatred and bitterness. It is an invitation to gaze on the world with the eyes of God, a gaze full of tenderness and mercy for all of God’s creatures.
 
The readings for this first Sunday of Advent remind us of God’s faithfulness to His Covenant:  He makes of us His children in Jesus Christ the Lord and disciples bearing responsibly the Love we have received.
 
The reading from Prophet Isaiah begins "You, LORD, are our father, our redeemer you are named forever.” Although the chosen people were not always faithful to this covenant, they never failed to recognize the salvation that God worked for them, even in times of blindness and error:  "Yet, O LORD, you are our father; we are the clay and you the potter we are all the work of your hands.” (Isaiah 64:8)
 
Paul reminds the Corinthians of how they have been enriched by the many graces received from God the Father through Christ Jesus and he assures them that this is the same Lord who will give them the strength to stand firm until the end.  This community of faith is subjected to all kinds of temptations in a culture that seeks wisdom, truth, beauty and happiness in all that is short-lived and illusory; a reality which is no stranger to our own experience of life today!   We are children of God in and through the Son and we share in His life.  It is  His constancy which sustains us:  "He is faithful". 
 
Sr. Rosy with a member of the association
and one boy in the mountain. 
 
The Gospel invites us to a watchful attentiveness and urges us to firmly distance ourselves from all that distracts and stifles us.   Only in this way, can we discover in our lives and in our world where the Lord is being brought to birth and where He longs to be born thus making possible the coming of his Kingdom here and now.
 
In the light of this word of God which enlightens our presence in the midst of a Muslim people, we feel called to seek our way forward into an interreligious and cultural dialogue.
 
We long to serve together in the midst of this people of faith, accepting and appreciating an image of God which is so different from ours.   We want to have an attitude of watchful attentiveness so as to recognize the goodness, beauty and truth expressed in and through this faith and to avoid undue criticism of it.
 
Our desire calls us to an attitude of unceasing effort and personal conversion so as to be open to the dynamic and invigorating movements of the Spirit, who unceasingly seeks unity in diversity.  
 
Pope Francis encourages us:
 
"Three basic areas, if properly linked to one another, can assist in this dialogue: the duty to respect one’s own identity and that of others, the courage to accept differences, and sincerity of intentions.
 
The duty to respect one's own identity and that of others, because true dialogue cannot be built on ambiguity or a willingness to sacrifice some good for the sake of pleasing others. The courage to accept differences, because those who are different, either culturally or religiously, should not be seen or treated as enemies, but rather welcomed as fellow-travellers, in the genuine conviction that the good of each resides in the good of all. Sincerity of intentions, because dialogue, as an authentic expression of our humanity, is not a strategy for achieving specific goals, but rather a path to truth, one that deserves to be undertaken patiently, in order to transform competition into cooperation." (Pope Francis, Al-Azhar Conference Centre, Cairo, Friday, 28 April 2017).
 
We live in a violent world and we are overcome by the tragedies which seem to bombard us day after day.   This can overwhelm and oppress us preventing us from seeing the signs of life around us, the presence of God who walks with His people and who suffers with those who are suffering. 
 
Sr. Lupita, fmm with the migrants in the house called "Alegria" 
 
 
Our dream is to be signs of unity, signs of hope learning how to live in gratuitous Love which welcomes difference and impels us to truly respect our brother and sister with whom we live our daily lives. We join in the dream of our brother Francis of Assisi about minority, who knew how to welcome other believers, "brothers who go to land of Saracens, who can live among them spiritually... not caught in disputes or discussions, but be subject to all human creature for God and confess that they are Christians." (1 Rnb 16, 5), each day learning how to love better, the one and only compassionate and merciful God from which all proceed.
 

God is faithful to his promises,

who does not abandon the work of his hands

and we respond to him while we remain awake here and now. 

 

 

Sr. Fidela, fmm with women migrants and a baby
 


 
 
LET US PRAY
 
God Faithful to His Covenant
 
Blessed are you, Lord
You have walked with your people and you continue doing it
You are a simple God, merciful, patient and slow to anger.
 
Blessed be Lord for accepting your people with their limits,
but also with their trust, their doubts, their going forward,
their looking backward, their wonderful efforts,
their simplicity, their cries, their joy and their discouragements.

Your people know their frailty and their sin
"But let itself be modeled by the Divine Potter"
And it comes out of its crisis always strengthened in its faith.
 
A people that is a witness
A people that perseveres in prayer
trust and in thanksgiving
Amen.
 
( Prions en Eglise p. 38. 108, n° 372, mois décembre 2017 )
 
 

Srs. Fidela Borquez, Rosy Xavier, Lupita Zuñiga, fmm

 
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