Holiness is for you too!
True holiness, regardless of age, is to discover one's own mission in the world and to give the best of oneself!
In the European countries of the Northern Hemisphere, school holidays are now only a distant memory. Schoolchildren, college students and high school students take up "the collar". If I said that this is not the case for seniors because they always have free time, they might be rightly outraged and would certainly list the tasks and responsibilities they take on a daily basis. And rightly so!
Seniors give time and talents by serving others - in families, parishes and local communities. They pass on to the younger generations life experiences and values that remain forever inscribed in the heart of the human being and which are based on the word of God.
In September, the catechistic year resumes. Many communities resume their activities in September with the intention of deepening their human and Christian formation. As disciples of Christ, the main purpose of our commitment is to respond to God's call for holiness and to help those whom Providence has put in our path. Today, the Lord sends us an invitation full of hope and optimism: "Be holy, for I am holy"(Le 11:11; 1 Peter 1:16). The conciliar dogmatic Constitution of the Church clearly confirms this call: "All the faithful, endowed with so many means of salvation, in all situations of life and in all conditions, are called by the Lord, each according to his own path, to perfect holiness, as the Father himself is perfect" (Lumen gentium 11). Each of us receives from God various capacities, charisms to go towards this horizon of holiness.
The work of salvation, which is the very essence of Christianity, is accessible to every human being, above all in the community of the Church. This is the ordinary path of the Church; pastoral activity must help everyone to embark on the path of holiness.
To carry out the program of activities of the LAI teams, I invite you to find creative inspirations, among others in the life of the liturgical year, in papal teaching and in the "small" traditions of the local communities and parish communities.
Active participation in the liturgical year - with special recognition for the Lord's celebrations: Christmas, Easter and the Sunday Eucharist - guarantees us to reread the mysteries of the salvation of Jesus Christ. The liturgy of the Church shapes our daily lives, our decisions and our choices!
St. John Paul II was united with the elders through the experience of suffering and sickness. Pope Francis, in one of his meetings with grandparents, said, speaking of himself, that he was one of the elderlies. He told the elderly:"You are an important presence, your experience is valuable, it is essential to foresee the future with hope and responsibility. Your maturity and wisdom, accumulated over the years, can help the youngest, by supporting their path of growth, when they begin to open up in the future, when they seek their way. The elderly, indeed, testify that even in the worst trials, one must never lose confidence in God and in a better future. They are like trees that continue to give fruit despite the weight of the years. They can make an original contribution to a society rich in values and the affirmation of the culture of life. (Words of Pope Francis at the Association of Older Workers, Oct. 15, 2016). These words define in a certain sense an axis of agreement between the members of LAI and the current successor of Saint Peter.
Integrating the "personal roots" and the habits of the ancients into the organized activity of LAI members becomes a valuable complement in the understanding of the reality in which we live. Memory is a constitutive part of the discovery of the truth about cultures, societies, nations and especially about Christianity.
On the threshold of the new year, I wish all LAI members perseverance and patience to testify that every stage of human existence is a gift from God, that even marked by old age, life has its beauty and meaning. True holiness, regardless of age, is to discover one's own mission in the world and to give the best of oneself!
Father Roman Chromy
Spiritual Advisor to LAI's European Coordination