Thursday, August 18, 2016

Terrorism and Communications: An Invitation to Pauline Reparation

This Saturday we celebrate the 102nd anniversary of the Founding of the Pauline Family. It's always a significant day for us, and this year our Superior General has invited us to make it even more deeply significant. 
As Paulines, we not only "use" communications technologies, we are called to consecrate the world of communications, and to offer reparation for the sins that are committed because of the misuse of communications. It is easy to think of the more explicit ways in which human dignity is threatened or undermined through exploitative media. But in her letter, Sister Anna Maria reminded us that " Experts have said that 'a specific feature of terrorism is that it is a communications phenomenon'."
Somehow that reality never hit me in my Pauline gut before. The ideological corruption of  minds and the physical destruction of lives, property and social structures that we have witnessed in an increasing number of events this year call for a supernatural intervention. We are called to make specific reparation for communications that (in the words of a Pauline prayer) "warp the minds, the hearts and the activities of men and women," as well as for all the death, destruction and displacement that has been "spread throughout the world by the misuse of the media."

I am sharing a part of our Superior General's anniversary letter in order to invite you to share this August 20 day of prayer with us: seems that in these days more and more space is being given to every kind of violence, to frequent and sudden terrorist attacks, to the mass migration of peoples: phenomena to which we cannot and must not remain indifferent…. It is truly a challenging time–one that can be compared to the period of “serious upheaval” (Alberione's memoirs) during which, with extraordinary faith, our Founder laid the foundations for what would become the Pauline Family. The date was August 1914, the eve of a horrendous world war.
But for the Pauline Congregations, tragic moments such as this have also been occasions for growth in faith, in reciprocal communion, in a spirit of atonement, in a more conscious apostolic participation “in the many sufferings of the world” (Mother Thecla).
Today too, the response to the darkness that surrounds us is faith and a reinvigorated witness to communion. Let us ask ourselves: “How can we, all together, try to conquer evil with good? How can we make our voice heard in this time in which millions of our brothers and sisters are suffering?” The Pope reminded us that “our response to a world at war has a name: its name is fraternity, its name is brotherhood, its name is communion, its name is family.”
 We have a tremendous responsibility to pray that communications will offer people increased opportunities to meet one another and manifest solidarity in our divided and war-torn world. And since our
230 communities extend from the Far East to the Far West, from Australia and Papua New Guinea to Hawaii, we are assured of 24 hours of uninterrupted prayer before Jesus in the Eucharist. Let us spend the day in active and heartfelt mercy toward one another, putting into practice the invitation of the Apostle Paul:
Let no offensive talk pass your lips, only what is good and helpful to the occasion, so that it brings a blessing to those who hear it. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, for that Spirit is the seal with which you were marked for the day of final liberation. Have done with all spite and bad temper, with rage, insults and slander, with evil of any kind. Be generous to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:29ff.).

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