The eighth Provincial Conference of the Polish Province, which took place February 5-10, 2018, was held at the Domus Mater in Krakow. The themes dealt with by the Conference embraced three important areas that characterize our life and mission in the Congregation, in the Church and in the world: “vocation – consecration – mission”.
From the beginning, the participants of the Conference were guided by the awareness of the fundamental respect for historical memory, the source of our future. Only by keeping us constantly anchored to our “yesterday” and our “today” can we create the foundations for our “tomorrow”. All of this takes on particular significance as seen in the context of the 90th anniversary of the presence of the Dehonians in Poland.
The themes of the Conference and their development made participants aware of the need to persevere the youthfulness and vitality of our vocation, in the individual and community dimension, in our mission, and in the need to return to the Source, that is, to the Person of Jesus Christ. This invitation is contained in John, in which the inspired author causes us to “return to the first love” (Rev 2: 1-7), that is, to anchor life in Jesus Christ and his Gospel.
The response of each called is interwoven with the rays of Jesus’ “gaze of love.” Everyone should remember this first glance and return to the One who has been and continues to be the source of our vocation and mission. Each of us should often reflect on the mystery of his vocation, especially on his beginning, on the beauty of being a disciple, who as a simple fisherman becomes a fisher of men, an apostle.
In the consecration “the first love” is above all fidelity to the charism and to the vows, specifying our life as “Dehonian,” focused on Christ and his Heart, open on the Cross. Caritas Christi urget nos: this is expressed in community life, in fraternal and authentic love that we are called to build in the different situations of life, to be always in Christ, “for better or for worse”.
The inestimable help for the realization of the mission in the community and with the community is the care of one’s personal, spiritual and intellectual development through, among other things, active participation in ongoing formation. The personal care of this dimension helps to prevent possible crises and represents the way to go in times of difficulty.
“Returning to the first love” in the context of mission, means rediscovering yourself as a “gift for others”. The attraction for the Love of the Heart of Jesus can renew the personal love of every religious for the Lord and foster the renewed welcome of the gifts already received and be encouraged to continue to follow the path that leads to authentic holiness.