José Ramón Díaz-Torremocha
(Conference of Santa María la Mayor - Guadalajara, Spain)
Surely most of us who want to devote ourselves to works that relieve the suffering of others, of our neighbours and beyond, have at some time felt that a friend was "pushing" us from above. I am by no means a theologian, so I apologize in advance if I write, in all good faith, some theological nonsense.
As I grow older, I notice this help more frequently and with deep humility. It is also true that, as I get older, the number of my friends "upstairs" is increasing, until one day I will be one of them, as I hope. Fortunately, most of my friends throughout my life have been predominantly Christians and members of the Conferences of St. Vincent de Paul. This reality, together with the mercy of God in which I firmly believe, makes me trust in their closeness and in their help, in the Communion of Saints. I do not ask for the intercession of any of them in particular, that would be to claim an ecclesial capacity that I do not have. But, addressing the "totum revolutum" of all of them as a whole, someone is certainly taking care of this friend who is not yet among them and remains in the militant and pilgrim Church. A friend, a servant, who tries to fulfil, with little fortune at times -as I recognise- the Evangelical Recommendations.
Among them, allow me, dear reader, to recall a good priest who is already in the Church "upstairs", among those who are already in the presence of God or at least have a glimpse of Him, "far away", as they finish purifying themselves to be received into the Triumphant Church. That priest used to say that "sometimes we, as a Church, we are doing badly because we were not used to sharing God's grace". I think he was absolutely right. The gifts that the Good Lord gives us and the graces we receive, with which we are even born, we must examine ourselves in order to be aware of having received them. We do not always have access to this awareness, this knowledge, and often we do not even try.
It is undoubtedly of great difficulty to get to know ourselves, because this knowledge implies knowing the good and also the defects that come with us. To the latter, to the knowledge of our defects, we are unfortunately not very prone. However, we have to know ourselves as crudely as possible and, as Saint Augustine advised us: "know thyself, accept thyself, improve thyself". That is the way. When you know your strengths and your weaknesses with ease, you are in a position to serve the world in the best possible way. You will be able to serve better, which, in the end, is what we all came into this world for, but with a stronger duty to improve ourselves as followers of Christ: the Christians.
I remember them all, so many friends from whom I have received so much in the spiritual and in the purely human field...
Apart from this monthly meeting with my friends of the world, I would like to state that I do not understand what happened at the International Assembly of the Conferences. But I know very well that Evil can never be stronger than Good, even if it sometimes seems so in the short term. Let us pray and let each one of us be aware of our personal responsibility before the Good Lord, responsibility of all of us.
To Christ, with and through Mary.