In a letter on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Saint Mary Spirituality Center (SMSC), Pope Francis stressed that the way of this type of center must be none other than that of the Gospel, recalling “the harm that ideologization of a Marxist hue did to some Latin American Centers in the 70s. “
The Saint Mary Spirituality Center is an ecclesial community founded in 1972 by laywoman Inés Ordoñez de Lanús. In 1998 it was recognized by the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires as a private Association of the Faithful. According to its Webpage, SMCS’ mission is to “accompany people journeying to their heart, to discover in God the meaning and end of their lives.”
The Way of the Gospel
“I rejoice at the celebration of the 50 years of the Spirituality Center. The Lord must be thanked for this gift. You ask me to write something on the Center. I would like to gratify you in this, and I write here what comes to mind,” says the Pope.
So the Holy Father indicated that “the way of a Spirituality Center must be none other than the Gospel. Simple, clear, daily, following in Jesus’ steps . . . and also offering the way of ‘comprehension’ of the Gospel (which is not the same as ‘understanding’). In the following of Jesus, there are simultaneously lights and shadows, clarity and obscurity, joy and sorrow . . . And to move well in this ‘simultaneity,’ continual dialogue is necessary with the Holy Spirit, light and love, Creator of differences and, at the same time, Creator of harmony. “He is harmony.’ The Holy Spirit is ‘the soul’ of a Spirituality Center.”
“Something else, which the Holy Father pointed out, is “the style.” “The closer it is to ‘Jesus’ style’ the more authentic it will be. And Jesus’ style was a simple, concrete style, with the rhythm and ‘music’ with which the people expressed themselves. Concrete and faithful to the roots received: those of revelation and of culture. And, in this connection, we can speak of Jesus’ ‘originality.’ He didn’t pact or enter the game of the ideologies of His time: Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, Zealots. He distinguished Himself clearly from them and opted for His originality.”
“And a Spirituality Center must opt for the originality of the Gospel. It will no doubt be tempted by one or another ideology. In its journey of maturity, it will have to overcome these temptations and always ‘situate itself again’ in the originality of the Gospel. Remember, for example, the harm that the ideologization of a Marxist hue did to some Latin American Centers in the 70s,” continued the Pope.
He also pointed out that “everything must be organized from this center, from this nucleus. The way of following Jesus, the harmony is the work of the Spirit, to Whom we must be open. A necessary ‘method’ is the capacity of discernment on the way. And this capacity is what will mark the rhythm and ensure the right way.”
“Inés, this is what issued from my heart. Your sense of humor makes me laugh, to think of your 75 . . . ‘Don’t forget your mother and your grandmother,’ Paul said to Timothy. Keeping before the figure of your mother (whom I remember very well) you can promise yourself a ‘mature youth’ of more years,” said the Bishop of Rome affectionately.
“I ask you, please, to pray for me. I do so for you,” concluded the Successor of Peter.
Translation by Virginia M. Forrester