To all the brothers and sisters of the Oases – Realities of
Koinonia John the Baptist
Christ is risen!
Remember the long way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years...
- cf. Dt 8:2a
This verse interprets very well for us what our attitude of faith should be: remembering what we were, and remembering what God has done for us. Our faithfulness depends on this memory. This is why the biblical text continuously invites us to observe the commands of the Lord and to walk in his ways with holy fear (cf. Dt 8:6).
I think that faithfulness originates in this retroactive gaze, full of truth and humility. To remember how we were and what we have received opens us to gratitude, heals us of every pretence, makes us strong in difficulty and confirms us in the hope of promises being fulfilled. Blindness to what and how we were before the Lord only produces rebellion, delusion and division. It makes us bitter and pretentious, and leads us to despair because we no longer trust in God, and rely instead on our own fleeting strength.
The Advent season does nothing other than remind us that it is God who decided to come to meet us offering Himself. We don’t merit anything. If God had not visited us, we would not have been set free from our sins. Every one of us has been visited through the community, and in community we continue to be visited by the gift of God. To make ourselves aware of this all we need to do is to pause and look at how we were. If we were better off before this encounter then it makes sense to immediately abandon this walk. However, if we are now better off, it is worth continuing.
To be faithful depends on us keeping one eye on what we have received, and being grateful for it.
More than ever, we need to recuperate a mysticism of remembrance, in the same way that Mary treasured and remembered the promises she received in her heart, attentive to the events in her life (cf. Lk 2:51).
Blindness not only provokes abandon but always, as an ultimate consequence, provokes abandon full of false justifications whose sign is accusing our brothers and sisters. “Look how bad he is; so, it’s right to walk away…” is the classic phrase that silences the heart from asking us to recognise the gift of God that we have received. We need eye drops to anoint our eyes not to see the future but to look to the past. In fact, a vision without memory is idolatry.
Advent is an ideal moment to pause, to look, to give thanks and to regain strength to continue our Koinonia journey.
I am not suggesting acts of penance. I know that everyone will be able to choose the most suitable ones for themselves. Instead, I suggest that every day you remember how you were and what God has done in you.
I wish all of you a good memory.
Plzeň-Valcha, 23rd November, 2018
Fr. Alvaro Grammatica