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BISHOP

Most Rev. Oswald Lewis
Bishop of Jaipur

2018 Easter Message By Most Rev. Oswald Lewis

BISHOP’S MESSAGE- MAY 2018


May Devotion is one of the most popular Marian devotions that expresses our love, affection and faithfulness towards our heavenly Mother. As the month begins, children and adults are filled with joy and enthusiasm to stand before the Grotto to recite the Rosary. Others will gather in the family to recite the family Rosary. Books on May Devotion help us to reflect on the mystery of our salvation and the role of Mother Mary in the mystery of redemption. Each day gives us a new insight into the life of our Mother. Her deep faith in God, acceptance of the will of God, her humility, trust charity, service, availability are the values that stand out before us and urge us to follow. As we all know, May Devotion is basically the devotion of the recitation of the Rosary, during which we reflect on the mysteries of Incarnation, passion, death, Resurrection, Ascension, descent of the Holy Spirit and Assumption that sums up the life of Christ as a human person here on earth.

Mother Mary is always present in the midst of the people. She was present with the disciples, praying for the out pouring of the HolySpirit. She too was the recipient of Pentecostal grace along with the disciples. She is the first evangelizer to give the Word to the world. She is the first missionarywho understood the necessity of salvation of mankind. Mary was present in the house of Elizabeth, rendering her service. Mary was there at Cana, interceding for the household and requesting her Son to come to the rescue of the bridegroom andsave the situation. Intercessory role of Mother Mary continues even today. Time to time she intervenes in the life situations of her children. Sometimes advising them, other times warning them. The end result is always asking her children to pray, repent and be reconciled. As and when peoplerealize her powerful intercession and intervention, they set out to Fatima, Lourdes, Vellankani, Mahim or Bandel to experience her presence personally. Marian solemnities, feasts, apparitions, Marian titles and devotions are celebrated each day around the world to express our love and devotion towards her. Each one of us has been experiencing her motherly affection and protection personally in our daily events of life. In our joys and sorrows we turn to her maternal care.

Speaking on Mary, Pope Francis had said, Mary was able to turn a stable into a home for Jesus, with poor swaddling clothes and an abundance of love. She is the handmaid of the Father who sings his praises. She is the friend who is ever concerned that wine not be lacking in our lives. She is the woman whose heart was pierced by a sword and who understands all our pain. As mother of all, she is the sign of hope for peoples suffering the birth pangs of justice. She is the missionary, who draws near to us and accompanies us throughout life, opening our hearts to faith by her maternal love. As a true mother, she walks by our side, she shares our struggles and she constantly surrounds us with God’s love.

As we begin the May devotion, let us place ourselves at the feet of our Mother, asking her to deepen our faith. Saint Pope John Paul II said, Mary is the woman of faith, may she help us too in our pilgrimage of faith, that we accept the will of God as she did.

“Rejoice And Be Glad” (Mt 5:12) “Gaudete Et Exsultate” are the first words of the third Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis, given on March19,2018,on the fifth anniversary of his Pontificate, at St. Peter’s, Rome. It was made public on April 9th 2018. GaudeteEtExsultate is on a call to holiness in today’s world”. It gives practical advice on how not to be content with a mediocre holiness but respond to the fullness of holiness. The five chapter document is a practical handbook to achieve holiness in the circumstances of our ordinary life. The five chapters are on 1) The Call to Holiness. (2) Two Subtle Enemies of Holiness. (3) In the Light of the Master. (4) Signs of Holiness in Today’s World. (5) Spiritual Combat, Vigilance and Discernment.

Pope Francis, in his exhortation reminds us of the Sermon on the Mount, where in Jesus tells those persecuted or humiliated for his sake, “Rejoice and Be Glad because your reward is great in heaven”. The call to holiness is present in various ways from the very first pages of the Bible. It was expressed in the Lord’s words to Abraham: “Walk before me, and be blameless”. (Gen 17:1). The Letter to the Hebrews reminds us of Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Gideon and others who walked on the ways of the Lord and were found worthy of their call. Similarly the holy men and women of our times, that will include our own parents and grandparents, brothers and sisters, who have attained holiness by cooperating with the Grace of God. Their lives may not always have been perfect, yet even amid their faults and failings they kept moving forward and proved pleasing to the Lord. The saints, who are in God’s presence are in communion with us and are interceding for us.

Holiness is found in plenty among the people living in our neighborhood, among our own family members, and friends. “It has pleased God to make men and women holy and to save them, not as individuals without any bond between them, but rather as a people who might acknowledge him in truth and serve him in holiness”(L.G). Pope Francis likes to visualize holiness present in the parents who raise their children with immense love, with great patience; in the men and women who work hard to support their families; in the sick and the elderly who express joy through their smiles. In other words, there is holiness in our own families, in our next door neighbours and in those living in our midst, who reflect God’s presence.

What is most important is that each one of us is called personally to lead a life of holiness, “Be holy, for I am holy”. (Lev 11:44) “Each one in his own way”, as Vatican II says, attains holiness. We are called to be holy by living our lives with love and by bearing witness in everything we do and in the state of life that we are – Clergy, Religious, married, unmarried, parents or grandparents. We should not get discouraged imagining that it is difficult to be holy. Sometimes we may come across some saintly persons who did some heroic work; but it is not necessary to imitate them. Each one must discern his or her own path, make use of the God-given gifts and work out one’s own path of holiness. The path of holiness is almost always gradual and made up of small steps in prayers, in sacrifice, and in service to others. We must avoid what is evil such as gossiping, speaking ill of others.

The goal of life for every Christian is to attain holiness. “This is the will of God, your sanctification”. (1Thess 4:3). Hence everyone who is baptized in Christ, seeks holiness in and through Christ. It consists in living the life of Christ, in uniting ourselves to the death and resurrection in a unique and personal way, constantly dying and rising anew with him.

“You therefore are to be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48).

Let us pray for the grace of holiness.

+ Rt. Rev. Dr. Oswald Joseph Lewis
Bishop of Jaipur

© 2018 -Diocese Of Jaipur