Fruits of Year of Mercy Evident
John Lee, Johannesburg – I was delighted and overjoyed to receive a surprise letter from Bishop Emeritus Hubert Bucher of Bethlehem, now residing at Mariannhill. The letter, its enclosures and contents, was for me truly “a smile from the Lord”, and an early and unexpected fruit of the Year of Mercy.
The Year of Mercy initiated by Pope Francis, now ended, is already showing forth blossoms and fruit in yet another springtime for the Church prophesied by Pope St John XXIII. The Charismatic Renewal which in some areas seems to have stagnated, is showing new life in conjunction with a new impetus of devotion to Mary, our blessed mother, and a renewed devotion to the rosary.
The memory is still fresh with me of that prophetic meeting which was the brainchild of the late, great Cardinal Leo Suenens of Belgium when delegates of the Charismatic Renewal and the Marian Congress came together in St Peter’s basilica on Pentecost Monday in May of 1975 for a remarkable, historic and “unlikely” celebration of the liturgy (so some people imagined).
At this, Cardinal Suenens was given permission by Pope Paul VI to concelebrate the Eucharist at the high altar of St Peter’s.
It was at the end of the pope’s homily that, frail as he was, he proclaimed to all that “this Renewal has been given to the Church as a chance for an age of evangelisation never before seen by the world”, and strongly proclaimed to all assembled there that “Jesus is Lord”.
Bishop Bucher’s letter enclosed a copy of a fascinating publication and initiative of his entitled The Living Rosary, which I recommend to all. I found the booklet riveting and a powerful instrument of renewal for the prayer of the rosary.
Copies are available from the Paulines Bookshop in Kensington, Johannesburg.
I remember my friend Bishop Blucher well for his guidance to leaders of the Renewal in the 1970s, particularly one memorable meeting at Marist Brothers’ College in Observatory, Johannesburg.
This was at the time when many, particularly in the clergy, were fearful of being associated with “this new American gadget”, as some put it.
I suggest that one of the fruits of this Year of Mercy will be a new, combined powerful impetus of the presence and action of Mary and the Holy Spirit in the Church.
I strongly suggest that readers buy a copy of the bishop’s booklet and see what this new approach to the rosary is all about.
In the words of St John Paul II, we repeat his oft-repeated leitmotif: “Be not afraid to launch out into the deep” and give the Lord a chance in a world drastically and urgently in need of God!