United States Conference of Secular institutes

2015 Fall Mountaineer

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Secular Institutes

Dear fellow mountaineers,
It always takes my breath away when I see that title, “Mountaineer.” Who me? Climb a mountain? Way too much energy and trouble, but… there is always the lure of the magnificent view from the summit of the
mountain. And that is what drives people to make the
effort, to start training, and to entrust oneself to an experienced guide.
In the past few weeks we have all done just that. Pope Francis has become that mountain guide who not only urges us, but pushes us to climb higher. The mountain he is climbing is not one of the glamorous ones, nor
dangerous, but certainly one that takes attention, perseverance, constant alertness, and effort. It is the Mountain of Love for the Poorest.
As members of secular institutes we are “out there” coming into contact with the people on the periphery, our brothers and sisters in Christ. Often they find us; or at least in my experience Jesus sends me “characters”
periodically that stretch me beyond my comfort zone. Are we willing to take them with us up that Mountain of Love as part of our team? Even if they initially appear as dead weight, sooner or later we see Jesus masked in them, and then we realize, they are leading us.
In Philadelphia Pope Francis encouraged us: “ „Love consists in this, not that we have loved God, but that he loved us first.‟ (1 John 4:10) That love gives us the profound certainty that we are sought by God; he waits for us. It is this confidence which makes disciples encourage, support, and nurture the good things happening all around them. God wants all his children to take part in the feast of the Gospel.
In this month of October when we meditate often on the mysteries of the
rosary, let us imitate Jesus and Mary in the daily pilgrimage among the poor who are in reality, the most beloved of God. Holy Mary, pray for us, that we see all people with your maternal eyes and love them with the heart of Jesus.
God bless you all. Know that I pray for you daily.
Marcia Vinje, president USCSI


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