“Why does it cost us so much to overcome the excess of ‘instrumentality’ that sometimes characterizes our RAL (Religious Apostolic Life) when it focuses too much on services (educational, health, social, pastoral, etc.)?” This is what the Superior General, Maria Inez Furtado, asked in her last circular letter on her return from the visit to the Philippines, Japan and Myanmar. For her, “Consecrated Life is called – especially today – to enter a new phase in which our ‘parabolic character’, overshadowed in times of excessive ‘functionalism’, may be strengthened, that is, a proposal of life that prioritizes the essence of one’s own vocation and charism.” That is why, concretely in our being Daughters of Jesus, it means “the serious attempt and priority to “have God as Father …” to resemble Jesus more and more “as a son resembles his Father” and not to forget that the ‘good of our neighbors’ is only possible when we live “according to the grace with which the Holy Spirit will help us” and when we joyfully assume “to follow in His footsteps even to the cross, certain that by dying with Him they will also rise with Him” (CFI 136).
Maria Inez Furtado expresses her joy because in the communities she has just visited she has found “projects that point more towards the testimonial experience of the essential features of our charism than to what we do. It is true that expressing projects like this does not always mean that we have found the way to live it, but it is a step forward and life is not to stop taking steps … and know how to rejoice with each one of them.” For our General Superior we live in a time of “grace of diminishment” and she appreciates it “as it pushes us to let ourselves be taught by others; to relate more with other institutions, vocations and projects; to be more integrated with pastors, parishes and particular Churches. When we are taught – albeit with pain in some cases – to be women of trust, simplicity and humility and, from there, to recover hope because, often and very concretely, we experience that God chooses the most fragile instruments to be carriers of his strength and support for the little ones.” Her sharing about the visit ends with a question: Will it be the seed of a new phase in our Body? A Body that is letting itself be transformed to return to be small and delighted with the inheritance that is hers right now: poverty in sobriety and gratuitousness like that of Jesus; humble gratitude and evangelical littleness like that of Mary; faith and filial trust, without measure or conditions, like that of Mother Candida. May God let it be so!