Dearest Delegates and Members of the Institute of Saint Gabriel the Archangel,
I address to you my message, in the approaching Feast of the Patron of your and our Institute.
Meditating on the role and figure of the Archangel Gabriel, this brings us back to the fundamental values of our identity as consecrated Paulines in the world to witness and announce the Good News.
Saint Gabriel is the perfect communicator of the Good News. He brings with him an announcement that is not his own, but which was delivered to him. He carries it in person and offers it to Mary; he reasons with her on what it means and how the content of the message can be implemented. He prepares Mary’s soul to give her consent and to allow the plan of God, hidden for so many centuries, to now be manifested, to come to light, to be realized.
In this profile of the Archangel Gabriel, there are all the elements that define the identity of the Gabrielino as a consecrated person, the meaning and role of his presence in the world, his mission.
Reflecting on the figure of Saint Gabriel the Archangel, I would like to highlight only a few aspects that interest the Gabrielini but also all the Paulines, also because, on closer examination, the identity of the Gabrielino is characterized as that of every Pauline. He differs only in his “secularity”.
Our Superior General in this year’s annual letter, “The Pauline Editor. Artisan of Communion in a Connected World”, wanting to define the identity of the Pauline, expresses himself thus: “Let us remember that the word ‘edition’ derives from the verb ‘to edit’, which in turn derives from the Latin ‘edere’, which means ‘to bring forth’, ‘to give birth’, ‘to put in public’. For the Pauline Editor, however, publishing takes on a particular meaning, which we can express as ‘drawing from oneself to enlighten others’, assuming that he has the ‘light’ within himself to radiate; that he has, that is, an ‘apostolic soul’: He who first of all is in love with God”.
“In fact, in the thought of our Founder, the Apostle is a temple of the Holy Trinity, which operates in him supremely to the point of exuding God from one’s pores: with words, works, prayers, gestures, attitudes; in public and in private; from his whole being. The Apostle lives in God and communicates God!”
The message of which the Archangel Gabriel is the communicator, he carries it within himself, he makes it his own. The message is not his, but it becomes his own and communicates it personally, with his “person”. When we think of the message of the Incarnation, the faces that immediately come to mind are those of Gabriel and Mary.
Pope Francis in the message for the 55th World Communications Day notes this: “Insightful voices have long expressed concern about the risk that original investigative reporting in newspapers and television, radio and web newscasts is being replaced by a reportage that adheres to a standard, often tendentious narrative. This approach is less and less capable of grasping the truth of things and the concrete lives of people, much less the more serious social phenomena or positive movements at the grass roots level. The crisis of the publishing industry risks leading to a reportage created in newsrooms, in front of personal or company computers and on social networks, without ever ‘hitting the streets’, meeting people face to face to research stories or to verify certain situations first hand. Unless we open ourselves to this kind of encounter, we remain mere spectators, for all the technical innovations that enable us to feel immersed in a larger and more immediate reality. Any instrument proves useful and valuable only to the extent that it motivates us to go out and see things that otherwise we would not know about, to post on the internet news that would not be available elsewhere, to allow for encounters that otherwise would never happen”.
It is the person with his presence in the world who makes “the Good News” visible and credible; it is “hitting the streets” by going out and walking the streets of today’s humanity that makes us “grasp the truth of things and the concrete lives of people”; it is by meeting, listening, dialoguing, “reasoning” with people, as Gabriel did with Mary, that allows us to prepare the human soul to bring out the “image of God” deposited in each of us.
I leave it to each of you to deepen and reflect on all these passages that characterize the identity of the Gabrielino, wanting that I remain within the limits of a message and not a “relationship”.
I wish each of you that the Feast of your Patron will help you to have a clearer awareness of your identity and of your “great and difficult” mission on the streets of humanity today.
Father Vito Fracchiolla
Rome, 29 September 2021
Feast of Saint Gabriel the Archangel
Patron of the Saint Gabriel Archangel Institute