Dear moms and women of the 40 Hours,

Thanking those who do us good, our benefactors, is a moral duty. And the greater the benefit received, the more we should feel we are indebted to those who do us good. That is why we, members of the Religious Family of the Incarnate Word, and especially the priests, feel particularly indebted to all of you.

Yes. Because in you so many teachings of the Lord Jesus in the Gospel have resounded loudly and with mystical depths, as well as his mandate to pray to God, owner and lord of all souls, so that he may raise vocations in his Church: “the harvest is great , but the workers are few. Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send more workers into his harves”(Mt 9,38; Lk 10,2). You have also understood the absolutely supernatural character, because it is a completely divine initiative, which vocations of special consecration have: you have understood it because the Holy Spirit has revealed them to you, who is the “Spirit of truth” (Jn 14, 17; 15.26; 16.13). Because knowing what a vocation is, something that, according to the Lord Himself, “is not given to everyone,” that is, that there are “eunuchs who became such for the Kingdom of Heaven” (Mt 19, 11-12). Because it is a mystery of unfathomable providence and divine predilection, since he calls those he wants: “he called those he wanted” (Mk 3,13). And it attracts interiorly and with such force that one is capable of leaving “father, house, fields, brothers and sisters” (Mt 19,29; Mk 10,29; Lk 14,33; 18,29-30), to follow him He, “taking up the cross every day” (Lk 9:23), and living the same way of life that He chose for himself: chaste, poor, obedient and son of Mary; and with whom he associated his apostles: “he called them to be with Him … and to send them” (Mc 3,14)[1].


That is why each month you dedicate a special time, leaving all other activities, to dedicate yourself to praying for vocations. To pray, first of all, to the owner of the harvest to send many and holy vocations.But also, following the example of the prayer of Christ himself, and having the same sentiments of his most loving Heart, you also pray to ask the Lord to protect and guard consecrated souls, to give them perseverance in his holy purposes, because they belong to him: “For them I pray; I do not pray for the world, but for those you have given me… Holy Father, take care of those you have given me in your name, so that they may be one like us. When I was with them, I took care of those you gave me in your name. I have watched over them and none have been lost, except the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled … I have given them your Word, and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, as I am not of the world. I do not ask you to remove them from the world, but to keep them from the Evil One. They are not of the world, as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth: your Word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, I have also sent them into the world. And for them  I sanctify myself, so that they too may be sanctified in the truth. I do not pray only for these, but also for those who, through their word, will believe in me, so that they may all be one(cf. Jh 17,9-21).
How necessary is this prayer for vocations when one considers that the Lord has sent us “like sheep in the midst of wolves” (Mt 10,16)! Although we know, with the certainty that faith gives, and we hope, that by union with Him we will be able to persevere and bear abundant fruit: “Remain in me, as I in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, if it does not remain on the vine; so neither will you if you do not remain in me… He who remains in me and I in him, the same one bears much fruit; because apart from me you can do nothing … If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, ask what you want and you will get it … As the Father loved me, I also loved you; abide in my love ”(cf. Jh 15,4-9). And with your prayers you ask that we remain united in this intimate way with Jesus, because that is what you ask when you implore for us the grace of perseverance. By this union with Him “we are more than conquerors“, as Saint Paul says (Rom 8,37) to the point that the Lord has promised us that “in the world you will have tribulations, but do not fear: I have conquered the world” (Jn 16,33), because his victory is ours. But this grace … one must ask for it every day. And you ask for it for us!Therefore, only in Heaven will we understand the scope of the good that each one of you does to the Church, and to our little Religious Family, praying for the increase and for the perseverance of priestly and religious vocations! How many young people will feel and follow the call of the Lord to “sail out to sea and cast the nets” (Lk 5,4) because the Lord will hear your prayers! And how many priests, religious men and women by your prayers will reach special graces in their places of mission so as not to be discouraged and to persevere in following the Lord until the end of his days! Yes, only in Heaven will you receive the deserved reward for so much good, with that superabundant magnificence of God, who never allows himself to be outdone in generosity. That God who will not leave without reward not even “a glass of water” given by his love (Mt 10:42; 9:41).
But in the meantime, while we are pilgrims on this earth, those of us who are your debtors have to pay you with something. The first and most important thing we do is to pray for you too, who are our particular benefactors, whose immense benefits only God knows, since they remain hidden from the eyes of the world. We always, always, remember all of you in our prayers. We cannot forget that you exercise through your prayers and sacrifices a sublime mode of spiritual motherhood over all of us, how can we not thank you!But in addition to praying, we want to do something else for you. And that is why this monthly newsletter is now born, which aims to offer you spiritual formation material. That is why we will try to make available to you writings and prayers on the priestly and religious life, on the fundamental elements of our charism, on our spirituality … so that you too can always grow in love of God and neighbor , thus tending to the perfection of charity that is the end of our Christian life. Also having new stimuli and reasons to persevere, with ever more generosity, in prayer for consecrated vocations.We begin today by offering you a text on an essential element of our charism and spirituality, to the extent that we have it as a fourth religious vow: slavery to Mary Most Holy according to the method taught by Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort. We want to share with you a precious and little-known document of Saint John Paul II: the letter that he sent to the Montfortana Family on December 8, 2003, on the occasion of the 160th anniversary of the publication of the Treaty of True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, which occurred in 1843. For the brevity of the bulletin, we will present it divided into several parts, hoping that it will be of much benefit to you. Again, because it will never be enough, we say: thank you, thank you, thank you! May the Lord reward you as only He knows how to do it. And Mary Most Holy, the Woman par excellence, the Mother of the Incarnate Word and the model of all those who pray – for “she kept all these things meditating on them in her heart” (Lk 2:19, 51) – the grace of perseverance may be granted to you by her Son, with great generosity in prayer and in the life of grace until we meet in Heaven. With my blessing.P. Gonzalo Ruiz Freites, IVERome, September 1, 2020.

[1] San Juan Pablo II, Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata (March 25, 1996), numerals, 32, 41, 64, 93.

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