We are not an Order of "rich" people, but of people who live generosity.

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Vedova_obolo The widow's offering - Image taken from https://www.evangile-et-peinture.org/

In this period of economic difficulty for many, due to various factors, not least the pandemic, which continues to heavily impact the activities of many, I wish to share some thoughts with you some, in view of the international meetings that the Grand Magisterium has hosted in recent months (the customary autumn meeting with its members, the meeting of the European Lieutenants and that of the Latin American Lieutenants).

I would like to repeat that our Order is not an Order of "rich people" and this is evident now more than ever. The Knights and Dames are people who, through their work, wish to contribute to supporting the Holy Land. This action of theirs is a continuation of the attention we give to the "Mystery" of the Body of Christ present today through the Church we love and care for. In doing so, we carry forward the work of those first families and communities around Jesus: think of Martha, Mary and so many other men and women who made their resources and time available.

They were not powerful people. They were not the king of Judea or the Roman governor. They were people drawn to Jesus. This is how it is for us too today.

Therefore, let us not be discouraged, on the contrary. It is good to see that, alongside people who can give more at this time, there are also those who cannot, but who are no less "members" of the Order. Generosity involves both parties but the situations of need that our Knights and Dames sometimes experience can be different. This leads me to reaffirm that the projects carried out are always the result of a common generosity.

This reminds me of Jesus' remark in front of the temple where he saw all those who came and left contributions for his upkeep. The Gospel tells us that the rich gave much, but Jesus' gaze lingered on a widow who put in only two coins (Mk 12:38-44). She - Jesus teaches us - gave more than anyone else because of her generosity, taking not from the superfluous but from what she needed to survive.

This passage cannot fail to speak to us today: our Order is not an Order for people who want to appear and show off their munificence. The contribution of a Knight or a Dame responds to a need to care for the life of the Church, a people, children, the sick and to those in difficulty. At the same time, it proves to us all the real generosity of our hearts despite the needs of daily life.

We cannot forget what Jesus taught his disciples, namely that God created with abundance: all creation is an expression of His generosity and God loves a joyful giver (2 Cor 9:7).


Fernando Cardinal Filoni

(December 2021)