Dearest Family and Friends, Divine intimacy. Is there intimacy within the Trinity, where there is such a deep connection between the persons of the Trinity? I say yes.
St John tells us that God is Love, and the source of this Love is the Father, who is the fountain fullness of self-giving love. For love to be love, it has to be poured out freely on another. Who is this other? It is the Son, who receives this love completely. And because the Son is like the Father, he pours out the love he receives completely and freely back to Father who also receives this love completely. This intense powerful exchange of love is the Holy Spirit, or we can say that it is intimacy within God.
This divine intimacy is shared with us who dare to open our hearts to God, and we celebrate this intimacy at Pentecost! The tongues of fire that rested upon Mary and the Apostles represent the passionate fire of love that came from above to fire up fearful souls, so that these Apostles preached what was bursting from their souls – that “Jesus Christ is Lord!”
This is the raging outpouring of pure love we receive from the Holy Spirit through our baptism that frees us to be who we were created to be: sons and daughters of the Father, the source and giver of life.
On the morning of 25 April 2023, our Custody of St Anthony (Malaysia-Singapore-Brunei) was declared autonomous by OFM Minister General Friar Massimo Fusarelli. This means that our Custody is free to chart its own course through its own discernment, guided of course by the Holy Spirit. For it is only with the Holy Spirit, that we can truly love and forgive each other as brothers, and it is the Spirit who will empower us to reach out and heal lives that are fragile and broken, even as we struggle with our own imperfections.
I would like to acknowledge in a special way the Province of the Holy Spirit in Australia, that cared and nurtured our Custody for many years enabling us to mature into the Autonomous Custody that we are today.
Even as we rejoiced, we wanted a concrete act in solidarity with those who are in need. Hence, we launched “St Anthony’s Touch”. This is our Poor & Mission Fund that will support our outreach to the poor, our evangelisation efforts and projects in the area of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation. There is a new tick box for this in our donation slip.
On this feast of Pentecost, my heart is full, full to overflowing. There are so many to thank but I want to mention two especially – Friar Phillip Miscamble, who is the Provincial Minister of Australia and our Custody’s first Custos, and Friar John Wong, the previous Custos and currently Definitor General for Asia-Oceania, who played a huge part in our journey to autonomy. I have asked them to share their thoughts on this milestone in this issue of St Anthony’s Bread.
Finally I thank you, our friends, collaborators and benefactors, for your constant support and wish you the divine intimacy that God desires to give us. May we live our Christian lives to the full, and bring all Creation back to God the Father, the source of all life and love! Happy Pentecost!