Monday, September 18, 2000

MESSAGE/HOMILY OF REV. FR. KEES BRAUN, MSC FOR OUR KOREAN MSC ASSOCIATES IN SEOUL AND INCHON (July 10 & 11, 2000)

I. As I have been presented to you, I am Fr. Kees Braun, MSC. I am Dutch, but in
relation with the tasks entrusted to me, I have been able to visit several times the
countries in which the members of our MSC Congregation (and also of the congregation
of the MSC Sisters) are living and working. All together, 51 countries.
It has been for me, a privilege and a grace. In a personal manner, I could
experience what diversity in language and culture, diversity in the economic, social,
political situations; diversity in formation, diversity in the situation of the vocations with
all the consequences. I could experience the growing diversity in a growing number of
countries. In the last 20 years, we started new foundations in at least 18 countries.
But I could experience also the unity in diversity:
---the unity of our church;
---the unity of our congregation;
---the unity of our faith in God, in the love of God, revealed in Jesus
Christ, with his human, inviting Heart: "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy
laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28).

II. Our Founder, Fr. Jules Chevalier (1824 - 1907) saw in the Heart of Christ the
answer, the remedy for the evils of his time. He was convinced that the two most
serious evils of the time were: indifference and selfishness.
In our MSC Constitutions, it is formulated with these words:
"Father Jules Chevalier was deeply moved by the evils that afflicted the people
of his time. As he contemplated the Heart of Christ, in whom is revealed the
compassionate love of the Father, he discovered there the remedy for the ills of the
world. Inspired by that love and guided by the Holy Spirit, he founded within the
Church the Society of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart." (Constitutions no. 3).
Also for us, it is important to ask ourselves: what are the evils, the ills of our
world? It is my experience that in many countries, the answer is still the same: "Yes,
also in our midst a strong indifference and selfishness!"

III. Inspired by our charism, in many countries, our confreres together with the Sisters
and many lay people are working to bring the good message of the Gospel to people;
the good message of the Heart of Jesus Christ. They are doing it with the language of
the heart, speaking from heart to heart. They are doing it not only with words but
with all they are doing and living, with the example of their life.

IV. Together, we try to continue this mission entrusted to us. We try to do it in a
spirit of confidence and trust.
With our Founder, we are convinced that a new world is needed, a new and better
world; and that a new world is possible . . . coming from the Heart of Jesus Christ.
Jules Chevalier saw this. A new world (a new world inspired by the love and mercy)
emerging from the Heart of Christ.
"The Word coming from the Heart of his Father made the world emerge from
nothing; and from the Heart of the Incarnate Word, pierced on Calvary, I see a new
world emerging, the world of those He has chosen. And this creation, so fertile, full
of grandeur and inspired by love and mercy, is the Church, the mystical body of Christ,
which makes this new creation present on earth until the end of time." Jules Chevalier,
1900. (Constitutions, p. IV).

V. From the very beginning of our Congregation, Fr. Jules Chevalier has stressed that
we must cooperate with others in the fulfilling of our mission. He asked us not to
monopolize our spirit and our mission in the Church. We do not try to reserve it for
ourselves. It belongs to our charism that we try to share our spirit and our mission
with others. To say it with his words: We need a tree with three branches: religious
communities in the strict sense of the word; association of diocesan priests; and - last
but not least - lay associates, united with us, inspired by the same spirit, working
together for the same mission coming from the Lord.
A beautiful ideal for you and for us! Working as brothers and sisters, living together
our charism and mission in the Church and in our world in a spirit of unitedness, not
in the spirit of competition and rivalry, but in a spirit of real sharing and cooperation.

VI. I am deeply grateful that in many countries, that original ideal has been
re-discovered (we had forgotten it a little bit!) Inspired also by the challenges and the
invitation of the Vatican Council II in many countries, very fine groups of lay associates
are living and working together with us - inspired by the Heart of Christ. It is really
a joy to meet here in Korea (one of our young foundations) groups of lay associates. I
hope that you will go on with it with confidence and trust, with generosity inspired by
the Heart of Christ.

VII. Fr. Jules Chevalier, if present in our midst, would certainly stress four points:
First. Try to live and work for our common mission in a spirit of real unity. It is
the same Lord who invites us. It is the same Heart that is the Center. It is the same
mission entrusted to us by the Lord: "As the Father has sent me, so I am sending
you." United with one another, we have to continue the mission of Jesus Christ, the
mission of His Heart.
Second. Fr. Chevalier would also stress the importance of our unity in diversity.
The Holy Spirit is the spirit of unity in diversity and of diversity in unity. Also the
diversity is important (as St. Paul always stressed): the diversity to build up the
Body of Christ. A real body needs diversity.
The religious have their part to play - priests also - and last but not least, the
laity. Religious have to live and work as religious; priests as priests; lay people as lay
people. Everyone (each) has his own way of carrying out the one and the same
mission. Our very difference is our source of strength, to spread the good news further
within the world. Lay people have possibilities to be present and to live and spread the
good news, possibilities that are different from the possibilities of religious and of
priests.
Third. Stressing the necessity of unity in diversity, Fr. Founder would also stress
the necessity of cooperation and mutual support. We need one another. We also learn
much from one another, more than we often realize. We can compliment each other,
encourage and animate each other, support one another. To say it with some words of
St. Paul: "Let love for our brotherhood breed warmth and mutual affection. Give pride
of place to one another in esteem." (Rom. 12: 9-10).
"Care as much about each other as about yourselves. Do not be haughty
(proud). Do not keep thinking how wise you are." (Rom 12:16)
"In a word, accept one another as Christ accepted you, to the glory of God."
(Rom. 15: 7).
"Therefore, encourage one another, fortify one another, as indeed you do." (1
Thes. 5: 11).
Fourth. An essential part of our charism is: universality, a mission valid
everywhere. "May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be loved everywhere."
Thanks be to God; the movement of MSC Lay Associates is growing worldwide.
Twice already (in 1995 and 1999) in Issoudun (France), a worldwide meeting of Lay
Associates was celebrated. It was a surprisingly rich experience; a source of mutual
support and encouragement. One of the decisions was: as Asssociate Members of the
three congregations (MSC Sisters, Daugthers of our Lady of the Sacred Heart; and
MSC Congregation) we have to remain in contact. Mutual information and support are
very important and an enrichment for all.
I hope and pray, that you as Korean Associate Members of worldwide Jules
Chevalier Family will participate fully in this worldwide movement. You all, have a lot
to offer.
(Fr.) Kees Braun, M.S.C.