Ongoing Formation Session 4

Being Good News People

Opening prayer: Dear Lord, you gave us your son who overcame death so that we could live free. Help us not to imprison ourselves with anger, frustration or harsh feelings for others. Help us to live the good news of Jesus Christ. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Leader: Our final ongoing formation of 2020-21 relates the words of Saint Angela’s Fifth Counsel to how each of us can more closely follow Jesus and the mission of the Ursuline Sisters. Angela’s Counsels still speak to us today and urge us to be “Good News people.”

Reader 1: “Tell them that now I am more alive than I was when they saw me in the flesh, and that now I see them and know them better. And can and want to help them more. And that I am continually among them with my Lover, or rather ours, the Lover of us all, provided they believe and do not lose heart and hope.” Saint Angela Merici, Fifth Counsel

Reader 2: Saint Angela did not live long after her Counsels and Legacies were written down by Gabriele Cozzano. She wanted to prepare her daughters for when she would no longer be in their presence, reminding them that she would always be their advocate in heaven. But she was also saying she would be among the people they met – the ones they serve and the ones they serve with.

Leader: Discuss these questions that deal with having hope.

  1. You may have lost someone dear in the past year or are thinking often of someone you lost long ago. What attributes in people you meet remind you of that loved one?
  2. Troubled times test our faith, if not in Jesus, then in each other. What are some reasons you continue to have hope in our society that you can share with others?

Reader 3: “And tell them this good news which I announce to them on behalf of Jesus Christ and our Lady: How much they have to exult and rejoice, for in heaven a new crown of glory and joy is prepared for all of them, one by one, provided they stand firm and steady in their resolve.” Saint Angela Merici, Fifth Counsel

Reader 4: The times in which Angela lived were pretty grim. War, treachery and injustice abounded. In her Fifth Counsel she even says, “And henceforward to abandon totally all love for this miserable and treacherous world, where there is never either rest or any true contentment, but only empty dreams, or bitter hardships, and every kind of misery and wretchedness.” She would have never gotten a job with the Brescia Chamber of Commerce with that viewpoint.

Reader 5: And yet, Angela’s words to her Company remain hopeful. It’s because she found her joy and strength with Jesus in heaven, where there was a “new crown of glory” as long as we keep believing and do our best to live the life that Jesus modeled. Nowhere does Angela say this will be easy. But she does tell us there is good news.

Leader: Consider these questions about being “good news people.”

  1. Angela was no “Pollyanna” – her optimism was based on her faith in Jesus to look after us. When life has you down, what is a prayer, a song, a memory or something else that you take to the feet of Jesus to lift you back up?
  2. Depending on your personality, it can be difficult to be a person committed to “sharing good news.” Fortunately for us, the good news already exists. What are some ways you can be a “good news person” without using words or drawing attention to yourself?

Reader 5: “Let them set their hopes on high and not on earth. Let them have Jesus Christ for their only treasure, for there also will be love, which is to be sought not here in this world, but above, in the high heaven at the right hand of the Father.” Saint Angela Merici, Fifth Counsel

Reader 6: “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” Matthew 13:44

Reader 7: The search for buried treasure has long been a story line for many movies. From “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” to “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” and then “Rat Race,” seeking something hidden that makes a person rich is used to depict the lengths some people will go – often forgetting who they are in the process.

Reader 8: The Gospel of Matthew has its own buried treasure story. Saint Thomas Aquinas said the meaning of this parable is that to truly possess heavenly riches, one must be willing to give up the world to own them. Angela tells us to have Jesus as our “only treasure,” and that is where we will truly find love – the greatest of all riches.

Leader: Consider these questions concerning treasure.

  1. There’s nothing wrong with gaining wealth and fame – as long as you don’t put those goals ahead of Jesus as your greatest treasure. What is your advice for young people on how to keep their eyes most on the power of heaven?
  2. Where is your treasure hidden? How can you claim it and share it with the world?

Closing Prayer: Good and gracious God, guide us to your treasure and give us hearts that are open so we can hear your message daily. Help us witness your good news in all that we do. We pray in the name of Jesus, our risen savior. Amen.