At times I may be given to hear accounts or receive letters from members of our Order describing situations of difficulty within their Delegations, Sections or Lieutenancies in their relations with other Knights and Dames.
Like all other communities, the Order is not immune to the challenges of relationships, and the call to grow in a life of sharing, esteem and fraternity is always a valid one that lies at the heart of the identity of each Knight and the Dame.
As the evangelist John reminds us, "Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen." (1 Jn 4:20). Our particular focus as members of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre is certainly on the Holy Land, but our commitment begins with those we see and have around us, especially our brothers and sisters.
The risk is that sometimes, after a period of joy and inner satisfaction in the life choice one has made, even the noblest sentiments and ideals are extinguished and the liveliest spiritual ardour and charisma lost; the motivations underlying one's choice and charitable action forgotten. Why does this happen?
I have often realised that it is not a question of high-mindedness, but jealousy, envy and hasty evaluation of the other. These errors are possible and Jesus warned us against them: "For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly." (Mk 7:21-22).
Lent is a time of purification, and we must begin with our inner selves and our closest relationships; we must allow our living, sharing and fraternity within our Lieutenancies to reflect our choice to follow Jesus and live as men and women, Knights and Dames of the Holy Sepulchre.
Therefore I invite you to entrust yourselves, especially in this difficult time in the life of the Church, to reason, understanding and, when necessary, forgiveness, so that we may arrive, personally and communally renewed, at the great solemnity of Easter.
Fernando Cardinal Filoni