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Friday, 15 June 2001


Dear Brothers of the Order of the Holy Trinity,

1. I am delighted to meet with you, on the occasion of your Institute's General Chapter. It is an event of grace that strongly calls you to return to your roots, to deepen your specific charism, seeking to discern the best ways to live it in today's socio-cultural context.

I greet the Superior General, Fr José Hernández Sánchez, who has been reconfirmed in his office, and his Council, with the delegates to the chapter assembly. I extend my cordial thoughts to all the Trinitarians, who carry out their generous apostolate in various nations. In these days of intense assembly work, you are reflecting on the theme "To live what we are". Faithful to the Trinitarian-Redeemer charism, you want to keep the teaching of your Rule living and fruitful. About three years ago you celebrated the eighth centenary of its approval. At that time too I wanted to rejoice with you, sending you a message, in which I remembered, among other things, that your charism is "extraordinarily contemporary in the modern multicultural social context, marked by tensions and challenges that are even critical at times. This charism obliges Trinitarians to identify with courage and missionary boldness ever new forms of evangelization and human advancement" (Letter of 17 June 1998).

2. Your spirituality, that draws vigour from the mystery of the Trinity and of the Redemption, has not stopped spurring you on to serve prisoners and the poor, in your long history marked by many examples of holiness. Among the members of your Order there are courageous witnesses of Christ. Some of them have confirmed their fidelity to the Gospel with martyrdom. Yours is a spirituality that puts you in the heart of the Christian message:  the love of God the Father that embraces every person through Christ's Redemption, in the permanent gift of the Holy Spirit.

Treasure your priceless spiritual heritage. May the words of Christ echo in your spirit:  "Duc in altum" (Lk 5,4). I wanted to recall them in my recent Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio ineunte, so that they may be an exhortation and invitation for all the baptized, at the dawn of the third millennium. Yes! Put out into the deep; cast the nets in the name of Christ. "Live" with passion what you "are", opening yourselves with trust to the future. In a time marked by a worrying "culture of emptiness" and of life "without meaning", you are called to announce without compromise the Trinitarian God, the God who hears the cry of the oppressed and afflicted. May the Most Holy Trinity always be at the centre and root of your apostolic commitment. May the Trinitarian communion be your source, model and the end of every pastoral action.

3. The Church is counting on you! Work in union with Christ, "Revealer of the name of the true God, Glorifier of the Father and Redeemer of man" (Constitutions of the Trinitarian Order, 2).

He is the Redeemer; in Him you can be "Trinitarian" and "redeemers", participating in the redeeming charity that flows from his merciful Heart. Living what you are will lead you to reaffirm your fidelity to the spiritual patrimony of your founder, St John of Matha. Return often to his example and teaching. You are called to carry on his mission, as valid now as it was then, because it is directed to announcing and witnessing Christ, who died and is risen for the salvation of all mankind.

An important missionary field is unfolding before you. Do not be afraid to direct all your energies to Christ, who is to be "known, loved, and imitated, so that in Him we may live the life of the Trinity and with Him transform history" (Novo Millennio ineunte, n. 29). Holiness is an essential commitment for your religious family and for each of its members. Only if you are holy, will you render the service that the Church and the Pope expect from you. In a special way, be models of intense Trinitarian life, as your vocational identity requires of you. You are particularly consecrated to the Most Holy Trinity for the redemption of men and your identity is expressed with this motto:  Gloria tibi Trinitas et captivis libertas (Glory to you, Trinity, and freedom for captives). Behold your mission; the best contribution you can give to the new evangelization, an apostolic service in favour of the neediest.

4. New horizons open before you, though not without difficulties and obstacles. Have confidence in the Lord and do not hesitate to accept the challenges of the historic moment we are living. I remind you that the priority of each of your communities is to be an Upper Room of praise to the Triune God and a source of generous self-giving to your brothers and sisters (cf. Letter to Trinitarians, n. 3). In repeating to you this exhortation of three years ago, I encourage you to embrace in charity every person without distinction. Go ahead courageously, with prophetic freedom and wise discernment, to seek new ways to be a living presence in the Church, in communion with the Pope and in collaboration with the Bishops.

Looking at the vast horizons of the new evangelization, an urgent and acute need to proclaim and witness the evangelical message to all can be discerned. How many people are still waiting to know Jesus and his Gospel! How many situations of injustice, of moral and material difficulty exist in so many parts of the earth! The mission is urgent and the commitment of each one is indispensable. It must be sustained by incessant and fervent prayer. Only in this way are we able to indicate to others the path to meet Christ and follow him faithfully. This was done by your founder, St John of Matha, and your reformer, St John Baptist of the Conception, in whose footsteps you wish to walk faithfully. This is the witness offered by many of your brothers who have served the Church in the most diverse fields, often in difficult situations. Like them, become faithful disciples of Christ and generous workers of the Gospel with constant trust and renewed apostolic zeal.

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, venerated by your Order under the lovely title of Our Lady of Good Remedy, protect and guide you in your journey towards holiness, bringing ever good work to completion.

With these wishes, I bless you with affection, as I assure you of my remembrance in prayer for each of you and for all those you meet in your daily apostolic ministry.


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