Annual Retreat of the province of Madrid with Mons. Silvio Báez


“Living the prophecy in exile”
Spiritual exercises with Mons. Silvio Báez

(Burgos, Spain) As every year, during the first week of September, the Redemptorists of the Province of Madrid have gathered in the Monastery of El Espino (Burgos), to make the withdrawal from the beginning of the course. On this occasion, Mons. Silvio Báez, poor Carmelite and auxiliary bishop of Managua, has been in charge of leading reflection and prayer. The proposed theme has been the prophecy as a fundamental experience of the followers of Jesus of Nazareth. Focused on the prophet Ezekiel – a prophet in exile – we have been travelling and reeling the life of a “mediator” of God.

Every morning they have started with an hour of Lectio Divina animated by Mons. Silvio Báez, in which we have been able to contemplate from the passage of Gethsemane, the miraculous fishing or the widow’s symbol … In addition to the dynamics of exercises, we have had time to reflect on prayer and the importance it has in the life of a missionary. From there, Mons. Silvio, has offered a prayer proposal to implement personally and in our communities.

Undoubtedly, the central theme has been the prophecy of Ezekiel, a prophet who speaks to the people in exile. Every day we have gone through different passages of the prophet that have led us to perceive our vocation as an evangelizing mission itinerary. The prophet welcomes the present tense with honest realism and, in it, announces what God suggests. It is about rereading, unravelling, unmasking and finalizing … For there to be a new birth one needs to die, that is, to give one’s life. Ezekiel had to announce the end of an era but aware that to save his life he had to lose it. Ezekiel experienced opposition to his message but continued to announce the importance of “giving,” “going down,” and “serving” in the face of “having,” “power,” and “going up.” He was one of the few prophets, who fell silent to make his people react.

We were also introduced to the figure of the shepherd who takes care of his flock responsibly, who does not mistreat or exploit him but rather listens, welcomes and treats tenderly. It is the pastor who gives priority to the anointing over the function, the heart of flesh over the heart of stone. The pastor who, despite the difficulties and decadent structures, can breathe the Word and the Spirit into the “dry bones” so that everyone has life. Only if we carry his Word and his Spirit will there be life, resurrection and redemption.

Finally, we had time to make a small dialogue with Mons. Silvio Báez and thank what he had meant for us these days of retreat. Now it’s time to bring the words to life, welcome and integrate the message and return it multiplied.

Francisco Javier Caballero, CSsR.