1 Dec 2021
AT THE BEND IN THE ROAD
The theme of today’s prayer was, “A Journey”- this journey also connected us with Advent, a time of “stepping beyond”. Advent points us to a God of the future, a God who will always be more than anything we are, so as we awaken to a new being in Christ then we too are to become something more…
A bend in the road is not an end in the road, unless we fail to make the turn. (Helen Keller)
Yesterday provided an intensive time of self-reflection on the role of the Capitulant, and the need for them to be open to the whole Body, not just their own particular part; the importance of being focused on the process of discernment was also stressed: they are in a search together as the group responsible for moving this Chapter towards where it needs to go.
Facilitation Committee members invited to share their concerns
The role of the members of the Committee is to work directly with the Facilitator, perceive the group’s collegial response and prepare strategies to move the Chapter forward. After each day’s session, they meet for an hour or more, to evaluate the process and plan the next steps.
In a departure from the usual process, M. Daum this morning invited the members of the Committee to share, from a personal standpoint, their sense of how things were going with the Chapter. So five Sisters: Ana María Alcalde, Ana María Alvarez, Micheline Kenda, Catherine Lavery and M. Dolores Sanzberro each took their turn.
What did they say?
Certain feelings of frustration were expressed by all : some had the impression that the Chapter was circling around without coming up with any meaningful and transformational steps: “walking on parallel lines”, some Delegates happy to repeat what we know, others wanting something new to come, without a clear direction.
They asked questions as to what vision, what dream do we have for the Institute? Are our potential and energies on the wane? Do we not have sufficient light to walk in communion and synodality? Are we lacking a unified response?
Let the image speak:
There is a recurring biblical image that has accompanied the Chapter process from the beginning: that of the ‘BOAT’. Today, it was evoked once again.
Gospel of Luke5: 4-5
“When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch’.”
“Simon answered, ‘Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets’.”
One of the Facilitators’ group reminded the Delegates that as a body, they have the choice to drop the net gently into shallow waters… and be disappointed because the net will come out empty - or as a Chapter they can dare, risk and courageously cast the net into the deep, so the catch will be plentiful.
Tough questions were asked:
At this stage is the net empty?
We have been going through a lot of preparation, but each of us is standing beside the boat or in our own boat; do we know the depths that we want to reach?
Are our boats sailing around in circles, and not putting out into the deep?
We need to dream with faith, deeply listen to God and then ACT.
Speak your truth
Challenged and somewhat disturbed by this sharing, the Capitulants were next invited to express their own honest viewpoints, to name their feelings and reactions, and the images they could connect with this present reality.
Small groups provided a “sacred space” to share their truth, and then time was given to feedback in the plenary session.
Look at your call and seek light
Matthieu specified their collective approaches saying, “You are somewhere at the bottom of the “U”, you are searching for a light. In this journey, at the bottom “U”, we often get stuck, afraid that our attempts might become a failure.
He shared an example: “The Eye of the Needle" was indeed a narrow gateway to Jerusalem; it was necessary to unload much baggage in order to pass through . Our concern now is to take the transformational path through PRAYER, to experience what is life-giving, what we must stop doing, and unload it.”
He invited them to take time for personal prayer using the day’s Gospel. Matthew 15: 29-37- the multiplication of the loaves and fishes.
Jesus met people in ordinary situations; he had compassion for people with the different hungers in their lives and advised the disciples what to do with the little they had…
The calls heard during this prayer
In the first part of this Gospel, the people brought the sick and the needy to Jesus; in the second part, Jesus sees the need of the crowd, and asks the disciples to do what is necessary. If we identify with the disciples in this passage, we see that we are not the only ones to answer the needs of the poor and the sick – but as “disciples” we have a specific task, given by the Lord.
We do the little we can, God will lead us to the rest, to the fullness.
The crowd in deserted place were fed, there was enough and more and all were satisfied. So, facing our shadows and blind spots can be a source of transformation.
The Significance of the place being a ‘desert’, but if the needs of people are seen with compassion, there are always options to be found.
We worried about our decreasing numbers. The number we have now is more than enough to take action.
Moving on from “the bend on the road”, through the process of letting go experienced during this day, the journey continues….