The 4-day intensive encounter of the provincials and delegate with Mother General and her counselors was a moment to focus our gaze on our congregation and religious life with the eyes of our Lord. What awaits religious life in this time of decadence where we end an era of our civilization and face a new one? Emili Turu, a Marist brother, accompanied us to look at the realities that this period of decadence brings to our world and how it affects our lives as consecrated persons. During this time that we live in, we are challenged to face, accept, and embrace our fragility and vulnerability personally and as a congregation. God is making things anew. It is already sprouting, can’t we notice it already? Brother Emili posed several questions that were very helpful in order to receive the new gifts God is giving us as we walk the path of transformation:
(1) In what ways has our congregation evolved over the years in response to the context, and how do you see it evolving today? (2) Is there anything in our congregation that is stagnant? What are the signs? What is it that we have to abandon or let go? How do I live hope in this current moment? What is the new thing that is already sprouting and that we have to help to be born?
With these provoking questions we had a profound dialogue and what remains in many of us are the sentiments of deep gratitude, trust and confidence in God, lively hope, and a sense of Body congregation.
As we had an initial gaze toward the 19th General Congregation, the following points helped us situate ourselves in the familial dialogue:
“We want to prepare ourselves so that the Lord can reveal to us what He wants from the Congregation and how He wants her from now on. Our desire then was to have the gaze of the Father that we may see things the way He sees them”. In prayer, we were led to consider how the Father gazes upon us personally and as a congregation. In the same manner, we tried to gaze at the Congregation with the eyes of the Father. We asked him to “help us gaze at our Sisters, at the entire Body, and to see what He wants us to see. Called to be His instruments, today we ask Him to be His gaze, with His heart, to contribute to each other features, colors, nuances of the Body.
Spending one morning with our formators via Zoom around the globe gave us a global view of how we are doing with formation in our respective provinces. The joy of the Sower is to see the seeds germinate, grow, and produce to the maximum. Trust is a virtue of those who deal with the land. What a beautiful image to describe formation. It was an enriching experience listening to our formators’ questions, reflections, and insights. After our dialogue with the formators what remained in our hearts were sentiments of gratitude and hope.
We were blessed to have gazed at our congregation together. Our personal encounters with the Lord, our familial dialogues and conversations, and our experiences of fraternity were like treasures that we had found for which we were willing to invest everything we had.
Emelinda “Lynn” Correa Falsis, FI