We are about to complete one year in this synodal process. It began on 9 and 10 October 2021 and will end in October 2023.
A year that flew by and yet had a great density of experiences at the level of the universal church. The dioceses set up synodal teams in the parishes and set to work to achieve one of the intended objectives: listening to the Holy Spirit among ourselves and together.
Thus, the universal invitation of Pope Francis for unconditional participation became a reality and a hopeful enthusiasm grew in a new stage of the church, in a different way of feeling ourselves to be an active part of it.
Each community, each group, in the infinite diversity of charisms that exist, came across many lights and also many shadows.
And they thought that this was the moment, the opportunity – the Kairós – to speak out, to have a position of critical lucidity, of the adult look of someone who feels part of it and therefore suffers and enjoys the sins and joys of the church.
The challenge is great. And also the opportunity to define oneself before the crossroads that opens up: do I want to be an active member or do I prefer to live on the fringes of the church?
The criticism that comes from within is a commitment, in my opinion, because if the church hurts me, I try to put the best of myself, a small or large seed that builds, and that, where I live, where I work, in the small or large space where my daily life takes place. If I decide to withdraw and criticise negatively, I don’t think that helps.
Throughout this year there has been a synodal journey, steps have been taken in this direction, countless voices have reached the General Secretariat of the Synod, a great deal of material has been produced with impressive creativity; every day a large number of resources from all over the world arrive on the web.
In short, it is not a question of recounting activities, but of sensing that the Spirit is acting at times like a gentle breeze and at others like a hurricane wind, there have been storms and storms, resistance, radicalisation, passivity, omissions… everything is mixed together, we have to discern in order to separate things.
It is time to continue walking synodically, to remain in the hopeful expectation that the God of history is walking in the midst of all this and is doing his work at his own pace.
May we not lack the conviction that the Spirit is guiding the church. May we remember the different functions of the members of the body, all different but all necessary, it is the common-union in the same faith that strengthens us and brings us together in faith in the Lord Jesus and from there diversity is a richness and not a threat or a danger.
And on this first anniversary we remember the words of Cristina Inogés Sanz in the opening meditation:
“We begin a spiritual process, which is what synodality is, and we do it with hope, decision and hunger for conversion… to learn that the best positions in the church are not those that separate but those that from service induce forgiveness, reconciliation and encounter”.
And Pope Francis in his opening address reminded us:
“Celebrating a Synod is always beautiful and important, but it is truly fruitful if it becomes a living expression of being Church… Participation is a requirement of baptismal faith. As the Apostle Paul affirms, “we were all baptised into one Spirit to form one body” (1 Cor 12:13).
And with these attitudes we open ourselves to the Continental stage, which is already approaching. We continue on our synodal journey!
María Luisa Berzosa FI – Rome