“Desire gives you the capacity”. What St Augustine says about desire captures what we experienced anew during the time we recently spent together.
At the beginning of July, 22 brothers and sisters from the big Charles de Foucauld family met together in northern Italy. What a gift to spend a few days together to deepen our vocation. Our time was marked by intense moments of prayer, work and workshops on religious life…as well as the joy of all the personal meetings. It allowed us to get to know each other better and grow together.
Sr Gemma Simmonds CJ accompanied us with warmth, dynamism and a good dose of humour. We reflected, worked and shared on the basis of the document that summarizes the contributions of religious for the synodal process. We were impressed by the universal echo given to certain questions linked to religious life. It’s clear that some structures need to change: the role of religious, the structures that favour abuse, the management of responsibilities and power. With our religious brothers and sisters, we too dream and seek for ways to create a welcoming, open atmosphere where there’s room for dialogue. How can we live our spirituality in an entirely human way? How can we be brothers and sisters?
A fundamental element for building authentic fraternity is reconciliation in our personal lives and in community. In our little groups we exchanged on a text by the Peace and Reconciliation Group. Living a life of reconciliation means entering into God’s work. It begins in our little daily challenges but involves a cosmic dynamic. How can we remain welcoming towards the sister who is very different from me, not react with anger as soon as I feel attacked by my brother, keep an attentive listening? Sr Gemma invites us to “Open your eyes and ears; be present to others’ circumstances, be it those that you know or strangers. Be welcoming and allow yourself to be welcomed.” As Pope Francis writes in Evangelii Gaudium §270 : “Jesus wants us to touch human misery, to touch the suffering flesh of others. (…). He hopes that we will enter into the reality of other people’s lives. Whenever we do so, our lives become wonderfully complicated.”
But how can this come about? Do we dare to take the risk that our lives become both complicated and wonderful?
“Desire gives you the capacity”. Acknowledging the truth of these words gives us a renewed confidence to face the future.