Tag Archives: chapter

Love shall overcome

Who does not have half their attention elsewhere these days.

The horror facing civilians in Ukraine. The dawning reality of the climate crisis. Political polarization even in families and churches. Racial and economic disparity that seems entrenched and at the same time dismissed.

These are the signs of the times that led my religious Congregation, the Sisters of St Joseph of Peace, to commit in our Chapter Act this week To Be Who We Say We Are.

“Urged by a burning desire to speak and act boldly with open, loving and adventurous hearts, and in collaboration with others, we now commit to:

  • Cultivating and practicing peace through justice by the intentional living of interculturality, anti-racism, and inclusion
  • Addressing, healing, and being present to the wounds and broken relationships among ourselves and all of God’s Creation
  • Resisting every form of war and violence
  • Making a place for everyone at the table where all are welcomed and gifts are honored

It is time to be who we have always said we are. It is time to live our words.  We embrace these promptings of the Spirit with courage, humility, hope and trust.”

As I have prayed with the Chapter experience and these words, the words of the song Free by the Good Shepherd Collective and Liz Vice keep playing in my head and heart. So I did what I do and made a video prayer.

🎵 So let the light in, keep it shining, let it break into the darkness … Love shall overcome 🎵

Margaret Anna Cusack, our founder, said: “The very name Sisters of Peace will, it is hoped, inspire a love and desire for it.”

Bishop Bagshawe, who we claim as a co-founder, told the first Sisters at their profession in 1884: “To secure this divine peace for ourselves and procure its blessing for others in the midst of the sin, turmoil, and restless anxiety of this modern world is the object of your institute.

So on the one hand the task can seem huge and overwhelming. Impossible even. And yet … Love shall overcome. Peace is possible. Peace is God’s gift. A gift to love and desire and work for and share. For then, indeed, we will all be free.

Disturbed

Jesus Eats with Friends by Rick Beerhorst
Jesus Eats with Friends by Rick Beerhorst

The little book that I use for my morning prayer and reflection on the readings of the day has a beautiful (and challenging) reflection by Jean Vanier, part of which I’d like to share here:

The cry of the oppressed, the lonely, and the rejected,
is essentially a cry
for recognition, presence, and communion.
Their cry disturbs,
creates fear,
provokes rejection.
But if they are listened to,
they can also awaken the hearts
of the powerful and the wise,
calling them to change,
to conversion;
calling them not just to organize and do things
with generosity
but to enter into communion with them. …
So it is that the Spirit of Jesus
through all the pain and disturbance
leads us to something new,
a form of chaos
from which is gradually born
a new love
flowing from the heart of God.
~Jean Vanier, 
Jesus The gift of Love

Powerful, isn’t it? Of course, Jean Vanier is the founder of L’Arche so he knows intimately and concretely that of which he writes. And of course the reading was included in the Give Us this Day book today because of our Gospel reading from Luke (14:12-14) where Jesus dines at the home of a Pharisee and challenges him to “invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind” to his next banquet, those who cannot repay with an invitation in kind.

Disturbed.

That is an appropriate word, especially given that this is the first word of the Chapter Call that was affirmed at my religious community’s general Chapter in September.

Disturbed by the Spirit, we recommit ourselves to Jesus’ way of radical hospitality.

We are called to a deeper and wider living of community for mission in company with poor and marginalized people.  Our contemplative discernment pushes us, individually and as Congregation, to action; deeper mutual support enables us to take risks for justice, peace and the integrity of creation.

As disciples of Jesus, we respond anew to the call of Mother Clare to be “brave, noble, large-minded and courageous souls.”

We will be living into this Call as a Congregation over the next six years. I’m not sure exactly where it will lead,but I do know that it will challenge us,  and I suspect, awaken our hearts and give us new life and energy as we respond anew to the call to be a community of peace.