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,
But if they are listened to,
they can also awaken the hearts
of the powerful and the wise,
calling them to change,
calling them not just to organize and do things
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.
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.