Franciscan Retreat: Call To Audacity!
HORROR!! This post is late because I accidentally deleted the last one. All is well now, thanks to an online tutorial in WordPress retrieval from trash. But the T-Shirt says it all …
CALL TO AUDACITY
On our last day we returned to the our wellspring, Brothers, Lift Up Your Hearts.
Father Mel began with the inhibiting signs of our times. The notion that the bishops may look at the lay ministers and say, as Vigneron did, “I look forward to the day when we don’t need you.”
We are part of a complex dynamic between Church and the world.
He proposed some Attitudes or Stances:
This is probably the exhortation of every retreat master. But what Mel said was quite different – in order to live the gospel, how much do we love the Gospel? In our prayer and meditation, do we read Scripture? The Minister General has said that this dimension of Ongong Formation, Lectio Divina, is our only hope as Franciscans.
2. LET US REACH OUT
When the storm rages, do we tie ourselves to the mast or do we launch out into the unknown like Henri Nouen in his analogy of the trapeze artist. Do we “leave” or “cleave” ? Somewhere between panic and humiliation we hve to make that leap. And it will be kay – God is the catcher.
3. LET US FOLLOW JESUS CHRIST
By our baptism, we are all leaders in faith. I am the way, Jesus said, the truth and the life.
4. LET US BE A PRESENCE THAT DISTURBS
We are with people all the way.
It is not within the Franciscan spirit to disturb for the sake of disturbing and then leave others to pick up the pieces. We are called to replace what is lost with something different.
Mel reminded us of the words of Wordsworth (1888) in hisPoem Composed a Few Miles from Tintern Abbey.
For I have learned
To look on nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes 90
The still, sad music of humanity,
Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue. And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;
A motion and a spirit, that impels 100
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things.
Jesus was a disturbing presence in a society that said some were worthy of God’s love and others were not.
5. LET US REMEMBER THAT WE ARE CALLED AND COMMISSIONED.
We should never give up hearing the call for ourselves and to make obvious to others that call that never ceases. In this way, we can enact great healing and change.
6. LET US BE A CHURCH OF PIETY AND NOT A CHURCH OF POWE
There can be no doubt that the Church has a reputation for self-importance and arrogance among its clergy and hierarchy. This obsessive control has compromised the Church in the eyes of those who sit in the pews. As Romero said, ” A church that suffers no persecution but enjoys the privileges and support of the things of the earth – beware! – is not the true church of Jesus Christ. A preaching that does not point out sin is not the preaching of the gospel. A preaching that makes sinners feel good, so that they are secured in their sinful state, betrays the gospel’s call.” We will necessarily become a Church of solidarity and simplicity marked by discipleship – a Church that Jesus would be proud of.
Where there is life there’s hope but rather where there is hope, there is life.
7. LET US STEP INTO THE FUTURE.
There is a temptation to avoid the future and continue to relive the past. Encounter is crucial – not to love people generally but actually. Francis encountered real people – we know their names. Can this be said of us? Can this be said of JPIC? We are not called to disinterested charity but real encounter with people we can know.
Did the disciples at Pentecost recover from the scandal of the Crucifixion? No.
Calling and sending is part of our life. It is not contingent on a five-year plan. We have been called to step out of the boat. We have been called to leap into the void, to hear God say, “Leap, and I will catch you – I am calling you because I need you.”
Take a leap into the unknown and lift up your hearts!
This concludes our report from the Retreat.
Thanks to the Ongoing Formation Committee:
Fr Stephen Bliss, Fr John Boyd-Boland and Bro Matt Hufer.
Thanks especially to Magic Mel Jurisich! A real gift to our Province!
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