Every Christian religious community carries out the mission of Jesus according to a particular charism. It is this charism which is its foundation, which it interprets for every age, and to which it returns whenever it seeks to be renewed. A General Chapter is a renewal to the extent that the community is energized to claim, interiorize, proclaim its charism anew.
Yet the charism does not belong to the community in any exclusive manner. Trust in Providence belongs to all the people of God. We and other Providence People are guardians and interpreters of this gift that has been entrusted to us in a particular way. That being the case, the world has the right and duty to expect us to live out this sacred patrimony for the sake of the Church. It follows that a Chapter, wherein we re-claim our charism, is an ecclesial, public event.
To call an event public signifies that anyone can come. All voices are welcome; the immigrants, women, the poor, the Earth are coming to our Chapter and they are calling out their pleas for justice and dignity. What do they want of us? Some of our colleagues who share our lives and our values are coming; they are going to talk about what the world needs of us. The voices say, “Be the face of Providence for us.” At the same time as they seek the face of Providence, it is the Biblical “Least among us” who have the most to teach us about Providence. In this special week, may we let go of any barriers or blinders that block our hearts and eyes and ears from experiencing fully the voice of God, as it arises within us, among us and especially as it comes to us through the voices of God’s beloved poor.
So, we step into our “Chapter-boat” together and push off from the shore, not knowing where we might land. We let the current of our charism and the wind of the Holy Spirit carry us where they will on this week-long journey to our roots and our future, for the sake of the mission of Jesus.
This week we will be welcomed to our Chapter sessions of Furthering the Mission of Jesus (Fomentar la Misión de Jesús). We have prepared for this congregational exploration of Providence Spirituality and Mission in our Community Discussions, Joint Clusters, and Assembly days.
We invite you to pray with us this week as elections for our new leadership team will take place February 3-4. With trust in Providence we anticipate the ringing of our church bells from Sacred Heart Conventual Chapel on Friday afternoon for the election of our Superior General and on Saturday afternoon for the election of our three council members.