Happy Easter friends! May the promises of resurrection, like the fruits of synodality, inspire you and sustain you.
We are coming to the end of our Foundations for Synodality series, round one.
I've addressed issues of connection, belonging, engagement and participation because none of this matters if the people aren't coming and/or don't care.
I've looked at definitions for synodality. Why? Because it's a new word for many, that doesn't roll off our tongues or mean much when we use it. And yet it perfectly describes this Spirit inspired moment in our Church. Want to read all those blogs in eBook form? Here you go!
I've written about listening as a gift, a sacred act and as a concrete skill. Why? Because spiritual listening that leads to the the ability to hear the Holy Spirit speaking today is critical to our ability to walk together. And well, to be frank, researchers tell us we all can learn to listen far more skilfully than we currently are. There's plenty of room for improvement at the skill level, which is essential if we are going to become a listening Church.
I've written about the Church's struggle with trustworthiness as we walk together overshadowed still by the sex and power abuses. What does this have to do with synodality and the #synodjourney? Spiritual listening and parrhesia, speaking truth with love and with the intention to asisst the Church in her own growth, presume that the Church is trustworthy. And for far too many she is not. Further, she does not seem to be intentional about becoming more trustworthy, and without it, synodality will not take root.
I've written most recently about discernment in common, with the final installment coming from fellow PVP Leadership Team member, Dana Hlusko. Why? Because it's an uncommon practice for most of the baptized, because it requires both individual and communal preparation, and because its practice is how decisions are reached in a synodal Church. Why? Because it is a profoundly spiritual practice of hearing the voice of the Spirit and then finding the pathway to respond. Why? Because while discernment in common may be a last step in a synodal process, preparing individuals, leadership cohorts and entire parishes to be able to do it must begin now.
These are the foundations: participation, shared understanding of what we are doing, learning to listen, building trust and embracing the spiritual practices that undergird discernment in common. Five pillars that will provide the rock- hard foundation upon which synodality can be built. It's a lot. I know it's a lot. It's a lot to understand intellectually, to begin practicing spiritually and to start using in practical ways. That's the challenge.
Take up this challenge with us! Join us on the #synodjourney. Become a learner, a sharer, a teacher, a practitioner...a believer in Pope Francis' statement that synodality is THE WAY for the Church in the Third Millenium. Join with others already on the way. Connect to them. Partner with us so you can find other synod early adopters. Pray with and for one another and the Church on the way. Join our Pentecost Vigil Prayer this year. Subscribe to receive our weekly blogs. Guest blog. Share what you are discovering on the synod path with others. Teach us.
I know. It's a lot. But Jesus promises abundant grace as we walk with him, toward him and because of him. So let us courageously walk, bearing up under "a lot" as a sign of hope for our Church. For we make the road by walking and we help one another walk by sharing the load.
Don't let " a lot" stop you! Just start walking...we're here with you!
Next up---guest blogs while we re-tool, re-vamp and rest the keyboard! Be sure to read and provide them comments!
Photo Courtesy of Unsplash/Volodymyr Hryshchenko