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Spirituality and Synodality

Updated: Nov 29, 2022

Don't Go it Alone!

“The Synod is a process of spiritual discernment, of ecclesial discernment, that unfolds in adoration, in prayer and in dialogue with the word of God…That word summons us to discernment and it brings light to that process. It guides the Synod, preventing it from becoming a Church convention, a study group or a political gathering, a parliament, but rather a grace-filled event, a process of healing guided by the Holy Spirit. (Pope Francis, 10 October 2021)”

My previous blog asserts there’s a fight on in the Church. And I believe that is true at a lot of levels. For us to have wisdom, understanding, right judgment, courage, kindness, gentleness, patience and more, to fight the Jesus-inspired way, we will need to surrender our hearts and minds to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We need the Spirit to guide the embrace of #synodality. We can’t go this alone and expect it to bear the fruit possible. We just can’t. And this might very well be the first real conversion synodality calls for: to learn how to surrender to the Spirit and then to have the courage to go where the Spirit directs. #synodjourney

One of the really wonderful gifts of Catholicism is our rich treasury of both prayer forms and spiritualities. Each offers us a way to remain open to the Spirit’s wisdom, to more deeply surrender, to embrace the gifts of the Spirit and use them for the good of the entire Church…on the journey together.

  • One of the really wonderful gifts of those leading us on the synod journey is how they are giving us signposts, tools, and encouragement on this journey. Here’s quick look at what’s available and where you can find these wonderful resources: Icons of the Synod. They are crafted to create a meditation point. There are two: Jesus and the People and the Conversion of Cornelius. To see the icon and hear a short explanation, see the video here:

  • Biblical Resources for the Synod: Includes examples of lectio divina, along with a search of Old Testament and New Testament texts the illuminate aspects of synodality. Take a look here:

  • Synodal Spirituality. We are the fortunate recipients of many well-developed spiritualities, each of which offers a spotlight on an aspect of synodal practice: Augustinian, Benedictine, Dominican, the Community of Sant’Egidio, Franciscan, Ignatian, and Salesian. These spiritualities and their contribution to the synodal journey can be found here:

  • Praying for the Synod. Because this is first and foremost a Spirit-guided work, it is imperative that we pray individually and communally, consistently and persistently. To support this work, the Vatican has set up an entire prayer website: Take a look to find a Monthly Day of Prayer for the Synod, prayer texts, imagery and inspiration.

I’m a bit of a Franciscan in my spirituality. I fell in love with Francis and Clare, and I felt his spirit when I visited Assisi. I actually never wanted to leave there, but both our tour guide and my best friend saw to it that I got back on the bus! So here’s a bit of the content on Franciscan spirituality supporting the synod practice of discernment in common. The article says:

1.The process of discernment never starts from abstract questions, but from the real life situations, from the thoughts that arise from our needs as they encounter our deep desire to be pleasing to God, to do God’s will.

2. Discernment requires a constant listening to the Church, even when the Church’s teaching does not affirm personal preference. And this is the Church to be consulted according to Francis: the hierarchy/Magisterium, the voice of the men and women of God, and finally in the words and gestures of those on the margins. (Sound familiar? It should. Pope Francis got inspiration here.)

3. Discernment, done repeatedly, will cause its practitioners to wish to be ever more closely aligned to Christ. So expect practices like detachment, retreating, Eucharist, and justice to shine forth as this unfolds.

There’s so much more in the article on Franciscan spirituality’s contributions to synodal practice. Take a read and read the others, too.

Why? Inspiration. Practices. Grounding in the Tradition. Courage to continue to listen to the Lord and follow his ways. All of these will be necessary to embrace our #synodjourney as the way we are the Church in this millennium. Join us, will you?

Share this on Social Media Why do we need a spirituality to support the synod? Inspiration. Practices. Grounding in our Tradition. Courage…always courage.

Photo by Enrico Tavian on Unsplash

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