Over the past few weeks, I have found my attention been caught by a phrase from a Christmas Song playing in the shops and on the radio “another year over and new one just begun”. I think it is a common phrase that most of us will utter in these days probably with the addition and “it has gone so quickly”. Just another fast thought among the many that cross our consciousness.
This phrase “another year over” has stayed with me and provided me with an opportunity to reflect on the past year – my lived experience- some filled with gratitude, others highlighting areas of challenge and others the moments of growth. I was reminded of a quote from PBN “build on fresh ground, and to choose with discretion, among the old edifices, only those stones that are suitable for the new structure. I found myself thinking about the attitudes and good practice that I have selected this year and can build on in the future. I invite you now to pause and think of an attitude that you developed this year, which led to good practice; how can you build on this in the coming months?
The year that is just beginning 2020 sees the Family of PBN celebrate our bicentenary, we are mindful of all those who have gone before us and convinced of the relevance of our charism of communion and the diversity of our Vocations. Our charism of communion connects us to God, one another and all of creation. Pope Francis in his writings offers us the inspiration to take up our rightful place as missionary disciples. I share some extracts with you.
In Laudato Si – care of our common home – he reminds us As Christians, we are also called “to accept the world as a sacrament of communion, as a way of sharing with God and our neighbours on a global scale. It is our humble conviction that the divine and the human meet in the slightest detail in the seamless garment of God’s creation, in the last speck of dust of our planet”. A sense of deep communion with the rest of nature cannot be real if our hearts lack tenderness, compassion and concern. We are not disconnected from the rest of creatures but joined in a splendid universal communion. This requires us to approach life with serene attentiveness, which is capable of being fully present to someone without thinking of what comes next, which accepts each moment as a gift from God to be lived to the full. Jesus taught us this attitude when he invited us to contemplate the lilies of the field and the birds of the air, or when seeing the rich young man and knowing his restlessness, “he looked at him with love” (Mk 10:21). He was completely present to everyone and to everything. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary”.
In Gaudete et Exsultate – Call to Holiness – we are encouraged to embrace that unique plan that God willed for each of us, and accept that God wants to speak to the world by your life.
We are consciously aware that our God is near, Emmanuel, God with us.
In Evangelii Gaudium – Joy of the Gospels – we read, the joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. With Christ joy is constantly born anew and, further on, Pope Francis invites all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since “no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord.
In our relationships with one another and in particular those whom society forces to stoop low, Pope Francis poses this challenge; We need to let ourselves be evangelized by them. We are called to find Christ in them, to lend our voice to their causes, but also to be their friends, to listen to them, to speak for them and to embrace the mysterious wisdom which God wishes to share with us through them. We do this through loving attentiveness.
I have found these quotes a source for my own personal reflection. They have provided encouragement and also a gentle nudge to realign my actions and attitudes. Within the chosen extracts there is the continual invitation to remain connected to God, to one another and all of creation. In a world where disconnect takes priority, I feel that as the family of PBN we have a vital role to play in ensuring connection within our own locality and the people we encounter on a daily basis.
What better time to start than right now, as we stand on the threshold of 2020. As members of the Family of PBN, may we ensure that all our actions generate communion.
Catherine Lavery HFB