These April days bring with them signs of new life in all of creation. Before our eyes the buds are bursting open revealing magnificent colours. Liturgically we have entered Eastertide – fifty days of celebration until the feast of Pentecost.
On Easter Sunday the reading from Colossians 3:1-4 caught my attention – your life is hidden with Christ in God. So, I found myself thinking am I content to have my life with Christ hidden? A few months ago, I read a reflection on this scripture text and it presented the challenge – if you have a life with Christ then act on it!! I suppose it is true to say that most of us would prefer to keep our life with Christ hidden – opt for a quieter life – go unnoticed. Somehow now a hidden life with Christ does not sit easy with me.
To deepen our life with Christ it is important we have the necessary conditions. I think the catalyst is silence. So, what do I understand by the term silence? Here are a few thoughts – Silence enables us to be at peace with ourselves. Silence opens our world and enables us to find joy in music, art, literature, science and nature. Silence helps us to appreciate beauty and experience awe and wonder. In silence we can pause and savour all forms of life, recognising our interconnectedness. Tagore reminds us that silence is effective in leading us down into the deeper aspects of our humanity where we can find the best of what we are and of what we can yet become. Silence is a gift we can give ourselves. When was the last time you gave yourself the gift of silence?
Michael Morwood in a reflection on Easter tells us “We proclaim and celebrate Easter because it links Jesus with all life, with transformation, and with possibility of life beyond our imagining. Easter offers meaning and hope to all people. We give thanks and rejoice that Jesus so clearly and courageously linked our loving and our dying with living on in God. We rejoice that Jesus lives on, as we all will, in the reality we call God.
Through our baptism we all have a life with Christ – a life that is ever changing and evolving. Nothing remains static and time seems to be moving faster than ever – how often in the last month did you hear the words – “don’t know where the time is going” you may even have spoken it yourself. In the book of Lamentations 3:23 we read the steadfast love of God never ceases, it is renewed every morning. I think that there is a daily invitation for each of us to set time aside to nourish our life with Christ in order that others may visibly see our witness to Gospel values.
As members of the Family of Pierre Bienvenu Noailles we are reminded in Article 2 of our Constitutions and Statutes that the aim of the Association is to spread and strengthen the faith in all milieus, to revive the witness of the first Christians who had but one heart and one mind. This aim is as relevant today as it was 200 years ago. As an International Congregation with 1389 Apostolic Sisters and 57 women following formation programmes, 44 Contemplative Sisters, 75 Secular Members, 2633 Lay Members and 77 Priest Associates worldwide – we are a family on mission with a gift for the world. In this final year of preparation for the bicentenary we are asked to speak, write and act.
I invite you as a member of the family of Pierre Bienvenu Noailles to pause for a moment and reflect on the following questions, enabling God to speak to you in the silence and stillness.
What is the message that I wish to speak to others?
Is there a phrase that has caught my attention recently and I could pass on in writing to others?
What action can I take to promote communion?
During Eastertide may we make a conscious effort to be agents of transformation, and witnesses of communion, by going out to the peripheries of the world, with courage and perseverance as our Bicentenary Prayer invites us too.
Catherine Lavery (Unit Leader)