(…) (…) Heart of Jesus, I surrender myself to You, SPEAK TO ME, INSTRUCT ME, ENLIGHTEN ME! Ask whatever pleases You! I will accept any sacrifice in order to grow in Your love and promote Your glory”.
Journal of a Trusting Heart, My Retreat, Good Friday, 1884, p. 63.
In the months before the General Chapter, and in such a troubled and disconcerting period of time, the importance of this very significant Ecclesiastical event requires an especially attentive, supplicant and penitential attitude.
We, the Chapter members, are called upon to understand in depth, that on this occasion we are not the main characters, nor is it about position, office, intelligence or personal skills. Then, what is it that allows us to prepare for the Chapter, for this important event? It is the confidence that God acts through us: God is the main character in the Chapter.
Opening ourselves up to the Spirit, with the right attitudes now, during and after, will make this important moment in the life of the Institute, an occasion to assess our reality in an honest and realistic way; to examine the present with its abundance and poverty, and to develop a vision that, especially, keeps our Charism alive and strong.
From this point onwards, the General Chapter has started to become a time of relationship, of the Lord’s proximity, to keep us humbly in the Ark of His heart and to know that with Him we are building the time of salvation.
When the General Chapter is convened, it is the Supreme Assembly of those who have been elected and called to deal with the Institute’s spiritual, pastoral and material concerns. Additionally, the whole Institute is spiritually active, praying for the members gathered in the Chapter Cenacle; that they will be open to allow the free action of the Spirit leading them to respond anew and generously in the light of the CHARISM, and who, with sensitivity, guides those who have the responsibility of authority as duty. All members of the Institute are channels of divine mediation and instruments of salvation.
The time before chapter is an opportunity for all of us who share the Cabrinian spirit, to place ourselves with open arms in front of the Lord, where we can come to understand:
- As Saint Ignatius said: “All for the Greater Glory of God”; and His plan is always greater than any of our personal projects, and this has to be the foundation of our apostolic unity and discipline;
- That our works should be really freeing for today’s apostles, and that unity is always preferred over conflict;
- For everything that we do as an Institute, must also be experienced at personal, community and team level;
- This availability calls for apostolic perseverance and a strong contemplative attitude, both verbal with non-verbal.
Finally, a General Chapter, with its commission to review the work that has been done; with the responsibility of elections, and being guided with clarity by the Constitutions and Statutes, also offers a ‘Cenacle moment’ –of breaking the bread of unity, to be vessels for the new wine, and to embrace the mystic confidence of our Mother, Teacher and Foundress, and to be faithful to history and courageously open to the future.<
Sr. Stella Maris Elena, MSC General Assistant