By Brother Edward Driscoll | en français
What I need most of all is the grace to really accept God
As God gives Himself to me in every situation.
The meeting in Rome was grace-filled. The grace of these days invited me to accept God as He was giving Himself to us in a variety of situations. In our morning prayers. Each region was asked to focus the prayer and reflection on our Fundamental Principles, our Founder’s charism and to share some thoughts about transformation seen through the lens of its culture. Our prayers invited us to see God in the diverse cultural expressions of our life as Xaverians. A special grace for me was the call to accept God in what unites us and makes us equal—our deep fraternal love that impels us to respond to our common call as Xaverians to follow Jesus.
The invitation to listen deeply to what was stirring in each of us and in our community was also a grace. We talked about the critical issues facing our Congregation in our respective regions. We listened deeply to the words and feelings that each Brother was sharing. In our listening, another grace began to emerge. Trust. Trust allowed us to speak more freely with each other, to agree and disagree and to resolve differences in a very fraternal way. Listening in this manner, at times, is also a struggle. Our listening, however, became part of our prayer.
The grace of these days helped us, I feel, to experience ‘being brother’ in a way that crosses over our national and cultural differences. I feel that the grace of ‘being brother‘ urged us to make a conscious effort to treat each other as equals. There was no privilege of position or title, no hierarchy of importance. Instead we simply related to each other as brother. Grace moved us to begin to realize that the Congregation stands at the threshold of a new self-awareness—a new consciousness of what it means to be a Xaverian Brother in 2017.
I cannot define this new consciousness, but I did feel it during our Rome meeting. I believe it stems from the realization that we are, indeed, ‘brothers’ to each other. We are equals. We depend on each other. Several times we heard expressed the strong desire to be a part of each other’s life as we face an uncertain future.
In Rome we did not come up with answers. We did, however, commit ourselves to each other, to the Brothers in our regions and to continue together the process of transformation. Personal and communal prayer led me to realize that there is no future if we do not deepen our love and knowledge of the Founder’s life and the gift of his charism. I pray often for the grace to accept how God is giving Himself to us today in the renewed practice of our charism.
We know that there are moments in our history when our Founder’s charism inspired and enlivened the Congregation. Moments of grace. Like Merton, we believe God gives Himself in every situation. God gives each of us personal graced moments. God also gives graced moments to us as a Congregation. I believe this is one of those graced moments. Will I seek above all else the grace to accept how God is giving Himself to me now? Do we dare to ask what God desires of us today?
Many of you are familiar with Marcus Borg. Marcus Borg is a Protestant theologian, noted for his study of Scripture and Christology. He uses clever titles for his books. For example, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time! (A great book!) I sincerely believe that if we do not make the effort to Meet Our Founder and His Charism Again for the First Time, we will miss the grace that God is giving us at this present moment
Are we willing to reflect and discern together on the deeper meaning of our Founder’s life experiences, on his simple spirituality and his life-giving charism. In short, are we open to receive the “fire of the Spirit’s love’ that kindled our Founder’s passion for God’s service and shed light on his vision for us? The ‘founding spirit’ needs to reanimate our Congregation. We know that our Founder’s charism impels us to live for God and God alone as Jesus did. An intimate communion with God. Therein is our transformation.
As we seek a process of ongoing spiritual renewal and hopefully re-foundation, our Founder’s charism needs to infuse light and energy into who we are and who we are becoming. The charism is at the heart of our transformation. If I may borrow from Marcus Borg again. Perhaps our sequel needs to be Living the Charism Together Again for the First Time. There is a lot of new life in that title! Our Founder’s deepest desire for his ‘band of brothers’ was their ‘intimate love of God that comes from solitude and prayer.’ The heart of transformation.
I ask the Congregation to please incorporate into your community exercises the very meaningful Xaverian Prayer for Transformation that Larry Harvey composed. I believe the prayer is a way to unity for the Congregation. Whenever the Congolese Brothers write to me, they usually close by saying, «En union de prière. » (United in prayer.)
At the guidance of my spiritual director, I devote my morning prayer to reflecting on how I am experiencing God’s love in my life. A year ago my experience of God’s love was very dry, and at times empty. My reflections and prayer center on my own transformation. What are my obstacles to God’s love? What do I need to change to be faithful to our Founder’s charism? My lack of humility? Being quick to judge? Trying to control outcomes even God’s? Does my life truly witnesses the unconditional love of God? My spiritual director asked me a question I am still working on. Do I allow myself to enjoy God’s love? Do I allow myself to enjoy the fraternal love that we share? It is my hope that each of us spends time Discovering the Joy of Our Xaverian Vocation Again for the First Time. Let us keep each other in prayer.