By Sr. Michelle Woodruff, ASC
October 2023 is here! As I was preparing for this article, I was thinking about all the significant events that are happening for our Region (Assembly, Martyrs of Charity anniversary, Maria leaves for Rome), Congregation (October 14 Installation of General Team, Maria, Wieslawa, Patrizia, Danijela, Florida, Barbara, Monica), Church (Synod), Climate/Earth (October 4 Season of Creation ends, Part 2 Laudato Sí, Solar Eclipse Ring of Fire October 14).
Wow! Those are all important for us individually and collectively. All this and so many more concerns in our world and sphere count on our daily personal and communal prayer, as part of our mission in the church and the world, to God on behalf of our dear neighbors and friends.
In the gospel reading from September 24 about the laborers for the vineyard, Jesus was trying to help us understand about God’s justice and goodness. The Within the Word reflection, from Give Us this Day, by Barbara Reid, OP, helped me to reflect deeper that God’s justice, goodness, is for all. She says, “The question is about God’s goodness, extended equally to all, and how difficult it is not to look enviously on goodness poured out on others, even as it has been lavished upon ourselves.”
The fact is that God does not keep a tally about all that we do or what our neighbor does…so why do I keep tally for myself or my neighbor? God is only asking us to love God, ourselves, and our neighbor and even if we are not able to do this, God’s goodness and love is always present. This brings me back to some conversations and observations that I have been having for a few years, how do I/we focus on God’s love, justice, and goodness, and not focus on what I am doing or how much I am doing. Instead focus on how am I being with God, myself, community, and neighbor. As we move through all these significant moments this month, and there will be more next month, how can I focus on God’s love, compassion, and goodness?
The Synod is from October 4-29. Please keep in your prayer all the participants, planners, and all who are about the daily tasks for the Synod. Pray especially for a few sisters that you may recognize: Sr. Mary Teresa Barron, OLA, UISG President; Sr. Pat Murray, IBVM, USIG Executive Director; Sr. Maria Ciperman, RSCJ Expert/Facilitator; Sr. Nicla Spezzati, ASC, Expert/Facilitator; Sr. Nadia Coppa, ASC, Special Guest.
Come, Holy Spirit! You inspire new tongues and place words of life on our lips: keep us from becoming a “museum Church,” beautiful but mute, with much past and little future. Come among us, so that in this synodal experience we will not lose our enthusiasm, dilute the power of prophecy, or descend into useless and unproductive discussions. Come, Spirit of love, open our hearts to hear your voice! Come, Holy Spirit of holiness, renew the holy and faithful People of God! Come, Creator Spirit, renew the face of the earth! Amen. (Pope Francis Opening of New Synod October 9, 2021)