As we know, there’s a very important meeting taking place in Rome right now. It is the Synod on Synodality. I wrote something about it on my October 2 post. The Synod runs from October 4-29. But it began on October 1 with a three day retreat outside of Rome. Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, former Master of the Order of Preachers (the Dominicans), gave the reflections each day. His talks are available on YouTube as well as the Vatican website. When I scrolled down on Youtube, I found the complete talks in printable form too. I found Fr. Radcliffe’s reflections very worthwhile, so today I am offering you his first meditation.
The talk is only 31 minutes long and it’s in English. (Father is from the U.K.) Father begins with the account of the Transfiguration (Lk. 9:28-36). Throughout his talk he weaves together scripture and brief but incredible stories from his world travels, some stories from war-torn places such as Rwanda, Syria, and Iran. I jotted down some of his words and I’ll share them with you now:
Father begins by acknowledging that we come to this Synod with “contradictory hopes.” Some of us are hoping for change–for example, in the role of women in the Church. Others are hoping against such change. He raises the question: what kind of shared hope can we at this Synod? And he proceeds to offer some beautiful words on what our shared hope really is.
At one point he tells the story of a little girl he saw in a children’s home in Bagdad. She had no arms or legs, yet there she was feeding one of the younger children by holding the spoonful of food in her mouth. He asked, “What’s the use of such small acts of goodness in a war zone?” Then he answers this question by recalling Jesus’ words at the Last Supper.
A few more of his statements:
He tells the participants: “Your greatest gift from this Synod will come from those with whom you disagree.”
“Despair is the terror that nothing makes sense… Hope is the conviction that all our suffering, joys, and sorrows will have meaning.”
Father’s conviction: “The nonsense of violence will not have the last word.”
News: Three of my books on Amazon are now available as ebooks: Traits of a Healthy Spirituality, When the Rain Speaks, and Picking Strawberries. Price is $6.99. (A big thank you to my fellow SND, fellow blogger, and good friend Sr. Kathleen Glavich for converting these books into ebooks so you now have a choice of format!)
I hope this brief reflection whets your appetite to listen to Father Radcliffe’s beautiful meditation. Here he is speaking to the Bishops, priests, laymen and laywomen of the Synod.
As usual, I invite you to offer a comment below…