We opened the Chapter this morning singing Veni Sancte Spiritus (Come Holy Spirit). The thought occurs to me that the Spirit is already in and among us—so the chant’s intent is to invite the Spirit to enflame us, maybe even to set us on fire. Maybe that’ll wake us up!
Spiritus is breath. It’s a word that powerfully link us to our very life. A lot of words that derive from this root—respire, inspire, aspire, conspire—take on new depth when viewed through a theological lens. Through that lens, then, our prayer this morning expresses the desire that our human breath becomes one with the divine breath.
There’s a negative connotation to “conspire,” but our Chapter is very much about breathing together, “conspiring,” if you will. If you’re with me, here’s the double challenge for the capitulants: to breathe as one among ourselves and to breathe as one with the Holy Spirit.
So, breathing together means understanding one another. Though we have translators to help us with that, the real translation task is to listen for what is meant more than what is said. Our Institute is a brilliant mosaic of cultures. Listening to what is meant requires paying deep attention to culture. Humility helps too, as in seeing the best in another’s culture while laughing humbly at your own.
Sister Leslye Sándigo, our facilitator, introduced us to a wonderful activity to get us to pay deep attention. At one point in the process, I was in a more-or-less random group—Irish, Filipino, Eritrean, Sri Lankan and American—and found myself marveling at how we indeed were “con-spiring” as we identified what for us was a key value for this Chapter encounter. And marveling at how our morning prayer was answered.
Brother Timothy Coldwell, FSC, is General Councilor for the Lasallian Region of North America. He is providing reflections throughout the 46th General Chapter, which are being shared on Lasallian.info and on Facebook and Twitter. Learn more about the General Chapter here and from the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. Search #FSC46GC on social media for more highlights. Visit the General Councilor’s page for more reflections from Brother Tim >
Photos courtesy Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools Communications Service