The poet Emily Dickinson died on May 15, 1886. Given that tomorrow will be all about our Founder, I will lead with her in today’s reflection. She wrote, “The sailor cannot see the North, but knows the needle can.” Perhaps as a Chapter we have a similar poetic sentiment: “How do we move together toward the reign of God, our true north?”
Yet, even with the thorough approach of these days to guide us, it simply isn’t possible to see the North. The pathways we are designing are meant to lead us where we want to go but it isn’t at all certain that they are heading in that direction. To use, and hopefully not to abuse, Dickinson’s metaphor, we have to rely on the needle.
Every Chapter confronts this reality, this “unknown known.” And every Chapter works to be clear about the signs of the times, the call within those signs and the response within the call. Today, and into next week, we will continue to define and refine the response. And, of course, there are many responses, each with its rationale, steps, roles and timelines. There are many needles we rely on in all of this: that of Scripture, faith, tradition, history and heritage come to mind. And if we are sailors in foggy waters, we move in the direction of what is saving, what is sustaining and what is life-giving.
This afternoon we began our reflection on the characteristics we seek in those to whom we entrust roles in central government. We met in language and Regional groups and then in plenary to share our perspectives. And the needle we follow in this discernment is that of the Holy Spirit.
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 >
Photo from May 9, courtesy Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools Communications Service