As I was going into church this morning, I noticed, as though for the first time, the 1947 marble plaque that offers a short bio of De La Salle, to whom the church was dedicated. “Ému de pitié à la vue de l’ignorance du peuple . . . .” In a similar way the first words of The Rule open, “Deeply moved by the human and spiritual distress of the children of artisans and of the poor . . . .”
There were many deeply moving moments today. At morning prayer, we prayed with a passage from Evangelii Gaudium: “The Holy Spirit works as he wills, when he wills and where he wills; we entrust ourselves without pretending to see striking results. We know only that our commitment is necessary” (279). At one and the same time it is sobering and freeing to consider that our commitment may not see striking results.
Sister Maria Cimperman, RCSJ (Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus), was our retreat leader. Her gentle encouragements and incisive remarks stirred our hearts. She challenged us to bring our tradition into dialogue with the people we encounter and to allow their perspective to penetrate our own. Her storytelling and commentary shed light on the permanent tension between mobility and stability that shapes an apostolic spirituality such as ours. The morning and afternoon periods of reflection were given to grappling with some of the deep questions she gave us.
We brought the day to a close with Eucharistic liturgy. As I entered the church, I took notice of the plaque this time around and thought about how one cannot but be deeply moved by the Institute’s origin story and the life of radical availability we are called to in our own story.
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: A retreat was a highlight at the 46th General Chapter today. Courtesy Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools Communications Service