Rev. Bryan Massingale’s presentation opened with a poem by the Celtic priest and poet, John O’Donohue (d. 2008). It was an artful move. “For the Interim Time” names our social, ecclesial and Institute experience. We find ourselves in a place where “The old is not old enough to have died away | The new is still too young to be born.”
It’s an uncomfortable place, the in-between, the not-yet. Massingale identified signs of the times that push us into this liminal space—populist nationalisms, climate disruption, sexuality, war—but didn’t leave us there to despair. He offered resources from our faith tradition to draw on for our resolve and resilience: courage, hope, YHWH. He urged us to be “God-possessed,” in the same way De La Salle was, and to be on fire for the reign of God, in the same way Jesus was.
Even if this is the first Chapter for the majority of the capitulants, the style, method and process is unique and so the veterans are unlearning and learning right alongside the “novices.” This is the third Chapter to receive the proposal and vision of the International Assembly for the Lasallian Educational Mission (AIMEL). As in past Chapters, it was reviewed and ratified; what is new is that the AIMEL delegates will meet again in October-November to develop concrete lines of action for the Lasallian mission.
When I did a word search of my notes for “new” I shouldn’t have been surprised to see many usages over the past five days. The “new” is always enticing, it always has a cost. Every Chapter holds that dynamic tension, for they are commissioned to look critically at what is happening ad extra and in intra. Inevitably, that brings questions to the surface on whether we need a course correction or whether we stay the course. My sense is that the emerging spirit of these initial days is to challenge the notion that “the new is still too young to be born.”
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 >
Top photo: Rev. Bryan Massingale
Side photo: AIMEL report
Photos courtesy Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools Communications Service