World Assembly Reflections – Day #8

July 29th

Today was our final day of communal discernment with ESDAQ in which we prayed for a greater integration in our CLC/Ignatian charism in the morning, and then appropriate what we had received during these last days of our discernment.

Our morning prayer was focused upon how to complete this beginning phrase: “As a CLC, we are called today to…” Among the fruits of our prayers were many who felt we were being called to greater, more visible service in our apostolic presence; that we were being called to deeper companionship and support with one another in our CLC community; that we were being called to a better understanding and witness of our Ignatian charism as discerning disciples; and for greater trust in what Christ was calling each us within CLC. The fruits of these discernments were captured by each group on poster paper and presented to our Assembly for all to see and prayerfully ponder.

My own sense was that perhaps we need to be more flexible and mentoring to each other as companions. The image that came to me in this morning prayer was the Taize community… a very appealing and visible witness of hospitality to thousands and thousands of people. Through our own Ignatian charism, how can we be just as welcoming and hospitality to those around us? One particular difficulty that we have in CLC is the structure of our group dynamics. While it certainly develops ‘community’ and intimacy within the group, it can also prove to be difficult in welcoming people who would be interested in becoming part of CLC if there were not enough interested people to form a new group. One question for us to prayerfully consider is how we can help make our CLC structure more welcoming and open through the inspiration of Taize? It is a question that we have struggled with for a while, and that we have explored through Open Groups, but needs to be explored further.

Then we entered into a prayerful pondering of the gifts that we have received so far in our Assembly journey. What are we bringing back to our Nationals? For many of us this Assembly has been a reaffirmation of our CLC vocations. There was one European member who was recently elected as President of their CLC National… very reluctantly. This new President entered the Assembly questioning their desire even to be here, given how busy their life was and the time it was taking away from it. But yesterday, talking with me, they were immensely affirmed and deeply grateful in an entirely new way for their presence within CLC through their experience being here. There was a tremendous reaffirmation for many people in the CLC vocations; a new sense of belonging; profound gratitude for the opportunity to enter into ongoing spiritual conversation with CLC members from different parts of the world; a better sense of how to facilitate community. We took all of the fruits of this prayer – the gifts we have received from our communal discernment – and walked out in procession to present them around the Mary pond in gratitude for all we received.

These days have been rich and full of meaning for us Assembly participants. But for many there is still a question that remains… where do we go from here. Some expressed to me a lack of clarity, a lack of a mandate in going forward for the new world Exco, and for us Nationals. The last Assembly in Lebanon called us to the apostolic Frontiers. Where are we being towards this Assembly? This is a question that remains for many. Perhaps to a greater sense of the Examen in our communal lives… in how we live our CLC vocations together… with greater intentionality of appropriating what we have received, and in how we have failed to respond? A scripture passage we were asked to pray with was Isaiah 43:18-19, in which contains this image: “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” Many of us here are a little unperceptive at the moment. Perhaps between this Assembly and the next we are being called to help each other within our National communities perceive this “new thing” that has arisen amongst us a little more clearly.

Though this “new thing” and our future orientation as a World Community throughout out Nationals remains unclear for many at the moment – myself included – the Assembly atmosphere this evening is one filled with immense consolation and gratitude… I hear laughter and confidances all around me at the moment.

Tomorrow the desks come back… back to serious business…. looking at proposed Amendments to our General Principles and General Norms, Budget Approval, etc… groan:( But at least it will be a different kind of day. So many of us were aware of the prayerful intensity of these last days.

Attached as photos you will see our big Assembly tent from the outside, as well as the Marian pond in which we offered all of our gifts this evening (too dark to take a photo of that).

Blessings to you all,