violette

violette
Heart's ease - an infusion was said to help mend a broken heart

Sunday, 22 January 2012

An old friend

Yesterday I met some old friends for a belated birthday celebration. One of these is someone I have known all my life (we grew up a few doors away from each other), while I first encountered the other at primary school, and became friends as teenagers. Each one, in her own way, is woven into my life, part of who and what I am, as only old friends can be. Both of them still live in the area in which I grew up, so the visit took me past the bottom of my old road, past familiar landmarks and old haunts. These places, too, are part of me.

Then today I met with about 50 members of my province for a day of reflection on our Constitutions - the "guidebook" for all RSCJ. This is part of a congregational process to celebrate 30 years since the writing of the 1982 Constitutions and 25 years since their approbation in January 1987. Over in the USA Helen is posting short reflections and extracts as her part in this process.

As I held my copy of this book during the morning prayer I remembered the first time I held it, when it was put into my hands by the Provincial the day I became a novice. A few days later I opened it, and began studying these Constitutions, beginning with the End and Mission.

I had joined the Society because, of all the congregations I visited, it was the only place where I truly, deeply, felt at home. Somehow, I felt the Society, its charism, spirituality and mission chimed in with who and what I was - but I didn't quite know how. And then I read the End and Mission, with a growing sense of recognition and excitement. When I got to Paragraph 8 something within me leapt for joy - the joy of jubilant, unerring recognition. Here was an old friend, one who had been with me all my life, who was inextricably part of my life, and yet, until this moment, I had never seen her face.

It was a powerful moment of knowing; a confirmation of why I had felt at home, why I had asked to join.

In the intervening 17 years this friend and I have had plenty of opportunity to deepen our friendship. Time and again she challenges and inspires me, teaching me new things about myself and this tremendous life and charism to which I am called. The Constitutions truly are an old friend, increasingly woven into the very fabric of my life and identity. I look forward to more of this process, more opportunity to get to know her even better.

1 comment:

  1. Ah! A wonderful tribute to my "new" friend. Thank you--very touching.

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