The love that transforms all

I believe, perhaps naively but also with conviction, that if this world becomes a more liveable place it will only be through love; the love which the Jew Paul speaks about to the Corinthians in Chapter 13 of his first letter... ~ Etty Hillesum, Westerbork Camp, 1942

At the end of November RSCJ in this country met for our Provincial Chapter, where we asked what could be our individual and communal response to a world filled with pain and violence. Yes, there were calls to action, and to acting with justice, but the deepest, strongest call was to deepen and strengthen and increase our love; to counteract hatred and fear with a love which repairs and restores and somehow, mysteriously, transforms. This is a love which calls for and springs from deep faith: faith in the often hidden, seemingly fragile power of love and goodness in the face of hatred and destruction; faith in Jesus' love-filled, evil-overcoming death and resurrection, and in the lives and deaths of more contemporary witnesses to love's power and promise... Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Mahatma Gandhi, Etty Hillesum...

And it is the love which lies at the heart of our call and mission as RSCJ.

Tomorrow nine RSCJ from eight countries will make their perpetual vows, after almost five months of intensive preparation together. As per a long-standing Society tradition started by St Madeleine Sophie, the group has just received a name and devise (motto) which reflects their experience during these months and will accompany them, individually and as a group, for the rest of their lives.

For RSCJ our names and devises give us a new identity and a new call: to be what we are named; to live according to our motto. This group, whose experience has been marked by violence, war, natural disasters and mass migration in different parts of the world, as well as by events carrying hope and promise, has been given a name and a call which is the only possible response to all this: Love Transforms All. As the summary of the closing conference on our international website explains...

In multiple ways, each of these RSCJ encountered "the grace of the love that transforms all!" This grace has led them "to know, to experience, to proclaim that God is the Centre of their life, that Jesus is the one who centres their life"; [and] "the movement of such grace bears fruit in the desire and a call to live what has been received, to be God's transforming love towards all..."

It is a particular call for them, but also for all of us. It's no coincidence that our Provincial Chapter was feeling such a strong call to love just as the probanists were encountering the grace of that love: this is what we are about, and like Etty Hillesum we believe in the power of love. As we pray for the nine RSCJ on the eve of their perpetual vows we pray that we, like them, can make this world more liveable through being and sharing this immense love which repairs, restores and transforms all.

In September the nine probanists took part in an international gathering of young religious in Rome. You can see them and the other Society participants here....