A double and real feast

Moveable feasts being just that - moveable - it rarely happens that the 25th May coincides with the Ascension, as it did in 1865. This is one of those rare years, and even though the Church here now keeps the Ascension on Sunday, today for the Society is a "double and real feast", as a sister declared when she realised the confluence of dates.

Of course, the Society's liturgical calendar makes no mention of the Ascension. Instead, it tells us that our celebrations should emphasise the primordial importance she gave to "union and conformity to the Heart of Jesus" and to fidelity to human relationships and the work of education, both of which served as the basis of her understanding of apostolic community. And that, I'm sure, is how Sophie would want us to celebrate today, focusing not on her, or her arrival in heaven, but on Jesus' all-loving Heart and the spirituality to which she gave her life.

Union and conformity with the Heart of Jesus - in our prayer and activities, our desires, our motivations and our way of viewing the world, with all its pain and loveliness - is fundamental to our call as RSCJ. It calls us to love and serve as Jesus did, and to share his compassionate gaze; it can only be what underpins our relationships, our worldview and our service as educators. And the extent to which we grow in union is the extent to which we become more Christlike in our responses and our interactions, showing forth his tenderness and the strength of his love.

So today especially, let's pray with Sophie for a deepening of our union and conformity with Jesus, and our fidelity and commitment to other peoples' growth and development. Let us pray to become people of hope and compassion, whose lives are anchored in the One who is our centre, knowing that God desires fullness of life for each of us and for our aching, wounded world. (cf. Life Unfolding: Offering the Gift)

And I'm sure this emphasis will undoubtedly make today a double and real feast for all of us, but especially for Sophie!