Sophie's gift

Yesterday the group of RSCJ in Rome preparing for their perpetual vows attended a general audience with the Pope. They had seats near the front, and as the Pope walked to his seat, greeting and being greeted by people on all sides, they managed to catch his attention and talk briefly. He knew our sisters in Argentina, and asked how many novices they have in that country. When told there were none right now, he said You must do something about that - repeating this for emphasis - before adding Your charism is beautiful!

And yes it is beautiful (and no, of course I'm not biased!) - but it's much more than an object for admiration. It's essential; it's needed. A charism centred on the limitless love, compassion and tenderness of a Heart which is always open, drawing us outward and beyond ourselves, especially to woundedness and wherever love is lacking, is so needed. And never more than right now, in the face of populism and intolerance. Certainly it's so needed in the UK, where today we are voting in a General Election especially marked by bitterness, division, dishonesty and strife, where the common good, and the needs and voices of the most vulnerable, are in danger of being cast aside.

Our charism is the gift and legacy to us of our founder St Madeleine Sophie Barat, whose 240th birthday is today. And I've been asking Sophie especially, these past few days, to pray for us, and for the decisions being made today. Such a task doesn't leave her with much time for birthday celebrations, though; and I imagine she will be kept very busy in the time ahead, whatever the General Election's outcome. I am sure, too, that RSCJ throughout the world also keep her busy with the pain and the hope of their own countries - situations which she, who lived through revolutions, instability and turmoil, must understand and want to remedy.

And not only Sophie: her gift - our charism - means that all of us who have inherited her spirit must also be busy, living our vocation and mission as RSCJ. Whatever the outcome of today's election, we will need to continue gathering all this contemplatively into our prayer, discovering and knowing for ourselves, and making known to others, the presence and love of God; deepening our hope and living our fundamental belief that love is stronger than hate, and vastly greater and more powerful than populism, greed and intolerance.

That is at the core of the Sacred Heart, just as it is at the core of our charism - and that is what makes it beautiful.


Post a Comment