So you say you are weak...

Some weeks ago I asked my sisters: given everything Sophie lived through, her actions, attitudes and what she wrote in letters and conferences, what do you think she might be saying to us now? What words of consolation, encouragement or inspiration might she have for us today, as we celebrate her feast in strange, uncertain and fearful times?

Among the responses, one sister suggested the same words which had come to me, even as I typed that email. It is, in fact, one of my favourite quotes from her writing, of which I have often reminded myself over the years: So you say you are weak; but have you measured the strength of God?

Have you measured...? It is, of course, a rhetorical question, God's strength being as immeasurable as his love. But for Sophie it was a certainty born of the experience of that strength, poured into a timid young woman from a quiet backwater... a strength which gradually moulded and transformed this reticent, unlikeliest of founders into the Mother Barat who developed and directed the Society for more than sixty years. The recurring crises and threats to her authority, the setbacks and fluctuations in civil and ecclesial politics, the wars, illnesses and revolutions have all been well documented; throughout them all, Sophie clung to the God to whom she had pledged her life and in whose loving care she placed all her trust. She knew her weakness and limitations only too well - and because of this, she truly knew and experienced God's strength, and the grace with which it is invariably filled.

Trust was certainly a recurrent theme in Sophie's writing, and in her life, alongside openness - to the Spirit, to the possibilities of change... to whatever God might be asking of her in a situation. An openness which came from a life spent discovering and drawing from the depths of the ever-open Heart of Jesus. As we celebrate her feast, and try to imagine and prepare for a hugely different future, we ask Sophie to pray with and for us, that we too can grow in trust and openness... and be filled with the strength and grace which surpass all understanding... and all measurement.

Happy feast to you all! And I hope this little video of Sophie's words and attitudes will give you encouragement and inspiration for today, and into the future. What are the words you hear her saying to you...?