As you may or may not be aware, Pope Francis has, among the many wonderful attempts to enliven and enrich the Church, opened the SYNODAL PATH on Sunday October 10th. The process will continue to 2023. The phases of the Synod are interesting and so bear with me as I share it with you.
Okay, why am I sharing this with you? When I read the Pope’s homily for October 10th, I was taken by the three words he used to describe the journey of the Synod. “Celebrating a Synod means walking on the same Road, walking together”, he said. In walking that road, one needs to “encounter, listen and discern”, all which Jesus did when he met the rich young man in the Gospel. It was those three words that grabbed me: encounter, listen and discern.
I thought to myself, do I really encounter someone? Am I present to where they are? Or do I have pat answers to SOLVE their concerns? It can really be tough to be present and ask questions that will help you understand the other. Is there eye contact, an air of peace and calm, or closeness? Hard questions only I can answer.
What about the second verb, listen? Do I really listen to the person I have encountered? A few sentences in, I am already thinking up a solution so we can move on. Am I willing to take the time to listen with my heart, not just my ears? Are we willing to be surprised by the spirit because we are truly listening to perhaps an opinion different than ours?
Now comes discern. Encountering and listening to others is not an end to why we have journeyed down the same road. Hopefully I have been changed because of the encounter and listening, the forming of a relationship. So, what do I do? Are my attitudes in process of growth? Have I experienced a change of heart? Where is this experience taking me? The answer to all of this is to look within. Am I ready to do that and make the changes necessary or is it the ‘same old, same old’? Look at the story of the rich young man; how did Jesus walk with him? Am I willing to do that with another?
On an aside I mentioned this to our RCIA people Sunday and told them that we have encountered each other, hopefully will listen to each other, and then make the discerning decision to take the leap of faith they are being called to.
This week, test these three words and how they operate in your life. Check out the news about the Synod and Pope Francis’ plan regarding its implementation. You’ll may be on a road you never thought you would be, but you won’t be alone.
Till next week,
P.S.: In case you missed it above, here is the direct link to Pope Francis' homily!