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Reflections on the conferences of Br. Philip Pinto

Two days with Brother Philip Pinto, cfc

From the first conversation, we were warned: "Be attentive to what will disturb you not what could strengthen your certainty” In fact; the experience of these two days was energizing, but also challenging, a real journey of faith in our learning to become disciples of Jesus.

Thousands of people are with us here in this chapter: We remember them in our hearts, especially the poorest of them, and we ask “how will the decisions we make will affect them.”
When God touches our lives, our universe expands: this frightens us... but it sets us free! God works in our lives:  do we see this? If there is not the experience of God in our life, there can be no mission. We must live the mission from our experience of God. But we have to discover a face of God that we do not already know, not an idol... We have to learn from Jesus to look at the world and people in a new way. Jesus came to give sight to the blind (Luke 4,18): This is the heart of his message as Messiah. But there is no Messiah without suffering, without death!

A new world is being born... and we too are becoming. In this changing world, we need a new vision of the central message of our faith. We must move away from a vision of the universe centered on humans to a vision centered on God. In fact become aware of the global impact of our actions: we are linked to all the planets of the universe, to all creatures equally loved by God.

Hence the importance of the"ecological conversion", beginning with a protest as we reflect on what God is calling us to.

One important conclusion can be drawn: if we want a different world, we must also build a different church. This is an Invitation to enter into the mystery of Easter: it demands of  us a capacity for contemplation; it demands of us not to fear reality, not to fly before what we do not understand; it also means going beyond our own safety and to keep searching. Not to take ourselves seriously demands humility. This involves abasement and disempowerment and being dispossessed of  our idols!

If we are in communion with all of creation, this raises the question of how we live in community. "See how they love one another! They said of the first Christians". There is no mission without community life, Our elderly "communities" today can give positive witness:  

On the second day, we heard the call to be at the margins... This evokes both birth and death... Only then can we make the journey to become the people we are called to be.

Let us follow the truth to where it leads us, even if it scares us... because if this comes out of an experience of God, there is no need to be afraid. We must free ourselves to welcome the God of the future. We need to see with new eyes, to discover what is trying to emerge, to hear the heart of God, the heart of the world: This is the key to transformation.
The gospel of Jesus is worth the investment of a lifetime! We become as big or as small as the objects of our love, hence a strong appeal not to get trapped in the prison of our material comfort but to seek the true God, the one flame of love that burns and meets the deepest longings of our wounded hearts. We need to take Jesus seriously, reading the signs of our time, what threatens and challenges, reading with honesty and sincerity. For this, we do not need to be afraid of the internal work we need to do, take time for serious reflection on what is happening in our lives; take the necessary measures to do this (spiritual accompaniment, reading, prayer etc...)

When we look at the life of Jesus, we are struck by its consistency and coherence. From where did he get this? We can understand by looking at the call of Moses at the burning bush. The experience is accompanied by a call to mission. it is the integration of  contemplation and action. The God who reveals Himself in Exodus is a liberating God.
Jesus does not call us to a new religion, he calls us to life! Are we his followers or adherents to a religious institution? Today, if we are his disciples, are we ready to identify with God’s project, to open the way to God's Kingdom? This requires prophetic actions: You need to cry aloud to make known the pain of the world.  Free God for the people, and free the people for God.

We have heard many calls during these two days, and we can ask ourselves: how will we proceed?

First be profoundly available. Equally we need to transcend the boundaries of our Congregation and also to accept the questions the world presents us with. Look at how the living is organized in constant interaction with the environment. We will not be creative unless we accept the long and painful labor of every birth, passing through a dark tunnel. We fear to let go, but there is no shortcut... The chaos we go through is a blessing!

We have the opportunity to welcome, to embrace, to let ourselves be transformed by the great force of life. On the cross, Jesus puts himself in the place of someone forsaken by God. "He has taken upon himself the eternal death of those who do not believe in God and who are abandoned by God, so that all may live in communion with him" (Moltmann). God’s disciples are challenged to accept their cross by becoming servants with him (cf. Mk8, 22-10,52). Without the cross, we are not the disciples of the Lord...

Sister Marie Françoise Le Brizault


The liturgy for the mass was prepared by the Provinces of New York and Mid North America