“The Synod is a process of spiritual discernment, of ecclesial discernment, that unfolds in adoration, in prayer and in dialogue with the word of God. God’s word is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb 4:12). That word summons us to discernment, and it brings light to that process.
“It guides the Synod, preventing it from becoming a Church convention, a study group or a political gathering, a parliament, but rather a grace-filled event, a process of healing guided by the Spirit. In these days, Jesus calls us, as he did the rich man in the Gospel, to empty ourselves, to free ourselves from all that is worldly, including our inward-looking and outworn pastoral models; and to ask ourselves what it is that God wants to say to us in this time. And the direction in which he wants to lead us.
“Dear brothers and sisters, let us have a good journey together! May we be pilgrims in love with the Gospel and open to the surprises of the Holy Spirit. Let us not miss out on the grace-filled opportunities born of encounter, listening and discernment. In the joyful conviction that, even as we seek the Lord, he always comes with his love to meet us first.”
These are the words of our Holy Father Pope Francis as he celebrated the Mass in St Peter’s Basilica for the opening of the Synod. We have begun to journey with Pope Francis, with the whole Church, with all of humankind.
It is not a journey of a few meetings, nor of a few months leading us to the point where we submit our thoughts as a local church or diocese. It goes way beyond 2023 and the focal meeting of the Synod in Rome. This journeying together will not stop, for it is meant to lead us all together into God’s Kingdom in this world and the world beyond time.
Yours in blessed hope,