Tuesday, October 16, 2018

FULL TEXT from the Synod - Relatio with Moderator Cardinal Gracias Oswald

Relatio – Circulus Anglicus A
Moderator: Em.mo Card. GRACIAS Oswald
Relator: S.E. Mons. MARTIN Eamon
Reflecting on Part Two of the Working Document we recalled the energy and joy during many interventions in the Aula - particularly from our young people. The Synod came alive during their interventions. One of our bishops remarked, “I never realised a Synod could be so much fun!”
We felt that much of the introductory material might be integrated into the three following chapters on Vocation, Accompaniment and Discernment. The opening paragraph of Part Two explains that the “reference horizon for vocational discernment is “Christ’s call to live according to his intentions (73)”. Our Group was inspired, by John’s Gospel Chapter One, to highlight the importance of young people having an encounter with Jesus in their lives. If this is to happen, then someone needs to introduce them to Jesus - to point and say, as John the Baptist did, “Look, there is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world”. The Church must offer our young people the great invitation to faith: “Come and see!”
The concrete realities in the lives of young people, which we faced during the first week of this Synod, reminded our Group of the young St Augustine whose heart was restless - weary from seeking God in passing attractions. In this restlessness some young people are already hearing Jesus asking them in their hearts: “What are you looking for?” Others may be brought to an encounter with Jesus by friends, or other significant people in their lives - just as Andrew introduced Jesus to Simon Peter, saying: “We have found the Messiah (Jn 1:41)”.
Our conviction is that Jesus can answer the yearnings of every heart. The “harvest is rich”, and we need more missionary disciples to introduce others to an encounter with Him. It is an encounter that is nourished by prayer, and found and celebrated in the Church.
It is important to remind ourselves that a life of faith and joy in Christ is not impeded by any human limitations of mind or body, by disabilities or social circumstance. We all possess a unique inner beauty given us by God. We are all called to a life of love which cannot be undone by failure, because the sacraments of Confirmation, Eucharist and Reconciliation act as bridges and ‘stepping stones’ back to the Father’s love; neither can death itself separate us from the love of God. The powerful testimony in the Aula of Safa Al Abbia from Iraq, and Sunday’s canonisation of Archbishop Oscar Romero remind us that, in pointing young people to the ‘Lamb of God’ we are not only offering the joy of living in faith, but also the fulfilment of dying in Christ.
As we began our reflection on “Vocation”, in Chapter Two, we were moved to quote words of Blessed John Cardinal Henry Newman:“God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission... I have a part in this great work; I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons (Meditations on Christian Doctrine)”.
We recommend that the Synod final document presents a clear definition of vocation, rooted in a theology, anthropology and ecclesiology which reflect the signs of the times. Given that our Synod might be addressing not only Catholics but “all people of good will”, - including the so-called “nones”: those of no religious affiliation - we considered the fundamental human vocation as a vocation to love, which for Christians bears a name, and that name is Jesus. We see vocation as a voyage of search and discovery.
The term “vocation” itself is much debated and has been usefully unpacked in previous Church documents including “In Verbo Tuo” from the Congregation for Catholic Education (1997). We offer a modus exploring various dimensions of vocation. Our Group emphasised that underlying these dimensions is the fundamental call to align one’s mind and life to that of Christ, and to the will of God - the call to discipleship, which includes the call to eternal life. Gaudete et Exultate invites everyone to share deeply in the life of Jesus Christ. His life is the model, the exemplar of vocation, including his struggle with His Father’s will in the Garden of Gethsemane, and his total self-giving on the Cross - the highest expression of His love and the fullness of His vocation.
An aspect of vocation which we felt might be more fully explored was the “call and response” motif that is familiar to us in the scriptures. God’s call invites a definite response. The call of the prophets and others often includes a reluctant response, in many cases because of their sense of unworthiness. It is here that the grace of God and the promptings of the Holy Spirit become important.
The hopes for “a new Pentecost”, “a new springtime” of holiness to “rejuvenate” the Church have already been expressed in the Aula. We recommend a full paragraph on the sacrament of Confirmation and its links to the other sacraments ofinitiation. We long for a pouring forth of the gifts of the Spirit, and a rediscovery of the baptismal vocation and of the gifts and fruits of Confirmation. The Holy Spirit can rejuvenate the Church by inspiring married, consecrated, single and ordained people to bring their talents and charisms to the service of the Church, dedicated to the building up of the Kingdom and the consecration of the world. Hence all personal vocation is understood within the vocational landscape of the Church.
Our Group suggests a distinct treatment of the response of Mary to God’s call at the Annunciation, including her “Yes”, her “fiat”. We have offered a modus to that effect, including a reflection on the Marian principle and on Mary as the archetypal disciple.
Regarding Chapter Three and “discernment”, we felt that much of this material might be re-edited and more focussed. The catechism (CCC27) is clear that “the desire for God is written in the human heart”; we are created by God, and for God, who never ceases to draw us to himself. Only in God will we find the truth and happiness that we never stop searching for. The theologians in our Group debated the contribution of prudence, ‘consolation’ or ‘satisfaction’, and conscience in the discernment process; we have offered a modus on this for paragraph 117.
Of course, ‘knowing God’s will’ is not always easy. Young people often stand at the crossroads in life seeking the compass which will point them in the right direction. We recognised that, in a world of so many opportunities, it can be difficult for a young person to make choices, especially ones which might jolt them out of their comfort zones. But although some choices might be challenging, we felt that young people are still attracted by the radical call to make a real, heroic and prophetic difference in the world. As Pope Francis said in his homily at Sunday’s canonisation Mass: “Today Jesus invites us to return to the source of joy, which is the encounter with him, the courageous choice to risk everything to follow him, the satisfaction of leaving something behind in order to embrace his way.”
Our Group felt that Chapter Four on “accompaniment” would also benefit from clarification, particularly of the difference between the general support network offered by family, friends and schools to young people, and the specialist spiritual accompaniment provided by trained mentors. We noted that the importance of proper formation of mentors and the accompaniment/ supervision of mentors themselves is critical to their effectiveness as spiritual guides.
Finally, we felt strongly that the role of the Church in pastoral accompaniment as “Mater et Magistra”, and the distinct contribution of “pastors of souls” should be given much greater prominence in this chapter, in preparation for Part III. We have offered a modus on this.
[01611-EN.01] [Original text: English]

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