Walking Together on the Path of Hope
(Reflecting on the motto of the XXXIV General Chapter of the Congregation of the Resurrection)
“We are all pilgrims on the same journey; but only some have more accurate maps”.
To the Chapter Preparatory Commission, I would like to make a good start by congratulating you on the selection and formulation of the theme/topic of the XXXIV General Chapter of the Congregation of the Resurrection. For already, at the first reading of these four words that are consistent with each other, one senses a content that refers back to the Pope Francis' "synodality" immersed in the Bible, in our history and in the ecclesiology. I'll explain it one by one, opining on the individual words, their clusters and finally the entire equivalent of a sentence. I say "equivalent" because this string of word sequence with the verb in the infinitive (‘go’) is not a classical sentence. That is, it lacks a proper sentence, since the used infinitive functions as a subject, which includes all that are the addressees of this message, and so this slogan can alternatively read: "marching together on the path of hope is the duty of all Resurrectionists". Also not to be overlooked is the imperative that emanates from this phrase, and so it could be formulated even shorter: "We must walk together on the road of hope". That would be enough by way of introduction - about the "architecture" capitol/capitalist slogan. Now we'll move on to tapping individual words and their clusters ("together we go", "way of hope") and the whole slogan ("together go the way of hope").
1) Together, Meaning Together
An adverb (adverbium) is such a part of speech, which by its very root already source word indicates some kind of dependence, bond: The adverb is attached to the word/verb. Our word ‘together’ is adverb of manner, because it announces how it is to the action specified by the verb ‘go’ is to take place. ‘Together’ signals, first of all, that it must be a collective subject, composed of many persons and that they are all to go simultaneously, together, jointly, together, one beside the other. This therefore excludes any (1) walking alone, "in the wild", in separation, separately, apart, independently.
It seems - especially when reading documents related to the XVI Synod of Bishops - that the adverb ‘together’ is a favourite word of Pope Francis. Here are some quotes (2) : "Walking together - the faithful, shepherds, the Bishop of Rome - is an idea easy to express in words, but it is not so easy to put it into practice" (p. 8); "The Church is nothing other than 'wandering together' God's sheepfold along the paths of history to the meeting with Christ the Lord" (p. 11); "As the Church, which 'wanders together' with people, participating in the anguish of history, we nourish the dream that the rediscovery of inviolable human dignity and the servant function of authority will also be able to help civil society" (p. 15). These are words from a speech at a ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Synod of Bishops (Oct. 17, 2015). In this spirit he also spoke to the Oblate missionaries (5 X 2022): "Rediscover the beauty and importance of walking together. I encourage you to be promoters of communion through manifestations of solidarity, proximity, synodality and fraternity with all" (3).
And a month before the solemn beginning of the current synod (i.e., 18 IX 2021) the Pope, speaking to the faithful of the Diocese of Rome, dedicated an entire catechesis (4) to the Synod; he then explained some of the themes. "The Church goes forward, walks together, is synodal. But it is always the Holy Spirit who is the great protagonist of the Church; the Shepherds walk with the people, sometimes at the front, sometimes in the middle, sometimes at the back. A good shepherd must move in this way precisely this way: in front to lead the flock, in the middle to encourage the way and not to forget the smell of the flock, in the back, because the people also have their 'good smell'. He has a keen sense of how to look for new paths or find those that have been lost; the Church, with its ability to discern, needs, the reality of life and the power of the Spirit, strives forward, walks together, is synodal; the Church is strengthened when it rediscovers that it is a people who wants to move forward together, with each other and with humanity. The Roman people are a multiplicity of all nations and states. What an extraordinary wealth is this diversity!" (5)
When I read these Papal takeaways, I think that this is where Francis' came to the brilliant intuition of Francis, who realizes that "it wasn't from Krakow was built right away" that it is not right away that the faithful experience ecclesiastical community or mystical communion. The first stage on this path seems to be the group, where people simply gather together, without any ties or commitments; they just get together and go together to, for example, manifest something, demonstrate something, (for or against) or experience something together (a match, a concert). The next step would be a community; here those gathered together already have some common goal, common formation, common celebrations, and even common property. The highest manifestation of community is communion in the Church, where the symptom is close union with God and people.
The International Theological Commission reminds us: "Eucharist creates communion and fosters communion with God and with our brothers and sisters. Created by Christ through the Holy Spirit, communion is shared by men and women, who, having the same dignity as the baptized, receive from the Father and with responsibility carry out the various vocations - flowing from baptism, confirmation, ordination and the special gifts of the Holy Spirit - in order to form one Body out of many members" (6).
Various communities appear on the pages of Scripture: from marital, tribal and national to apostolic. Besides, God in calling us into existence, wanted us to participate in the communion of the Trinity. But He didn't just mean community with Himself. At creation He said, “It is not good for man to be alone, I will therefore make him therefore suitable help for him” (Genesis 2:18). He, therefore, created man and woman to be in unity, created a family that is a reflection of the Triune God. The Bible is a book that speaks of community. In the Old Covenant, God chose the Israelites to be His people; in the New He calls a new community - the Church which is the mystical Body of Christ, the community of believers. Thus, our life God has planned as a community endeavour, because safer together, in quantity strength, because community strengthens, helps and supports.
2) To Go, Meaning to Walk
Our adverb ‘together’ is related to the following behind the infinitive of the verb ‘go’; it modifies it and rounds it out. The infinitive (infinitivus) is a part of speech which functions as an entry in a dictionary, i.e., in itself does not indicate person, tense, side, mode and number. The word ‘go’ enjoys, of course, numerous "relatives" (synonyms); for example: to walk, to chase, to march, to run, to step, to follow, to proceed, travel, pilgrimage, step, hurry, walk, wander, glide foot by foot, limp along, walk, tromp, be on the road. As you can see, it's about movement (forward) in all these verbs, about moving (in different intensities and in different forms) about putting one step after another step, to move from place A to place B on foot and thus change one's position.
The opposite (antonyms) of these dynamic terms are words that speak of the absence of any movement, lack of change and action: apathy, immobility, inaction, inertia, deadness, stasis, immobility, stalemate, stoppage, lethargy, passivity, marasmus, immutability, indifference, quiet ism, paralysis, ossification, stagnation. This is something like the command in a military drill: march in place; then one should run one's feet, but it's as if something is bucking: the road does not decrease and nothing changes. Meanwhile - as all the wise ones around preach movement is life; life is about movement and movement is its essence. Unfortunately, most of us forget this truth and lead a sedentary lifestyle, which later takes its toll on health.
Pope Francis knows that this is also the case in the Church, that's why on various occasions he asks not to get "sedentary", exhorts to get off the couch (which is a picture of: activity, revival, mobilization, stirring) and to hit the road: "We think that in order for us to be happy, we need a good couch. A couch that will help us live comfortably, peacefully, quite safely. A couch - like the ones that of peace and quiet to transport us to the world of video games and spending hours in front of the computer. A couch for all types of pain and fear. Couch that makes us stay cooped up at home, without toiling or worrying. We did not come into the world to 'vegetate' to spend our lives comfortably. spend our lives, we came for another reason, to leave a mark. It is very sad when we go through life without leaving a trace. And when we choose comfort, mistaking happiness for consumption, then the price we pay is very and very high: we lose our freedom. No, we are free so that we can leave a mark. Jesus is not the Lord of comfort, security and comfort. To follow Jesus, one must have some courage, one must decide to swap the couch for a pair of shoes that will help you walk on roads you never dreamed of or even that you never thought of, on roads that can open up new horizons, suitable for infecting you with joy, that joy which is born of the love of God, the joy that leaves in your heart every gesture, every attitude of mercy". This is what the Pope said to young people from around the world at the during the vigil at World Youth Day in Krakow, July 30 2016 (7).
And at another time (in the aforementioned address to the faithful of the Diocese of Rome, September 18, 2021) he explained that "stagnation cannot be a good condition for the Church. Movement, on the other hand, is a consequence of submission to the action of the Holy Spirit who is the director of the story, in which everyone is the tireless protagonists of the foreground, never unmoved" (8). And in general, Pope Francis, time and again, asks the clergy and the faithful not to be satisfied with the percentages of people present in church, but to have the courage to set out with the Good News to the outskirts and peripheries of the world (9).
Every General Chapter in the order - as a collegial body of authority and governance in solemn form and endowed with supreme authority in the institute - acts much like the starter of an internal combustion engine or better: a pacemaker whose function is to stimulate, accelerate the heart's rhythm and monitoring it. Our Constitutions, among basic tasks of the Chapter enumerate: "concern for the common good Congregation, promoting the unity of the Congregation, stimulating the cooperation within the congregation and evaluating its fidelity charism" (10). This energy to stir the hearts of our community flows from the Holy Spirit, who, offering us the gift of fortitude, helps us draw strength for life from the very source of vitality and movement, from God himself. For this reason, chapters always begin with a prayer of supplication to the Holy Spirit: Veni Creator...
In the Old Testament, the longest road to travel was that of the chosen people, when, with Abraham of Ur (in Mesopotamia) in the lead, they walked to the Promised Land, and then under the leadership of Moses from Egyptian slavery through the desert and Sinai (where God handed down the Decalogue) for forty years wandered to Palestine, which was to be "the land of milk and honey flowing". Therefore, later, when Israel departed from the Lord, the prophet Hosea recalls the wandering through the desert comparing it to a period of betrothal and announces that they will go out into the desert again (cf. Hosea 2).
In the New Testament, the trek to Bethlehem is made by Mary and Joseph and the Three Kings; in the name of spreading the faith, Jesus (11) wanders with his apostles and disciples, all the while heading toward Jerusalem, where on Golgotha he will be crucified and resurrected. The motif of "walking" is presented by Jesus in the parable of the prodigal son, who leaves his father's house and goes out into the world to wander, and then, recognizing his own mistakes and errors, returns repentant to his father's house. And the last words that the Risen One addressed to the apostles were formulated in the command: "Go into the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). And immediately, the evangelist adds: "They (indeed) went and preached the gospel everywhere" (Mark 16:20).
Pope Francis noted: "Today in Jesus' "go" present are always new scenarios and challenges of the Church's evangelization mission. We are all called to this missionary "go forth." Every Christian and every community should discern what path they should walk in accordance with the Lord's call, but we are all invited to accept this call: to step out of our own comfort and gain the courage to reach out to all the peripheries of the world in need of the light of the Gospel" (12). Amazing wanderings are also undertaken by the Apostle Paul, founding the first churches and assisting them with teaching, comforting them, giving them courage, showing them the right paths. The same can be said of the disciples of Jesus and all the missionaries in the history of the Church.
In fiction, the motif of wandering/pilgrimage is very popular and occurs in every era (13). It is impossible to cite here all the examples, but three beautiful lyricists I cannot give up (14). Our national bard Cyprian Kamil Norwid (1821-1883) portrays the eponymous pilgrim (15) as a religious man, who in heaven's womb abides, and heaven snatches his soul like a pyramid. and so far he goes, the earth has as much as its foot covers. Edward Stachura (1937-1979), a poet-traveller by avocation, passionate poet-traveller already by the title of the poem emphasizes that one wandering is the life of man (16) . This wandering, whose path and time no one knows, constitutes the meaning of our existence. The important thing is to keep going, not to give up and not to look back. In the last stanza the poet almost shouts: As long as the forces/However, go after all I will go nothing is nothing/Till the strength/I'll walk I'll run/I won't give up.
Zbigniew Herbert (1924-1998), hiding behind the fictional character of the traveller Mr. Cogito, offers a fervent poetic prayer to God, which is full of gratitude for rational people, which exudes admiration for the beauty of the work of creation, over the goodness and richness of this world. Along the way he recalls people from whom he experienced goodness, recalls beautiful images of nature and works of art. Subsequent episodes reflect the richness of the world created by the good God. The poet paints it by means of epithets, comparisons and metaphors. The prayer also has a spirit of thanksgiving. Mr. Cogito/Herbert, enraptured by the beauty of the world, feels admiration and gratitude to the Creator. He perceives the world as complex, diverse, rich. He sees beauty in seemingly ordinary phenomena: a small donkey on the island of Korkyra sang to me from its incomprehensible bellows of the lungs melancholy landscape (17). The prayer ends with an act of personal request and thanksgiving: that I understand other people other languages other/ suffering/above all that I be humble that is, one/ who thirsts for the source/ thank you Lord that you created the world beautiful and different/ if it is your seduction I am seduced for/forever and without forgiveness. To sum up: the topos of wandering can be understood in two ways. Literally it means a journey, a trip, wandering, walking, moving about. Figuratively, on the other hand, it refers to the life of man, which appears as one great journey: from birth to death, from the cradle to the coffin.
3. Walking Together, or Pilgrim Community
Already these two words - according to modern ecclesiology - suggest a view of the Church (with, at the same time, of our Congregation, which is after all, "in the Church and for the Church" 18) as a living community
(communio). "alive" - because it is in motion, animated by the action of the Holy Spirit; "living" - because it is moving toward the goal in life eternal life, the salvation of all people, and the synonym for salvation is heaven - the most holy place. Since this is supernatural and religious, therefore this "wandering together" can be called a pilgrimage (peregrinatio), which dictionaries define as "a journey undertaken from a religious motive to a holy place".
The exhortation Vita Consecrata (dated March 25, 1996) uses in this context the term: signum fraternitatis (sign of brotherhood) and explains: "The unquestionable merit of consecrated life is that. precisely thanks to it, the Church continues to feel keenly the need for fraternity as a confession of faith in the Trinity. Through the persistent developing it has shown that participation in Trinitarian communion can transform human relationships and create a new type of solidarity. In this way it shows people both the beauty of fraternal communion and the concrete ways to it. For consecrated persons live for God and from God, and precisely for this reason they can testify to the power of grace that brings reconciliation and destroys the mechanisms opposed to unity, present in the human heart and in social relations" (19). This vision of consecrated life, which has written on its banners the commitment to love and serve every person, because in him or her God is revealed. It is a vision of a religious order that is not only an institution with its laws and structures - but first and foremost a mission and a mission (20).
Walking together, we listen and talk to each other, that is, we discern and seek the right answers to the problems that arise. This is a slow and arduous process, but one must enter into it. There is no other way out there is. The General Secretariat of the Synod explains: "By walking together and together reflecting on the path travelled, the Church will be able to learn based on what it learns and experiences, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit. Enlightened by the Word of God and united in prayer we will be able to discern what processes can help us seek God's will and follow the paths to which God calls us - toward greater communion, fuller participation and greater openness to fulfilling our mission in the world" (21).
It is well known that the specialists in discernment are (following St. Ignatius and his Spiritual Exercises) the Jesuit order, and the Pope is a Jesuit and lives a Jesuit spirituality, which is why he uses the term discernment in all his speeches, and calls for all Christians to practice discernment. One time (January 9, 2020) the current General (Arturo Sosa SJ) wrote about leadership and discernment this way: "The problem is that today there are probably so many ways of understandings of discernment as many. Each of us interprets it in our own way.... Of course, every discernment is not something easy. We know this at the individual level. How to interpret the stirrings of our spirit, to distinguish between spirits, to separate the grain from the chaff, to distinguish the stirrings, that lead to life from those that lead to death. As we well know, we need spiritual accompaniment that is good and wise. If this is the case regarding individual discernment, how much more we need it in groups!" (22) . Therefore, in every community (all the more even more so in a Chapter!) it is essential to have a member who, open to the Holy Spirit, sees deeper and farther.
What does this imply for Resurrectionists? First of all, there is it is a challenge for us not to become entrenched in the grubby little niches, we may be attacked by spiritual lumbago; second: these two words invite us to go out, which is necessary to get somewhere, which is part of Paschal spirituality, by the way; third: "go together" excludes all forms of individualism and separatism, and invites us to joint initiatives and actions. One enters heaven with a community. In the Letter to the Hebrews (Hebrews 11:10.16; 12:22; 13:14) there is mention of a "the city," that is, the community. Thus, one cannot be saved in solitary complacency, in a sense of being chosen, singularly, in a narcissistic manner without relationships with others. One can only be saved in community, that is, in the city.
Our Constitutions emphasize the value of this community with a simple sentence: "The strength of our congregation depends on the intense spiritual life and fruitful apostolate of each local community" and further invokes the powers of the Holy Spirit: "Through the power of the Holy Spirit we can become a visible sign that it is possible to live together in love according to the principles of the Gospel" (23). And one more thing: When we walk together, we not only talk, but also work together; then one completes the other. We mutually enrich each other, because everyone has a view from a different perspective, and each is enriching.
And finally: it is important to remember when traveling: hiking is an effort, and any effort tires, brings weakness, loss of strength. In the course of this pilgrimage through the land, it is therefore necessary to take care of some regenerating meal, because one's own strength is not enough to reach the finish line, to the kingdom of heaven. The best meal is the one given to us by us the Lord Jesus: the Bread from heaven. Without this Bread, which is Christ's body for the life of the world, we will not reach our goal.
4. Road, or a Strip of Land for Traffic
To say that a ‘road’ (via) - that is, a separate and demarcated strip of land, properly marked and paved, intended for traffic - has always has always accompanied man, is as much as to say nothing. Yes, we know that the word has many aspects and dimensions: material, spiritual, cultural, scientific. It is enough to glance at the map to see the different categories and classes of roads: internal and public, local and common, national, provincial, county and municipal, access and dirt roads, highways and expressways.
The word ‘road’ itself also has a whole range of substitutes: avenue, arterial, highway, boulevard, duct, route, bypass, promenade, street, cruise, trail, highway, path, track, tract, route. All types of roads and paths are there not to walk cross-country, on a saga, swamps, marshes, meadows, roosts, moors, verges; not to wander in the wildernesses, deserts and astray.
Recall that the most ancient and natural roads were trodden paths by animals, which were later used by humans. Over time, trade routes appeared (such as amber, silk or salt). When trying to answer the question of what benefits of the road for humans, we can say that the road network (24) facilitates human contact, enables the transportation of goods (trade), promotes communication and assists in the movement of man – the eternal pilgrim (‘homo viator’). For all human existence has a wandering/pilgrim character. Being on the road is the basic human condition. While being on the road, one must also remember what Fr. Paweł Szerlowski, a priest of the Wroclaw archdiocese, sings: "A journey without return our life is after all and wandering somewhere to the destination there to the other shore. You will take nothing but the good you give them" (25). Thus, the path of human life, like earthly time has its end and not subject to recurrence and repetition.
The International Theological Commission explains the phenomenon of the road thus: "The road is an image that explains our understanding of the mystery of the Christ as the Way that leads to the Father. Jesus is the way from God to man and from man to God.... The Church walks with Christ, through Christ and in Christ. He, the Wanderer, the Way and the Father, gives His Spirit of love, so that in Him we follow "the more perfect way." The Church is called to follow in the footsteps of her Lord until His return. It is People of the way going down to the kingdom of heaven" (26). This being "on the road" cannot mean a makeshift existence, and therefore a neglect of temporal and earthly affairs. God wants man already on this earth to reach the essential stage of future glory (27). "On the move" means moving forward, a kind of mobilization of change, progress and development.
The Bible presents us with many different paths. There are roads on which the repopulation of the earth and the exile from paradise takes place; there are roads of wandering dispersion throughout the earth; there is the way of Abraham, there are the ways of the prophets and there is the Israelite exodus. The New Testament, too, describes numerous roads: there is the way of Mary to Elizabeth, of the Holy Family to Bethlehem, to Egypt and to the temple in Jerusalem, there is
Christ's journey with his disciples through the cities and villages in Galilee and beyond, there are the ways of His disciples sent out throughout the world to the ends of the earth, there are the admirable Pauline ways/journeys of the apostolic journeys. On these biblical roads sometimes important salvation events. In the Acts of the Apostles, Christianity, as a new religion, was called "the way" (28). This is because the first Christians believed for they had found the right path to happiness. It was the teaching of Christ and Himself, who called Himself "the Way" (cf. John 14:6-7). Only one who follows Him can reach the Father through Him.
We are all called to go, to "go". Pope Francis writes: "Every Christian and every community should discern, what path they should take in accordance with the Lord's call, but we are all are invited to accept this call: to step out of our own comfort and muster the courage to reach out to all the peripheries of the world in need of the light of the Gospel.... It is vital that the Church, adopting faithfully the example of the Master, go out today to proclaim the Gospel to all people, in every place, on every occasion, without procrastinating, without reluctance and without fear. The joy of the Gospel is for all the people; it cannot exclude anyone from participating in it" (29).
The Church, which is on the road, is by its nature missionary, because it goes to the world to share the Good News with others. It cannot remain "at home," but must "go out into the world" and meet the, often excluded and marginalized, to lead them on the path he himself wanders. Such a perspective returns us to the vision of the Church, (missio). Consecrated life is also a mission, as Vita Consecrata: "Under the action of the Holy Spirit, who is the source of every vocation and charism, consecrated life itself becomes a mission, just as the whole life of Jesus the whole life of Jesus was.... Religious life will be all the more apostolic, the deeper will be its devotion to the Lord Jesus, the more community life is imbued with the spirit of fraternity and the more zealously engaged in fulfilling the special mission of the Institute" (30).
5. Hope, or the Virtue of the Way
Dictionaries generally define hope as "the expectation of the fulfilment of something desirable and trusting that it will be realized". Or they emphasize that "hope is the desire for the fulfilment of what we expect". They offer also numerous synonyms that are not quite the same as the essence of hope (31). As we look in the Catechism, we find hope among the divine virtues: Between faith and love. That is, it is closest to faith and love. Benedict XVI in his encyclical Spe Salvi (Nov. 30, 2007) proclaims right at the outset explicitly that "faith is hope" and explains: "In some texts of the biblical texts, the words "faith" and "hope" seem to be used interchangeably (32) … Hope appears as a distinguishing element of Christians, proof that they have a future: they don't know exactly what awaits them, but they generally know that their lives do not end in emptiness. Only when the future is certain as a positive reality, one can live in the present. Thus, we can conclude: Christianity was not just "good news" - the transmission of content hitherto unknown. Using our language, we should say that the Christian message not only "informs", but also "makes". This means: The Gospel is not merely a transmission of content that can be known, but is a message, that creates facts and changes lives" (33). Of course, for a believer the most important thing is hope based on trust and faith in God: For us hope, which is born from the Gospel, from the encounter with God, comes so to speak, "from automatic", which we are not even always aware of. It happens outside of our consciousness. Yet it is precisely thanks to hope we are certainly different people, we look at the world quite differently; thanks to it we see further, we act better, we function better, we walk more gracefully the path of life.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church brings a more precise definition of hope: "It is a theological virtue by which we desire as our happiness the kingdom of heaven and eternal life, putting our confidence in the promises of Christ and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit" (34). I wrote above that hope is virtue of the road, because, being on the road, every wanderer expects that with the God's grace whole and healthy he will somehow reach his destination. This virtue directs for our existence towards the future: that in this world and that on the other shore of life; "it protects us from doubt, sustains us in every abandonment, broadens our heart every abandonment, broadens the heart in anticipation of happiness eternal" (35). It is especially helpful and necessary when a person experiences evil, pain, suffering, illness, deprivation, breakdown, loss of strength and vitality; when he longs for a better world, love, truth, etc.
Reading into the Pope's words from the aforementioned encyclical, which is a short treatise on hope, we will learn that "we need small and larger hopes. greater hopes, which day after day sustain us on our journey. However, without the great hope, which must surpass the others, they are insufficient. This great hope can only be God, who embraces the universe, and who can offer and give us what we ourselves cannot we cannot achieve" (36). In the final section of the encyclical, Benedict XVI answering the question of where one can practically learn the virtue of hope and to exercise in it, he enumerates three places: prayer, action and suffering, and the Last Judgment (37).
The need for hope is mentioned repeatedly in Sacred Scripture, but also warns against false hope. Here are three quotes: “Do not put your trust in the dignitaries or in the son of the earthly man, to whom deliverance does not belong” (Psalm 148:3). And the beautiful text of St. John carries hope and sets it next to love: "Look at what love the us the Father: we have been called children of God, and indeed we are. But the world does not know us because it has not come to know Him. Beloved, now we are God's children, but it has not yet been revealed what we will be. We know that when He reveals Himself, we will be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who places this hope in Him, sanctifies himself, just as He is holy" (1 John 3:1-3). St. Peter, on the other hand mentions the resurrection of Christ as
"guarantee" of living hope: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ. Christ. He in his great mercy through the rising from the of Jesus Christ from the dead, he has born us anew to a living hope: to the inheritance indestructible and undefiled and unfading, which is preserved for you in heaven. For you are by faith guarded by the power of God for salvation, ready to be revealed at the last time. Therefore, rejoice, although now you must experience some sorrow because of various experiences” (1 Peter 1:3-6).
If ecclesiology today speaks of the Church in three manifestations: as a community, mission and mystery, then hope certainly directs our views of the Church through the "telescope" of mystery. Fr. Andrzej Napiórkowski, a professor at the Pontifical University of John Paul II in Kraków, rightly remarks: "Mysterium Ecclesiae explore not so much the theoretical deductions about it, but the co-creation of its earthly and heavenly reality in prayer and witness of life. The Church is better understood by the one who loves it, rather than by those who create ever new definitions of love. The Church must first of all be seen as a mystery of the self-giving of the Triune God to sinful man, who in his freedom opens himself to God's proposal of divine life" (38).
Regarding consecrated life in the aspect of mystery, John Paul II teaches: "Consecrated life is the proclamation of what the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit by his love, his goodness, with his beauty... It also reveals to all people the overwhelming greatness of the of the power of Christ reigning and the unlimited power of the Holy Spirit working preternaturally in the Church. The first task of consecrated life consecrated life is to show the great works that God is doing in the flawed human nature of those called.... Thus, consecrated life consecrated life becomes one of the visible traces that the Holy Trinity leaves in history in order to arouse in people awe of the beauty of God and a longing for Him" (39).
6. The Path of Hope, or the Safe Route
As stated above, we have a variety of roads, with different degree of difficulty and safety, especially those located in high-mountain regions. high mountainous areas. Ba, there are roads in the world by which the journey freezes the blood in the veins (Bolivia, China, Russia, Norway, India); some of them in their name even have the word "death". Poland, fortunately, has no such type of roads, but ranks among the last in the European Union in terms of road safety. Speaking of road safety roads, the codes emphasize that one must keep in mind three cardinal principles: safe speed, (special) caution and limited trust.
I think the same principles apply to spiritual roads: 1) everything has its time and it is impossible to skip or speed up certain stages; 2) the spiritual realm is a delicate "matter" where a lot of empathy, prudence and prudence not to enter it with "muddy shoes"; 3) of course, on the one hand, one needs to have a firm trust in the inspirations of the Holy Spirit and the guidance of spiritual guides, on the other hand, fellow travellers on the road can sometimes miss the truth. Therefore, St. Paul gives simple advice on this subject:” Do not quench the Spirit, do not disregard prophecy. Study everything, and what is noble - preserve. Avoid everything that has even a semblance of evil “(1Thes. 5:19-22).
Our way is not the first better way; it has a name and a certificate that gives it the right to carry and multiply hope. Hence the way of hope is a safe spiritual path that leads the believer to holiness. It is a path that leads to the fullness of being, to living life in its entire fullness, to communion with God, so that the holiness of God becomes the holiness of man. Progress on this path is inherently complex and covered with mystery. This is why spiritual masters use images when writing about it. St. Teresa of Avila speaks of abiding in the seven apartments of the spiritual fortress, John of the Cross about walking in the midst of the night, Thérèse of Lisieux about the elevator elevating man to God. And Peter Semenenko CR, the great mystic, recorded: "Ah! I fear nothing, I am not troubled, I care for nothing, So safe and peaceful in Your [Jesus and Mary's] heart Transcendent and holy! You do with my soul, with our soul, what pleases you your pleasure; your secrets, your pleasure, all your delight" (40).
Scripture in Genesis presents the the classic/exemplary path of hope that was chosen and followed by the patriarch Abraham, because he believed in hope against hope (Romans 4:18) and in this hope he persevered to the end, for hope is a reliable and strong anchor of the soul (Hebrews 6:19), because it is a creative force, not hooray-optimism. On the path of hope we meet other people who are traveling in the same direction. direction. How not to enter into dialogue with them! How not to support each other and not take actions that will be a sign of hope! After all, by following the path of hope, we are de facto following Christ, who is of gentle and humble heart, who follows the disciples to Emmaus (41). For hope for the Christian exists only with, through and in Christ. Him and in Him. True hope can only be tasted by those who have come to know the one true God, who have met Christ.
Following the path of hope, we carry a great expectation in our hearts (42): We proclaim your death, Lord Jesus, we confess your Resurrection, and we await Your coming in glory - we respond in the acclamation in the Mass immediately after the Transubstantiation. In the Eucharist we experience a real encounter with God. He comes, enters our lives, transforms our hearts. In the first Advent Preface we thank God for His plan of salvation and confess: “He will come again in the splendour of His glory to give us the promised gifts which, watching, we confidently await. So, we give thanks for this plan of God, which also includes the certainty that Jesus He will come again, not in the covering of man, but already enveloped in Divine glory”.
7. Walking the Path of Hope Together, or a Signpost for Resurrectionists for the Coming Years
Already the word order in the slogan in question indicates that the most important word here is the verb "go" it is the axis around which the merry-go-round of the other words revolves around; it is the main structure to which the doled out three appendages/adjectives answering the questions: how (together - i.e., the circumstantial of manner) and which way (by way of hope - i.e., the circumstantial of place), and place determiner). These three circumstances, as it were, complete the message, that the slogan-road signpost carries. And the task of a signpost is to indicate the direction in which you need to go to reach your destination.
Let's take a closer look at this signpost! As already noted, the most important call is to urge you to move (43), to proverbial "get off the couch" and to go out into the world. The Congregation is strengthened when it rediscovers that it is sent out to go beyond its limitations and, transcending boundaries, to go on together to the ends of the world, bringing people the hope that opens to the eternal perspective of the God's life. In this life we ourselves participate, and therefore we can be true, transparent and credible.
This dynamism of "exit" to which God continues to encourage believers, (44) is felt clearly in these first words of the slogan. For how one can go without first getting up from one's armchair/throne, without leaving one's home, one's own homestead and fences? How can one get anywhere without reading the signposts, or having an up-to-date GPS (45)? In the Message for the 52nd World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Francis wrote: "The experience of going out is a paradigm of the Christian life, especially for those who accept the vocation of special dedication to the service of the Gospel. It consists in an attitude of constant conversion and transformation, abiding in a constant pilgrimage, in passing from death to life... Vocation is always an action of God, who brings us out of our initial situation, liberates us from all forms of slavery, pulls us out of habit and indifference, pushing us towards the joy of communion with God and brothers. To respond to God's call, therefore, is to allow Him to lead us out of false stability to guide us on the way to Jesus Christ, the most important and ultimate goal of our lives and our happiness” (46). This is why I called the General Chapter above "a pacemaker of the heart".
Together - that is, who else goes with us? The Bishops, of course, Superiors, who can go - just like shepherds - "sometimes at the front, sometimes in the middle, sometimes at the back". In front, to show the way; in the middle, to hear what fellow shepherds are feeling; and in the back, to help those who, for various reasons, find themselves at the end of the road. In this "together" includes still all those to whom we minister in parishes and schools, and especially those we count among the so-called "Resurrectionist laity" and these are "communities, associations and groups that through formation in the spirit of the Congregation identify with our charism and mission" (47). We go all together, because the more the merrier, in quantity strength, because the community inspires, secures, strengthens, helps and supports.
To go together is to bet on community, and exclude self-reliance, self-sufficiency, separation, isolation, remoteness, separateness, separation. According to Fr. Miroslaw Cholewa, there are seven sins against the community (48). These are: conversion - not of oneself, but of others; rivalry - that is, fighting for influence and power; lack of sincerity -. i.e., an avalanche of cowardice, insinuations, spin and appearances; sins of language that are most often revealed in murmuring behind one's back, judging, flattery, talk and gossip (49); unclear relationships and rules - in other words: murky water, and in murky water the devils bathe; lack of forgiveness - in other words, building walls of distrust, sulking and hostility; closing in on one another - i.e., turning the community into a mutual adoration society.
The Second Vatican Council reminds that "all people are called to union with Christ, who is the light of the world and from whom from whom we come, through whom we live, to whom we aspire" (50). Jesus, following the Paschal way, invites everyone, respecting the free will of man: “If anyone wants to come after me” (Matthew 16:24). Thus, entering this path is only possible through the free decision to adhere to Jesus, “he goes on to talk about the conditions for this following, which are: denying oneself and bearing one's cross. The paschal road is not a lonely road to fancy self-affliction, where we gradually annihilate ourselves (self-denial) and impose unbearable burdens on ourselves (carrying one's cross). This is the way “after” and "with" Jesus. It is a path in self-denial through death to life. In order to save ourselves for eternity, we are to "lose" our lives like the Saviour. If we say that we are walking together, that means we are also walking with Jesus, and His way is also somehow our way, on which we discover that we are loved by God. Only in the context of love, then, one can read the meaning of man's Paschal journey. The Resurrection is the guarantee that all our "personal history" will not perish with our death, but in its own time will be resurrected to a better existence.
In his Chapter Decree (dated October 4, 2022), Father General Paul Voisin CR aptly rubbed shoulders with the disciples on the road to Emmaus, emphasizing, that "we walk with the Lord Jesus, and He continues to bless us and bestow on us the grace that allows us to open our eyes and makes our hearts burn anew. In this way, we will be able to see the Risen Lord as He really is, and we will become more faithful witnesses of His resurrection.... Just as in the midst of confusion, fear and doubt experienced by the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, Him and share our charism and mission in the Church and for the Church".
Why is this periscope so important for Resurrectionists? Why should it be obligatory for us to study, reflect and contemplate? Yes, all the ways of the Risen One - from coming out of the tomb to his ascension into heaven - are feathered with hope, but the one to Emmaus (and
back) contains incredible layers for exploitation (51), pastoral-theological. One can speak endlessly about Emmaus. However, the limited framework and concept of this submission does not allow for a broader distribution of the topic, so I would like, at least buzzword-wise draw attention to three things: 1) the threefold view of the Church; 2) the model of pastoral ministry; 3) the paradigm of God's intervention.
This Emmaus periscope, which is a clear triptych (on the road to Emmaus, at the inn at Emmaus and on the road from Emmaus to Jerusalem) perfectly hints at and facilitates (thanks to the artistic means used by the creators of the altarpiece in the Resurrectionist Seminary Church in Kraków). A look at the Church/Congregation in three views: 1) The left wing of the triptych depicts the Risen One, still a Stranger, who, with an open book, has joined the frustrate two disciples. One can still hear their: “And we expected”, while He “latched” onto them had already begun to explain to them what was about Him in the all the Scriptures. The two wanderers, having stopped with curiosity only set their ears. This installation reminds us that Church is a mystery that must not only be worshipped, but also explained, to study. 2) In the centre, at a stone table in which the tabernacle is embedded, all three are seated, with Jesus in the middle. The table is essentially empty; with only the Lord's powerful hands a loaf of bread can be seen half-broken. The sharing of the bread is a Eucharistic sign, a gesture of gift-giving, and signals the communion of the table. This representation illustrates that the Church is a communion of faith, hope and love, a community united by the Eucharist. 3) These two (because the Stranger recognized as His own, disappeared) left not only the inn, but also the altar setting, they went outside, they return to where they resignedly left they left. They return to the city, to Jerusalem, they return to their own, to tell them pass on what happened on the road and how they met Him at the breaking of the bread. Carrying the book, they walk nimbly, though their feet cut in the mud, immersed up to their ankles in the ground, for they are driven by an inner rush. haste. How can we not see the Church in this arrangement as a mission rooted in mystery and communion?
Four steps can be extracted and formulated from the gospel of Emmaus of pastoral ministry. The first step is to meet people where they just happened to find himself in his brokenness and sorrow, in depression and trepidation, in disappointment and hopelessness. To meet and accompany him on his journey, even if we don't fully know where it leads. The second step is to empathize with his situation, and through conversation try to throw him "in" some explanations of the mystery and direct him to God's ways. The third step is to guide him to the community table, to the sacraments (Reconciliation, Eucharist). Finally, the fourth step is to send him out into the community, to show him what his mission and place in the community. Such a ministry is the so-called pastoral ministry ordinary, which is always carried out in the parish, because here “there is no longer a Greek or Jew, slave or free, but all in all is Christ” (Col. 3:11).
Our periscope also reveals how God intervenes in human affairs and destinies. Dogmatics teaches that how the one person of the Trinity acts, the Holy Spirit, then the other persons also cooperate, that is, God's intervention is always a joint action of the entire Holy Trinity. However, with this communal intervention, one of the Persons comes to the forefront and, as it were "firms" this divine intervention. The example of the events at Emmaus shows that when Christ (the second person of the Trinity) fulfilled his task (He explained the Scriptures and broke the bread), after the self-revelation He disappeared to them; that is, He made room for the Holy Spirit, who converted these two back on the road to Jerusalem, sent to the brothers, to the community, to tell the story of what took place on the road and how they met Him after breaking the bread.
But let's return to the signpost for the coming years, which directs us directs us to the path of hope, that is, the path of the Risen One. This is not the first time that General Chapters have inscribed on their banners the word "hope". The five previous Chapters of the (52) were also dedicated to hope. This is a sign that although our Congregation is a tiny flock, wishes to be a witness to this virtue in this world where hope is a "commodity" scarce. To be a witness of hope means: to be able and willing to read the signs of its hidden presence in the daily events of people and societies.
In this context, it should also be noted that our signpost chapter signpost is of a different nature than those vertical roadside signposts roadside signposts. From our signpost we will not know where it leads, how far to the destination, how much time is needed to travel the road. We won't know how to learn, but after all, we have it written in our minds and hearts that the purpose of our life and work in the congregation is to give glory to God, because He is infinite goodness and love.... And we give glory to God, by showing the presence of the risen Christ in the world. In order to accomplish this, we will strive for our personal sanctification by taking Christ as our model and living in ever-increasing communion with Him (53) .
It is time to conclude this lengthy reflection on the four words of the motto/theme of the XXIV General Chapter of the Resurrectionists. It is only fitting to conclude to wish the members of the Chapter openness to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit. As to capitulars, I wish them the courage not to capitulate before any challenge they will manage to discern communally; as to confreres I simply wish them good thoughts and a communicative message.
Kazimierz Wójtowicz CR
PS 1. This above submission wants to be a response to the request of Father General that "all members of the Congregation get involved in the preparation of the General Chapter".
PS 2. Feci, quod potui, faciant meliora potentes. I have done what I could; let those who can do better.
1. Which is exactly what it says: TOGETHER GOING THE WAY OF HOPE.
- See Toward a Synodal Church, Krakow 2021, ALLELUJA Publishing House, where the five most important perosynodal documents.
3. https://www.vaticannews.va/pl/papiez/news/2022-10/papiez-do-misjonar zy-oblatow-sluzcie-gospel-hope.html.
4. See. https://synod.org.pl ' Synod materials
5. Of course, the papal lectionary was also followed by peri-synodal documents; see Toward a Synodal Church
Synodal Church, e.g., pp. 28, 68, 77, 80, 90, 93. 97, 102, 118, etc.
6. Toward the Synodal Church, p. 93.
7. https://papiez.wiara.pl/doc/3332986. “Kanapa-szczęście-jest-cichym-paraliżem.
8. https://kongreskk.pl/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Przemo%CC%81wieni e-Franciszka-18wrzes%CC%81nia-2021-pl.pdf
9. cf. Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 23.
10. CR Constitutions, 86.
11. As the gospels describe, Jesus lived a nomadic lifestyle; being constantly on the road, he did not found a permanent home on this earth.
12. Evangelii Gaudium, 20.
13. Examples include Homer's Odyssey, or Cervantes' Don Quixote of La Mancha, Winnie the Fatalist and His Lordship by Diderot, or The Witcher by A. Sapkowski.
14. These include C.K. Norwid's Pilgrim, E. Stachura's Wędrówką życie jest człowieka, and Prayer of Mr. Cogito - a traveller by Z. Herbert.
17. Zbigniew Herbert, Selected Poems, new and revised edition, selection and compilation by R. Krynicki, Krakow 2017, pp. 201-203.
18. CR Constitutions, 11.
19. Vita Consecrata, 41.
20. Missio (mission) is also the vision of the Church, seen through the prism of its tasks in the context of going and walking to the ends of the earth.
21. Toward a Synodal Church, p. 152.
22. https://jezuici.pl/2020/01/general-jezuitow-o-przywodztwie-i-rozeznawani u/
23. CR Constitutions, 135, 136.
24. The denser the road network, the more developed and prosperous the country.
25. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DK7lwOkNoKs&ab_channel=Gabriel 26. Toward a Synodal Church, 49-50.
27. Cf. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 39.
28. Acts 9:2; 18:25; 24:22.
29. Evangelii gaudium, 20; 23.
30. Vita consecrata, 72.
31. Np. dyskrecja, oczekiwanie, otucha, szansa, przewidywanie, perspektywy, przypuszczenie.
32. Klasyczny tekst pochodzi z Hbr 11,1: Wiara jest poręką tych dóbr, których się spodziewamy, dowodem tych rzeczywistości, których nie widzimy.
33. Spe salvi, 2.
34. CCC, 1817.
35. CCC, 1818.
36. Spe salvi, 31.
37. Jw. 32-48.
38. A. A. Napiórkowski TSOPE, Reinterpretation of the integral emergence and development of the Church, [in.] "Roczniki Teologiczne" 9/2020, p.24.
39. Vita consecrata, 20.
40. Journal, July 2, 1853.
41. Which will be discussed in more detail in the last/next section.
42. And everyone who waits for something hopes that it will be fulfilled.
43 This is why I called the General Chapter above "a pacemaker of the heart".
44. From Abraham to Moses, through the prophets to the way of Jesus.
45. Such a GPS on the spiritual path is the Gospel with its indications.
46. https://papiez.wiara.pl/doc/2434110.Wyjscie-fundamentalne-doswiadcze nie-powolania/2
47. Provincial Statutes (Polish), 1998, 105.
49. Pope Francis has called gossip "a deadly poison", "a plague worse than coronavirus".
50. Lumen Gentium, 3.
51. An example of such exploitation can be found in: K. Wójtowicz,
Emmaus a seminary formation program,
Krakow 2006, or the SESA formation course entitled EMAUS.
52. Beginning with the one from 1993 on "The New Evangelization as a Mission of the Sons of Bogdan Janski”, where it was noted that "The New Evangelization as a Mission of the Sons of Bogdan Janski”. It was noted that "the Founder is for us an example of a pastor going after people, a pastor gathering people into communities from wherever they happen to be) up to 2017: "Witnesses of the presence of the Risen One - from the community to the world".
53. CR Constitutions, 4 - 5.
Posted on Feb 2023,