:: Feb_recollection17
(John 8:32)

Discernment is the call of the moment to our Congregation primarily because of these two requirements that we are going
  • to review, evaluate and to promote the religious spirit and apostolic effectiveness of the Provinces and Regions in the month of April
  • to elect Provincial and Provincial Councillors in the Provinces
    All of us are aware that discernment is one of the most important aspects of our spiritual life and I invite all of you to enter into the important spiritual exercise of discernment.

Discernment is an act in everyday life
Discernment is an art of heart and spirit but not the head. We need to engage in serious discernment every day regarding our way of life and ministry. If we want to live the adventure of faith by living out our vocation and our mission, we need discernment. At the beginning of each day and of meditation, Mass and Communion, we need to declare to God that we desire to belong to Him entirely, and that we will devote ourselves wholly to acquiring the spirit of prayer and of the interior life. We need to make it our chief study to conform ourselves to the Will of God even in the smallest things.

It was God!
Discernment is about reading the signs of daily life to remember God. Experiences of God come often during our daily lives. The more aware we become of today's experiences, the more frequently we will recognize them in the future. We can encounter God anytime, anywhere. Moses was able to discern the presence of God in the burning bush (Exodus 3) and respond to his voice immediately. God spoke to Elijah in a whisper (1 Kings 19: 9 - 18). God speaking in the still small voice to Elijah is to show us that the work of God need not always be accompanied by dramatic revelation or manifestations. Our discernment capacity helps us to understand and experience God in our daily events.

Which Way?
"Am I really going the right way in my life?". This question directly touches upon our personal faith, relationship with God and neighbour, sense of belonging to the Congregation, authenticity in our religious attitudes, our mission involvement and fraternal commitment. Even the most well - intentioned people have days when nothing seems to go well and some deeply painful thoughts occur. It cannot be resolved simply by someone else telling us that we are heading in the right or the wrong direction. We need to discern clearly about which way we are going. Which way are we going?. We can take an honest look at ourselves and notice whether we are aware of being where we belong at this time or whether we are confused and disturbed in our depths. The latter is a warning, inviting us to make some change in a part of our lives.

Treading through darkness
01. Let us examine the status of our ministries today

We have been responding together to the most important needs of God’s people everywhere. We have been adapting our ministries to meet the times. An immeasurable number of students have benefited from our care and educational expertise. We help homeless women and children. We respond to the needs of the sick. We also minister as social workers in various ways. Our ministries are rooted in the charism of our foundress. But all our century old ministries are facing set back these days.

02. Even our traditional ministries are facing setback
  • We are facing many problems in our education ministry. The rate of enrolment in our regional language schools is steadily going down over the last few years. The language trends are clear to see. English is growing slowly and steadily. A day will come, perhaps sometime in the next 10 years, when all parents will want to educate their children in English medium schools only. What is the quality of our English medium Schools? Even after a decade of learning English in our schools, the students fail to use the language effectively in day to day communication. It is easy to blame teachers, but it is important to look at the issue at a deeper level. The real question is how do we reconcile quantitative growth with the pursuit of quality?.
  • The regulatory requirements as suggested by the Government for private clinics, hospitals and dispensaries have become real block to continue or to develop or to grow in our medical ministry.
  • The days are nearing that we may need to close the doors of our orphanages due to the pressure from the local authorities and in the light of the new Government guidelines notified by the WCD (Women and Child Development) Ministry of India.
As you prepare yourselves for the Province Chapter in your Province, please do discern how the Province is called to live our mission into the emerging future, a future which calls for interpretation of our charism and vision, creativity, courage, commitment, solidarity with the poor so that God’s immense, tender, strong and merciful love may shape that future of the Congregation and the society. I welcome all of you to this journey together as an individual, community and Province/Region!

Imitate Jesus' discernment
Jesus showed discernment in all he said and did. He used good judgment when he preached the good news, choosing gracious words that amazed his listeners (Luke 4:22, Matt 7:28). He often let God’s Word speak for him reading, quoting or referring to just the right scriptures to make his point (Matt 4:4, 7, 10; 12:1 - 5; Luke 4:16 - 21). Discernment helped Jesus to control his spirit, making him slow to anger (Proverbs 16:32). He was mild - tempered (Matt 11:29). He was always patient with his disciples despite their failings (Mark 14:34 - 38, Luke 22:24 - 27). He remained calm even when he was treated unjustly (1 Pet 2:23).

Discernment also enabled Jesus to be reasonable. He saw beyond the letter of the Mosaic Law so he perceived the spirit behind that Law and acted accordingly (Mark 5:25 - 34). Jesus showed discernment in choosing the right course and then sticking to it. He devoted himself to the preaching of the good news, making it his lifework (Luke 4:43). Jesus also stayed on course, making decisions that enabled him to remain focused on the work and to see it through to a successful completion.

Discernment enables us to control our spirit, making us slow to anger (Jas 1:19). When others offend us, we try to discern what is behind their words or actions. Such insight can melt anger and help us to overlook an offense (Proverbs 19:11). Discernment also helps us to be reasonable. We thus try to be realistic in what we expect of our sisters and people, remembering that they may be facing challenges that we do not fully understand. We keep on track by making decisions that enable us to stay focused on our ministry and religious attitudes.

It is an important hour today to make an inspired choice
We will commit ourselves today to cultivate a spirit of discernment that will help us to choose with wisdom and trust the next Provincial of your Province.