Dear Members and Friends,
The current issue of the Bulletin is a continuation of the Residential Seminar theme on, “The Changing Landscape of Religious Missionary Life.” It contains more reflections; planning and visualising where and how we can forge our way in the future with the new understanding of mission.
After the rich inputs by various Speakers on the theme, the participants undertook real soul-searching. It was like standing at crossroads and choosing the direction to continue the missionary journey as religious.
At the end of the Seminar everyone was anxious to know what awaits us. After deliberating on the theme, “Changing landscape of missionary religious life”, there were some serious reflections on what lies before us. The main question was, “What are we going to take along?” We see lots of changes in and around us. There are external and internal changes that shape our identity as religious and as missionaries which raise another question as to what is our role in these constant and ongoing changes. At this juncture, each one of us must ask the question – “What am I and what is my mission in this context?” We live in a troubled world. We see people suffering from growing violence like war, terrorism, religious fundamentalism, suffering from epidemics, suffering from pollution of various kinds; besides, many are suffering from hunger, poverty and oppression. The situation naturally leads to depression and hopelessness. But we have the consoling words of the Gospel that give us strength and hope. In his parting message Jesus says, “Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God; believe also in me” (Jn 14:1). We just need to have faith and follow him and he leads us to green pastures. Just like YAHWEH who led his people to the land that he had promised. He led Abraham, Jacob, Isaac and Joseph. Whenever the Israelites lost sight of the path to the Promised Land, God brought them back. He always visited his people and he continue to visit his people even today. He is alive in history. We have nothing to fear, be it the reduced number of vocations or the empty churches. He was there during the terrible events in past and present today in our difficult times to guide and lead us.
Nothing passes God unnoticed. It is he who prepares our destiny and leads us on. Today, through the changing landscape, Jesus is letting us glimpse our new destiny, the Promise Land. What we need is to have faith, follow him, for he is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (Jn 14:6).
I am sure the Bulletin will enlighten us all and lead us to deepen reflections on our life as a religious and missionary and help us to lead the Way, the way forward.
Fr. John Paul Herman, SVD
Director of SEDOS