22 December 2010

Merry Christmas

Let us remember that the Christmas heart is a giving heart, a wide open heart that thinks of others first. The birth of the baby Jesus stands as the most significant event in all history, because it has meant the pouring into a sick world of the healing medicine of love which has transformed all manner of hearts for almost two thousand years... Underneath all the bulging bundles is this beating Christmas heart.
George Mathhew Adams

Assembly in Australia

I was in Australia during the first week of December, where I lead the provincial assembly in a study of the Constitutions project currently underway. By my count, there were 32 friars participating in the assembly, which ran from the 6th to the 10th of December. I guided the group through the study of the revisions of chapters one, two and four, then the participants divided themselves into six groups, one for each of the remaining revised chapters—three, five, six, seven, nine and ten (the revisions of chapters eight, eleven and twelve were not yet ready). The groups did very well studying the revisions and pointing out some of the more important changes to the rest of the assembly.

I do not consider myself an expert in our Constitutions so I was reluctant at first to lead the assembly on this topic. After all was said and done, however, I was very glad that I did it because it gave me the opportunity (read: forced me) to do a more in-depth study of the project myself. I must admit that I learned a lot. The notes that accompany the revisions are useful and even interesting, at times. They helped me to understand many things not only about the revisions that are being proposed, but about our current Constitutions, as well. If you haven't studied any of the proposed revisions yet, I urge you to do so. Pick the chapter of the Constitutions that most interests you—formation, prayer, poverty, our manner of life, fraternity, penance, ministry, obedience, etc.—and see what the committee is proposing for that chapter. I bet you will learn something too.