SINODALITY: a journey of transformation… Third Probation

SINODALITY: a journey of transformation… Third Probation

Synodality: a path of transformation in the small things

Let’s talk about synodality… that was the proposal of our last workshop. But, rather than talking about a “trend topic”, we realised that synodality is the very way the Church is! It is the way Jesus wanted His disciples (not only the 12, but what they mean: the universality of all the baptised) to continue His mission of announcing the Good News.

So, to begin with, synodality is not something “new” or “modern” but something ancient, radical (because it comes from the very root of Christianity). And precisely because it is so essential, it renews everything at every moment… if we know how to accept it as “the path that God wants for the Church of the third millennium” (Pope Francis).

Yes, God wants us to walk together: that is synodality. But what does it really mean, and what are its implications for our life as a church? And not only in the life of the great events (assemblies, synods, meetings, decision-making…) but in the life of every day, ordinary, simple, small, insignificant… the life where God reveals Himself to us.

Synodality is woven from daily relationships of Good Treatment… which is not a protocol or a list of “10 steps to be kind” but a way of being and being that recognises the other in his dignity and diversity, that sees him with the gaze of Goodness so proper to God… and discovers the treasure hidden in fragility, that bears his wounds and trusts in the other to learn from him, to walk with him….

Hence, deep respect (adoring the presence of God in the other), welcoming and listening to all, as bearers of the Spirit, are essential attitudes for us to be able to walk.

Synodality can only be built if we start from the fact that the Church is the community of all the baptised… that through baptism we all receive the Grace of the Holy Spirit who guides the Church through all the faithful. For one is the Shepherd…and all the others follow the “great Shepherd of the sheep”…. When we understand this, we can live each ordained ministry and each charism as a gift received to put at the service of the Church, with all the richness that comes with that same ministry and charism… because God rejoices in that diversity! And it is the same Spirit who grants ministries and charisms.

Therefore, this journey together will also have to transform the very structures of the Church: and when we say transform, we mean prune so that it may bear more fruit, tear down what does not build…. And also to awaken our hearts numbed by indifference to the pain of our brothers and sisters who, being part of the Church, are at the same time its victims.

For when, instead of serving the Body of the Church, we use it to gain power, we are perverting the mission and vocation entrusted to us by God. This is true for all of us in the Church, especially those of us who have been entrusted with the responsibility of caring for others, more fragile or smaller.

Finally, living synodality requires a certain method, based above all on listening, discernment and consensus-building in a co-responsible way. But in a synodal Church, the goal is on the road itself. If we walk together, what matters is to arrive together and not so much if we reach a certain idealised point… but only a few.

We ourselves have had that experience in this workshop… we never felt that there was not enough time to finish, because what we were doing in the process was already the end in itself.

It does not mean that we walk aimlessly: we follow the One who called all the baptised. But if we go together and allow ourselves to be transformed in dialogue with one another, we will discover, like those on the road to Emmaus, that He walks with us.

Experiencing that the church is a pilgrim church begins in our own lives, living the joy of the shared journey which, in the little things, transforms us more and more into the style of His heart.

Leonor Franco, aci