Monday, 23 December 2013

Transitions

By Brother Daniel Leckman


Many things have taken place in my life during the past month that I wanted to blog about:
  • The call I received one night after my Vatican II class (in the midst of all my business during the last few weeks of class no less) to begin a new blog on Pope Francis’ exhortation Evangelii Gaudium: Praying with Papal Documents. Almost two weeks later, I’ve slowly made my way through the introduction of the exhortation, taking two paragraphs every second day or so, and giving my own analysis of what I think the Pope is inviting us to with this document!
  • The inspiration I received while I was sitting in my last class at Regis College. In that class, as I was hearing about the lives of Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, a desire was planted within me to learn more about the Catholic Worker Movement. Also, a desire to bring some life back into the movement in Canada. This may sounds a little overambitious but whatever it was, it left me with a desire to help build a community where marginalized people can gather together in a spirit of solidarity and love. This may be more my own vision that Dorothy’ Day’s, but she has a lot to teach me about how this type of community can be developed.
  • The fact that, although I’ve now completed all my work around my degree, my mind can’t seem to stop thinking about the new evangelization. I ask what my role could be in the process of helping develop this evangelization in Canada.
  • This week, I went to see Les Misérables on stage for the first time in ten years. I got a last-minute seat that could not have been more than thirty feet from the stage, though I was on the third level. Being so close to the stage I almost felt like I was part of the story. I became much more emotional than I had expected around it’s unfolding (even sobbing out loud during certain scenes). I walked away after almost three hours of music, wondering how this had impacted the people who had seen it with me, and wanting to speak to them in order to ensure they had properly appropriated their experience.
  • Finally, and most obvious of all, the fact that I’m moving back to Québec within a week. In early January I am beginning a whole new ministry in spiritual direction which leaves me excited, scared, and a little sad at the same time as I’m also leaving behind one of the best group of friends that I’ve had in my life – both with Jesuits and students at Regis.
All of these events point to one major theme in my life these days: a theme so big that I made it the title of this entry. And I feel that it probably needs a little song to go along with it (the obvious choice being the intro to Fiddler on the Roof, replacing the word “Tradition” with “Transition”!).

Transition is a little scary but it’s the core of who we are as Jesuits. I don’t think we’d be living our vocation well if we weren’t constantly transitioning towards something else: something new, something challenging, and, yes, something hard and a little scary but eventually rewarding. Maybe this is why I’m so much at peace around this transition period in my life. I’m used to it. I’d prefer to stay longer in Toronto and stay close to the ones who are dear to me but I know that God has big plans for me.

What I sometimes lose sight of is how big those plans really are. I either forget how much strength and beauty God sees in me or I shy away from accepting the big project that God has inspired in my heart. Case in point: evangelization. This is a subject that means a lot to me. How do we communicate faith and justice to our world? Part of the answer is simple: learn that lesson for yourself first and then you can speak about doing it for others. Unfortunately, I all-too-often want to skip that part and go straight to talking to others about God’s love for them.

Maybe during this Advent season I can learn to say my “yes” to God with a bit more patience; but also with as much zeal and faith as Mary did. I pray that during this season God opens us to be free enough to respond to the miracle that is His great love: a love that never ceases to labor in our lives and in our world. And labours especially in our periods of transition.

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