Meeting of Community Accompaniers
On Friday, 20th June, the Brothers involved in accompaniment of communities gathered for their annual meeting in Habay-la-Vieille. Father Gero McLoughlin, a Jesuit priest living in Edinburgh, Scotland, led the workshop.
Father Gero`s presentations were designed to help us to deepen our spiritual lives. He began with an explanation of the “Examen” on the Friday evening. He explained that St. Ignatius promoted this practice to help members of the Society of Jesus to become more aware of where God was active in their lives. Unfortunately over the years it developed in a different direction, where the focus was on looking for occasions during the day where the person had sinned or fallen short in some way. This was not St. Ignatius` original intention. We ended the evening by taking time to reflect on God`s presence in our lives that day.
On Saturday, 21st June Father Gero shared a range of excerpts from homilies and addresses of Pope Francis, illustrating how his Jesuit background is influencing his teaching. He invited us to reflect on the life of Father Champagnat to identify incidents in his life that showed similar values: mercy, inclusivity, the poor, the Church, Mary.
Most of the workshop was devoted to an exploration of our graced, sin, and hope histories. Father Gero invited us to reflect on our experience as a Province and an Institute since the Second Vatican Council, to identify the ways in which God`s spirit has been present in our experience. After time for personal reflection the Brothers had an opportunity to share in groups. This process helped the participants to reflect on our graced and shadow histories, and to see how God has been present to us through these different experiences.
The Brothers all said how beneficial the weekend was for them personally. They also appreciated Father Gero`s gentle style, and characteristic British humour.
Brother Brendan Geary