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Wednesday, 26 January 2022 10:37

“Synodality: constitutive nature of consecrated life. How to balance service in authority and faithfulness to the charism today”


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In spite of the uncertainty of this unprecedented time caused by the pandemic that continues to worry us, we celebrated  the annual assembly of the Rome Constellation of UISG on January 11. 
It was a great joy to be able to be personally present after so long a time: to tell each other about ourselves, to rejoice in the presence of the others, to look each other in the eye and experience the joy of being together.  The remote opportunities offered by the Constellation and by the International UISG during these two years of pandemic were certainly a blessing, but presence makes a difference in everything.  The marvel of the fruitfulness of encounter! 
The theme chosen by the leadership group, after consulting with the assembly members saw all of us participants involved in a very current topic of great interest: “Synodality: constitutive nature of consecrated life.  How to balance service of authority and faithfulness to the charism today.” 
Sr. Tiziana Merletti sfp, canon lawyer and UISG consultant, facilitated the morning with an inspiring sharing on the proposed theme and then elaborated on several considerations that had surfaced from the table sharing. 
Sr. Tiziana began by saying that consecrated life is a par excellence “synodal” component of and in the Church.  The underlying criterion of this constitutive nature is precisely communal life as an essential element for identifying the essence of discipleship and the following Jesus. 
Fraternal life not only invigorates missionary activity, but also the awareness of acting communally in the name of Christ.  Therefore, by their essence, Institutes of consecrated life live the reality of synodality of the Church in an absolutely prophetic way.  In the Church as communion,  we discover the beauty of togetherness, of being together, of walking with others.  
We are aware that synodality is a dimension to be continuously conquered because it is not a status but a process.  It is a dynamic to be continuously renewed and nourished with as many educational and formative processes. 
Sr. Tiziana also reminded us that the exercise of synodality is the style of the communal vocation of consecrated life and is a difficult conquest because, in addition to being a dynamic of grace, it is a method of sharing, participation and missionary commitment.  If synodality is not a principle, but rather a method for experiencing mutuality and concern in the ecclesial reality according to the style of evangelical nearness, then fraternity will need to be lived as a synodal mystique. 
The synodal way is neither simple nor comfortable, but it can help us to grow in the spirit of the Gospel, beginning with trust in the Spirit who guides the Church and each faith community and who acts in all of them.  It helps us reject the logic of power and dominance to adhere more and more to the proposal of service and humility.  (Cfr. Mk. 10:35-45)  Although it may seem a slow and inefficient way, incapable of keeping up to the speed that characterizes this time and, therefore, inadequate, synodality is generative because it develops the participation and co-responsibility of the members.  
Synodality is walking together, having the same goal at heart: the Trinity, paying special attention to the personal work within a process of continuous transformation, facing challenges within, cultivating fraternal relationships to change and agreeing on rules to be respected. 
Fraternity and synodality, therefore, refer to each other and are intrinsically connected.  
After having outlined several characteristic of a sister called to service in synodal authority, Sr. Tiziana underlined that the synodal process is a method to be learned.  Consecrated life is experiencing a time of profound transformations and, after many centuries of history marked by other models, we are called to re-appropriate that style of co-responsibility that characterized the apostolic community.  We are aware that there is an initial effort to be reckoned with, a chaos we have to go through to start those processes that will allow us to learn and progressively assume that style.  It is the sign of community that tries, that begins, that sets out….  The rest will come about because, if we set out, the path “opens step by step.” 

 
Sr Nadia Coppa, ASC



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