I am the vine, you are the branches. (John 15: 5)
I am writing this on February 2, the congregational feast day of the C.PP.S. Sisters of O’Fallon, Mo., so my reflections on today’s readings are highly influenced by this fact.
The first reading describes the Church confronting differences arising from converts to the faith. The Church was growing; this called for reconciliation at the local level as well as at the governmental level of the Church.
Our C.PP.S. congregation experienced this same kind of growth, whereby its missionary call beckoned it to countries in Europe and eventually North and South America and recently even Africa. The Community’s membership grew to accommodate its missionary calls.
The second reading shows a very different kind of Church, replacing activity with reflection. We now see a Church rooted and stabilized in the figure of the vine and branches. The Church has grounded itself sufficiently to be concerned about a deeper reality—the relationship between God and the individual and the growth of that relationship.
In the mid-20th century, we experienced a similar call in Vatican II. Spirituality, not dogma, marked the thrust of the Council.
Now in the 21st century, our community’s general chapter has called us to deepen our spirituality and the Church’s mission by a contemplative style of living. To carry our contemplative prayer into contemplative living is a challenge, because it means recognizing Jesus in every person we meet.
If you lived with a sister of another community, what evidence of contemplative living would she see in you?
Sr. Luanna Brucks, C.PP.S.