The synodal way of the universal Church
A synodal Church is a Church of listening” . …It is a mutual listening in which each has something to learn: the faithful people, the College of Bishops, the Bishop of Rome – each in listening to the others and all in listening to the Holy Spirit, the “Spirit of truth” (Jn 14:17), to discern what he “says to the churches” (cf. Rev 2:7).
“The Synod is a journey of spiritual discernment that takes place in worship, prayer and contact with the Word of God. The Word opens our eyes to discernment. It directs the Synodal journey so that it is not a study session or a political congress, but an event of grace under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.” (Fr. Francis, 10/10/2021)
In a synodal Church, “it is not appropriate for the Pope to replace the local bishops in evaluating all the problem areas that arise in their territories. In this sense, I feel the need to move forward in a salutary ‘decentralization’.”
Our gaze also widens to the whole of humanity. A synodal Church is like a “sign set up for the nations” (cf. Is 11:12) in a world that often leaves the destiny of whole peoples in the greedy hands of limited power groups. As a Church that “goes forward together” with people, we cherish the dream that the rediscovery of the inviolable dignity of peoples and the ministerial character of authority will create a more beautiful and humane world for the generations that come after us.” (Fr. Francis, Address at the Celebration of 50 Years of the Synod 10/17/2015)
“The course of the Council of Jerusalem is a living example of the journey of the People of God as an articulated reality in which everyone has a place and a specific role. All, then, are jointly responsible for the life and mission of the church, and all are called to act according to the law of mutual solidarity, respecting specific ministries and charisms, as each draws its strength from the one Lord.” (International Theological Commission, Synodality in the Life and Mission of the Church, Rome, March 2, 2018, no. 22) The process of the Apostles’ Council is not a democratic process.
The essence is that God’s action is witnessed, that is, what we have seen and heard. God’s Spirit is at work today. In every collaboration, in every conflict resolution, decision making, it is about the will of God. This art wants to be asked in humility by the power of the Holy Spirit. Everyone calls this process different from his experience.
The apostles say: “The Holy Spirit and us”. Fr. Kentenich speaks of the open doors of Providence, Chiara Lubich speaks of the score written in heaven. For us Christians, working together from below is only possible from the perspective that God opens heaven and shows the way.
A Schoenstatt Contribution in Walking the Synodal Way of the Universal Church
My work is her Work
“The whole work is equally your work. I do nothing in the whole family without my collaborators.” “Wherein lies the secret of an almost abundant fruitfulness: That lies in a profound, reciprocal inner-soul interconnection.” (Fr. Kentenich, Homily at the Silver Jubilee of the Priesthood)
Organism and life stream instead of organization
I only wanted as much juridically secured organization as was necessary (…) The organism remained my main concern in all situations. Connect form and spirit in such a way that spirit and life remain the all-dominating great power. Compared to the stream of spirit and life, the organization recedes so much into the background that it almost disappears. (Fr. Kentenich, LS 1952 I, 24f; 79)
Spirit care and processes of motivation
“Binding only (but also) as far as necessary, freedom as far as possible, cultivation of the spirit all along the line in a perfected and assured way.” (Kentenich, LS 1952 I,30)
From: Schulte H., Omnibus omnia, Life picture of a youthful heroic speech from Schoenstatt’s founding days, Volume 1, Limburg/Lahn 1932.
“The Spiritual Director did not see his main task in somehow bringing any thoughts and exercises down from above into the community or even dictating them. It was to be created, as far as possible, from within. The way in which new thoughts, currents, and exercises became established was usually as follows:
The most zealous and striving sodalists, with the help of the spiritual director’s personal soul guidance, had rapidly advanced to these things, had practiced and tried them without anything being noticed externally. Once a larger number had worked their way up to this height, a current arose all by itself which carried the idea into the public.
Since the ground was well prepared, the emergence of a new direction was not perceived as strange or unexpected, but was accepted as a matter of course, although one did not quite see where it suddenly came from. Through silent apostolic work, it spread further and further until it became established throughout the community.
In this way, the most important ideas and self-educational exercises in the Apostolic Movement gradually grew and became generally accepted requirements. In his lectures at the fortnightly church meetings, the Spiritual Director addressed all the currents that were currently moving the community and the individuals, without always explicitly naming them, summarizing them, clarifying them and taking them further. Individual soul guidance went hand in hand with this, tailoring everything to the individual’s personal soul life.”
Online – Workshop – Synodal shaping the movement on 3/15/2022 – Summary.
Three main points came out of the group discussions:
1) Mutual inner-soul connection, listening to each other, talking to each other, keeping in touch.
2) Attitudes so that synodality succeeds: trust, humility, availability, responsibility
3) To love the current Church, to be involved, to be apostolic also in parishes.
The following were also mentioned: apply the method consistently: Observe, compare, streamline, apply; attachment to JC; grow in unity;
From the final round: what do I take away from the workshop and the conversations?