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Artisans of Hope

Friday June 28th is the Feast of the Sacred Heart. A very happy Feast to all of you!  Excerpts from a Amessage for the feast  to all of our religious, our families and friends from our Superior General is attached and you are invited to read it. She reflects on 'Being Artisans of Hope in our Blessed and broken World.

The gospel for the Feast of the Sacred Heart this year reminds us through the image of the Good Shepherd, of God’s faithful and compassionate love for each one of us. Knowing the faithfulness of God who is with us and loves us deeply and forever, no matter what, is the essence of hope. Even when we are lost, and maybe especially when we are vulnerable, God rejoices in “finding us”, in making a home for us and setting us free. The security of God’s love gives us the courage to act likewise, to be shepherds, to be artisans of hope.
What does it mean to be Artisans of Hope? Rather than start our reflection on what calls us to hope, perhaps we can ask ourselves what stops us from hoping. Certainly, the chaos and uncertainty of our world is a huge challenge, globally, nationally and even in our neighborhoods. The state of our world can be paralyzing. When I am overwhelmed either by the state of the world or sometimes by the challenges of how to go forward as the Society, I have learned that it helps to stop, to ponder and pray, and to analyze what is real and what is not, then to look for small, sometimes radical steps that lead me or us
forward. For me, the most important way into hope forward. For me, the most important way into hope is to remember that this is God’s
project. Each one of us is called to walk the path forward offered by the JPIC document.
We need to do this, remembering God’s promise in the first reading for Feast of the
Sacred Heart this year, “I will seek the lost and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind
up the crippled, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will watch
over; I will feed them in justice”.Ezekiel

I am also very conscious that what is happening in the external world is often also
happening inside of us, as a community or as individuals. The chaos and uncertainty of
the world and the challenges in our church can enter into our being, somewhat like a
spiritual virus, eating away at our capacity to hope, making us tired, frustrated or angry.
Even this time of transition within the Society can impact us as we search for ways to
build the body, to strengthen our life and mission. We need to ask ourselves about the
things that get in the way of hope, that stop us from believing that things can change --
fear of the unknown, unhealed wounds, failure to stop and ponder, lack of trust. In many
ways these very things that block world or national peace can also hinder our own
conversion, our own capacity to be artisans of hope. As we have been travelling around
the Society, I am coming to believe that each of us and maybe each of our countries or
cultures may have a particular “original sin”, some obstacle that we need to recognize
and to overcome in order to proclaim the hope of resurrection. I invite you to think about
what that might be in your life, in your province, your country, your family.
What type of conversion needs to happen inside of us to be able to say honestly the
words of Elizabeth to Mary, “Blessed is she who believed that the Lord’s promise would
be fulfilled”? It is not too strong to say that we need to be women of hope to live our
vocation as Religious of the Sacred Heart.