Catholic Corner
November 10, 2021

We’ve been looking at the process of synodality over the last few weeks.  One thing to keep in mind as we start this journey is that this is about our relationship with God and one another.  We need to approach this from the perspective of our faith,. That is, approach this from the spiritual perspective rather than as a series of dry, data-gathering meetings. And this requires that we all learn the art of discernment.

Discernment and listening to one another go hand in hand. By engaging in active, deep and respectful listening to one another we are, in the words of Pope Francis “to listen to God, so that with him we may hear the cry of his people; to listen to his people until we are in harmony with the will to which God calls us.” Listening in order to hear God IS the act of discernment.  It is part of our faith tradition, and it calls us to both hear and follow where the Spirit leads. To become a discerning community is not a one-time event, but rather a call to a way of life. Remember, one of the core goals of the Synod is that we will discern how we can more deeply build our community to carry forth the mission of the Church. That will require us to be present to and engaged with one another.

If listening is essential for discernment to occur then participation is absolutely required. We need to involve everyone! Listening to all points of view and dialoguing with those who otherwise feel excluded, silenced or cast aside will be essential if we are to truly hear the voice of the Spirit in our hearts, trusting in God and take the risk to be changed and turn in new directions.

This will require courage on our part as well as honesty. It will also require humility to listen to those who speak with courage. The process not only invites everyone to speak but clearly states that everyone has the right to speak.  This also means they have the right to be heard.  Humility means listening with a welcoming ear, open to what the Spirit is saying for the good of us all.  This is not a debate, it is a dialogue! If we approach this in openness and trust in God, we will be changed. The process of conversion, of turning every more closely to God is the hoped-for outcome not just for ourselves but for our communities and for the entire People of God.