who else is going to do it?

Christine (aka “Sister Christer”) has been selected to give a response to the question, “Can religious life be prophetic” at a talk by Michael Crosby in a little over a week. She’s been asked to respond as a younger religious, and has asked her bloggy friends to chime in with their thoughts. So here goes … perfect in light of my last post!

It’s a question I’ve been mulling over for a while. Whether or not religious life is capable of being prophetic (“Can”), I think religious life is being called to be prophetic (“Must”.)

Religious life is called to respond to the needs of the times. At the turn of the century the Sisters in my community answered one of the main needs of the time … they traveled across an ocean and then a continent to open hospitals in the wild and woolly Pacific Northwest. Who else was going to do it? One of my favorite historical pictures is of 2 Sisters in full habit begging in the logging camps for money to build a hospital. In the 50’s and 60’s, the “heyday” of Catholic Schools, religious were called into service whether they were natural teachers or not. Again, who else was going to do it? In the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s religious were finding themselves in a new context and struggling to make sense of themselves and the world around them. They moved into a variety of “new” ministries … spiritual direction, social work, etc… And now I think they have come out of this time stronger and the better for it. And none to soon because ...

Our world today is a seeming chaotic mess, and the most well intentioned souls are hard pressed to make any sense of it. And yet we must. And this is where I think those in religious life are being called. To help make sense of the mess, in our world and in our Church. To call our brothers and sisters to live out lives grounded in Gospel justice. To help us find the path to outrageous hope so that we can continue to do what Christ asked of us, even in the midst of the chaos, to love one another. Again, who else is going to do it?

Now, I realize I didn't answer the question "can" religious life be prohphetic. But that's part of why I'm throwing my hat into the ring, to see how I can participate in the great experiement God is calling us to.

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