Greetings from the 1st floor bedroom, after a very full and emotionally charged day.
I have just come from the Syrian and Egytian evening where CLC representatives from those countries came to give witness to their incredible faith in the midst of terror and war in their countries.
Antoine Taoutel, President of Syrian CVX, despite the loss of his home and businesses and being a refugee with his family in Lebanon for the last year, is one of the most joyous people displaying the warmest hospitality and gracious presence at this assembly. Nawal Mourra is sitting beside me just now and she worked extensively with Fr. Francis s.j. in Holmes ( between Damascas and Aleppo). She is working with the CVX Lebanese team offering hospitality to all of 250 delegates and was very despondent until yesterday when we befriended her. Her home was invaded and she left with 10,000 Christians to Lebanon one and a half years ago. She is telling her story en Francais to Leanne...I unfortunately cannot speak French.
CVX Lebanon is supporting Syrian refugees spiritually and materially where needed. Just imagine going on a months' holiday with your family and never returning home because it was too dangerous; your home has been invaded and pillaged, your factory has had everything removed to Turkey and the land you worked was left in ruins. We heard that witness among others this evening. CVX Syria has shown courageous leadership in this time of crisis and remained solid in their community serving those in financial need with clothing and food baskets as well as social and psychological counselling. A Syrian pharmacist, CVX member is working closely with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) and in his estimation JRS is the largest organization working on behalf of refugees. Your donations count. See the link on our website.
To begin our day, Fr. Adolpho Nicholas, the head of the World Jesuit community addressed us. Nicholas asked Pope Francis how Jesuits might best serve the church. The intellectual apostolate ranks along with going to the periphery (into the streets) but not without interior reflection. Among many concepts Fr. Nicholas shared how increasingly important it is to simplify language like Pope Francis, to make Ignatian spirituality more accessible to all. He told us a little anecdote to address the person with all the answers (who is so dangerous). A young priest completed his studies and said, "When I knew all the answers , the questions changed!"
How do we go deeper? 'Few' CLCer's will be involved in intellectual study. "Many" CLCer's are counted on to be reliable examples in their professions and "ALL" of us must fill the world with Wisdom - reflect, discern, meditate....sort out the superficial to find what is real.
The close of the day was a small group discussion to reflect on the first of three priorities of the assembly: globalization and poverty. Forging links with our CLC family who are witnessing and experiencing the profound effects in Africa , Asia and Latin America would be a support for them along with our own fundamental education and life style and system changes of the west.
"Compassion is the Key as to how close we are to God."
"The language of God is humble."
"The person who is searching is already encountering."
Peace+ and goodnight
Mary and Leanne