Chronicles of the V UnderTen Chapter: Fifth Day

12th of July 2019

The day began, as usual, with the celebration of the Eucharist. The Provincial of France and Belgium, Br. Michel Laloux, presided.  The Gospel challenged us to be “like lambs among wolves, wise as serpents and simple as doves”.  These are the words that St. Francis added to the beginning of Chapter 16 of the Regola non bollato, dedicated to “those who go among the Saracens and other infidels”:  we welcome them as words addressed to our life and mission.

After morning prayer, the biblical reflection offered to us by one of the brothers of the Community, focused on the theme of God’s hospitality towards us, just like the previous days. The reflection focused on the icon of the Trinity, whereby we, the one looking at the icon, are invited to take part in the meal and the chalice that is being offered.  For personal reflection, we were asked to ponder the crucifixion of Jesus and how he entrusted his mother to the beloved disciple and the beloved disciple to his mother (Jn 19,16-26).  This is the new and greatest example of hospitality.

After the biblical reflection, there was time for personal meditation.  The weather has favored and facilitated such reflection over the last days, particularly the splendid vistas that surround us.

We came together for lunch, as usual, with 2000 others. Together, we were reminded of Esau’s favorite meal, lentils.  In fact, this was the principle dish today!

Today’s afternoon looked very different from our usual afternoons.  We divided into eight groups, whereby friars met with their respective General Definitor. Each Definitor reminded their conference participants of the diverse moments of this Chapter of Mats, how each entity celebrated a pre-Chapter event and how they will be asked to have a post-Chapter meeting when they return home.  They were asked, what concrete project proposals can be realized and how? It is impossible to give a fair account of each of the different meetings.  However, the common thread is that, in spite of the different areas of the world, they all experience problems and challenges to dialogue.

After the meetings with the General Definitors, the second part of the afternoon afforded the opportunity of “informal”meetings with the Minister General.  Those who met with him asked many questions, and he likewise asked them many questions. It was truly an open and provoking conversation.  This open and fraternal meeting was greatly appreciated by the participants.

Dinner, like each evening, was followed by evening prayer. We have become accustomed to this style of prayer, learning some songs and melodies.  Each evening, we entrust ourselves to this choral prayer, which supports and animates our own personal praise and intercession.  The day ended just like it began, entrusted to the Lord.

And evening came and then morning…the fifth day.

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