by Fr. David Matz, C.PP.S., Interim Director of Companions
Spring is making its presence known. It’s a marginal season where cold nights yield to the warmth of the sun’s rays. Although brown is the color of the landscape, if you look closely enough there is a hint of green peeking through with the promise of abundant life. Such has been my experience as I continue the Appreciative Discernment Process. We in the Companions Movement have been using this process to determine our core values, our dreams and direction in the future. Companion stories shared are the frost that once thawed and seeping into the earth, cause seeds to sprout, grass and flowers to bloom to reveal the hidden life that reasserts itself giving Glory to God. Having visited companions in the Cincinnati Province, I am now in the Kansas City Province listening to the stories of the companions here. There is abundant life in our community: a person only has to stop, look, and listen for the new life to spring forth.
The stories of faith you have shared from your hearts have been a true blessing. One companion shared: “To have sat among my Precious Blood brothers and sisters and seen their faces and heard their voices as they shared their joys, hope, laughter, and tears, and to have sat there and looked around the different circles made me realize that I was seeing the face of Christ.” Another companion said: “When I began, I looked to someone else in the group as a role model. I now recognize that the spirituality I once learned about has gone from my head to my heart. I have embodied Precious Blood spirituality completely. It has transformed my heart.” Another companion shared: “When I preached on a mission team with a Precious Blood priest and a Precious Blood sister, people thought I was a sister as well. I shared with them that I was a Precious Blood companion and married. Their confused look opened the way for me to share about the Companion Movement.”
The stories you have shared affirm that companions throughout our community are steeped in the three pillars of our congregation: community, spirituality, and mission. One of the most often heard and challenging thoughts shared is that companions are greying as the incorporated members of the community are greying. How do we walk with and invite young people to share in our charism?
As the Companion Council and I continue to collect, assess, and reflect on the many stories, we intend to share our findings at the upcoming 2014 Assemblies. Having determined three vision statements corresponding to each pillar of our community, we will ask ourselves what kind of leadership structure we need to fulfill the dreams we have heard. Please continue to pray for all the companions I will meet over the coming months, and for the Spirit’s guidance as we move forward.