On the 11th and 12th March we had an online meeting for the professed sisters of the European Region. The theme was: Announcing the Good News of the Gospel in this time of crisis and upheaval in the Church. Christoph Theobald, a Jesuit and professor at the Centre Sèvres in Paris, introduced and guided our reflection.

He suggested first we didn’t make more of the crisis than it is, since we can see that crisis has been part of life since the beginning of the Bible. Rather it should be thought of as a relative imbalance coming between two states of relative equilibrium. In the ignatian tradition, crisis invites us to remember, to re-read, to experience the present and to discern the outline of the future. This is to be done with an outlook that doesn’t separate church and societal questions. It is in this context that we welcome Jesus’ call to spread the Gospel as news of unconditional and radical goodness, that is always new, and that travels through a world marked by the threefold evil of malevolence, sickness and misfortune. This is to be done always bearing in mind this important fact: God’s Gospel is already at work, mysteriously, hidden or waiting, in those who receive the good news.

A new definition of mission was then proposed: gaining intimacy with God and going out towards others at the same time. Not only does the Christian tradition bring us face to face with God, but it is also the only one to open us up to God’s abyssal intimacy. It is in God that we find others, with their mysterious uniqueness, as well as all others and the difficulty of living together. It is in God that we can come out of ourselves to meet others truly and freely. Mission then will become that experience of hospitality that we offer and that we search for, whilst accepting the risk of confronting otherness and others, misunderstanding and conflict, for a patient transformation of the shape of our communities and of the Church to be possible.

Christoph Theobald