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General Chapter - Tuesday, May 5


          I have yet to adjust to the time change here, which is a 7-hour difference. Thus, I want to sleep in the day and wake at night, like Dracula himself. But this morning the General gave his report to the Chapter, his "State of the Order Report." And though my mind drifted on occasion, and the General's voice sounded every now and then like distant thunder, still I stayed awake. I listened.
          The report, I must say, was worth staying up for. The man, Fr. General, is a profound thinker, insightful, honest, and real. He hits the nail on the head and speaks not just from the mind, of which he has plenty to speak from, but equally from the heart, where resides his evident love for the Order. Here's a brief and simple example from his report, which overall was quite extensive:
          "To begin this journey [of living our vocation with integrity in our present circumstances] is to see the world from another point of view, with the 'eyes of Easter,' which detect the future in the present, the presence of the risen Lord in a history of sin and failure."
          The General does well in discerning the roots of this history of sin and failure, which is to say, of our failure, as a religious institute and family, to address ourselves adequately to the new conditions of life we find ourselves in lo these 50 odd years since the Council. In his report, moreover, he did a masterful job of providing us with a rich instrument or methodology for self-assessment--for asking ourselves, that is, what exactly are the true sources of our motivation and energy as Carmelites and of the communion that our vocation either does or does not build up in us.
          Now it is our turn to look at ourselves and our circumstances with the "eyes of Easter." The General offered some avenues for hope. But it is finally up to us to seek out and favor and foster the prophetic voices and movements among us. Where is the Spirit at work among us, for we trust that He is? That question, it seems to me, will be a good part of our deliberations and discussions during this Chapter. 



 Written by Fr. Bonaventure Sauer, OCD
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