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An all-ears synod: Weekly Message for 11-01-2022
Dear Friends in Christ,
Mention the word synod to many Catholics, and their eyes might glaze over. It’s not a common topic on the minds of the faithful. A synod is an assembly of bishops tasked with helping the Pope in governing the universal Church by offering counsel. Begun by the Holy Father last autumn, the current Synod on Synodality is a multiyear process that aims to bring a greater openness, collaboration and mutual listening to the Church. Laity, religious and clergy alike have participated.
Summaries of discussions have recently appeared from the synod’s diocesan phase. Significantly, one summary noted, “Those who shared their stories, especially those who participated in small group sessions, stated that they felt listened to by the Church for the first time.”
Listening is no small thing—just try not listening to a loved one and see what happens. So, if the synodal process helps people realize that their voices are heard, that’s promising.
But, should the process bog down over issues that have already been settled theologically, then the road ahead could be rocky. In any case, given the depth and breadth of the problems raised in the discussions, it is a fair bet that only the Holy Spirit can keep the whole process together.
What can each of us do to help ensure a fruitful outcome?
A good start would be our adoration and worthy reception of the Blessed Sacrament. Keeping our eyes on Jesus will enable us to move forward as members of his mystical body, the Church. Take our eyes off him, and we risk heading into internecine squabbles.
To connect more deeply with the Eucharist, consider praying with our Retreat Guide on this most Blessed Sacrament, Food for the Journey: A retreat guide on the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
And pray for the fruits of the synod.
Father Edward McIlmail, LC
Ask a Priest contributor