Our awareness of God should be as a pregnant mother of her child
The collage above was given to us as it has been given to those who attended the 18th World Assembly of Christian Life Community (CLC). When I write ‘given to us’ I should say ‘us’ was those who attended the South East of England CLC Regional Day at the Jesuit Centre in Mount Street, London.
I forever wonder about the image of Isho* (English: Jesus). I know it matters not but my mind still wonders. I smiled at this as it gives an outline of Isho made up of many faces in this case school pupils and their teachers. It prompts me to think of what faces make up my community. I can immediately think of the 4 faces in my local CLC.
I sat down beside someone who was a member of a group that meets only by Zoom. Throughout the day I was to realise that Covid had left us with Zoom. So many groups meet now by Zoom. Our group meets by Zoom but we do meet up every so often.
The two presenters aimed to try and give us a flavour of the 10-day Assembly in the morning and afternoon.
They spoke about what is referred to as The Frontiers (Aims) within CLC,
- Integral ecology
- Poverty and globalisation
Grand sounding and grand projects are being progressed by some communities however the aims are also being progressed daily in our lives.
We were encouraged to consider how they are progressing in our communities.
Unusually we were sitting at tables which meant that our prayers had the effect of having a meal together. The CLC way of prayer is that after we have spent time contemplating silently we share without interruption. Yesterday we put a 3-minute timer on each person's vocal contribution.
In my mind, I could see the members of my community, who help family members with difficulties, physically disabled children, refugees and those who seek to treat the earth well.
I felt that before this work the primary purpose of our community was to nourish each other in our daily contemplation and when we meet fortnightly. By looking after our souls we are equipped to care for other souls.
Our group is unusual in that although CLC is a Roman Catholic Lay Order there is only one Catholic in our community. Our group simply by being is a demonstration of recognising each other even though we come from differing traditions.
There are three rounds. In the first round, we share what came to us in the contemplation, in the second what resonated with us from what others shared and in the third what we believe the Spirit may be saying.
We then broke for lunch. In the afternoon we contemplated the annunciation (Mary receiving the news that she had been chosen to give birth to Isho). After an extended period of prayer, we once again followed the 3 rounds.
What stays with me from that sharing was the idea that God desires to be alive to us in the same way a pregnant mother is aware of her child. Into every situation we are so too is God present.
*Isho, I use Isho for Jesus as I believe it is the Aramaic for his name and what he would have heard himself called