The Holy Trinity is very specially present among us during a Chapter. I was praying over the letter that Cardinal Pironio from the Congregation for Consecrated Life wrote about General Chapters of religious congregations. He is saying very strongly that the Chapter is a penitential celebration. Why? He explains and he brings this out clearly: there needs to be a sincere attitude of conversion and a deep and painful search for the Lord’s ways.
Dear Sisters, first of all I want to state with Cardinal Pironio that every Chapter is a family meeting and its center is Jesus. We gather together to pray, to receive the word of God as Community to see the activity of the Spirit in us, to renew joy, faithfulness in consecrated life, to rediscover our charism, to respond together to the new call to conversion, and to commit ourselves more strongly to evangelization of the contemporary world.
I have to thank officially the Church who is praying for us: Bishops, priests and religious communities, all the people we work with, all our parents. We have a tremendous amount of prayer coming our way. I am most grateful. Without it we would not have arrived to this point.
As long as we are meeting during Chapter, the entire particular Church is interested and prays, because this is a time of outpouring of the Spirit upon it. This is a great event in the Church. The climate of Chapter is manifested in great and generous hearts. The efficacy of the Chapter depends on the depth of prayer. We are all listeners to God, opening up to the fruitful action of the Spirit which Jesus promised. Poverty opens us up to God in prayer.
Finally, Chapter calls for an atmosphere of joy in simplicity of giving, and in immense joy of receiving.
What does God the Father look like? Look at Jesus. He said that He came to show what the Father is like. What does the tender love of God look like in human form? Look at Mary.
Our Blessed Mother actually portrays everything God wants the Church to be, and everything we need to be. Look at Mary, see her unity with Our Lord, see her total unity with the will of God. She stood at the foot of the cross. She held her Son, and she is holding the Church.