Second Day Reflections – Meeting of the General & Council

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The second day of the meeting started with two reflective periods: first, the gospel of the day; second, a song by Margaret Rizza. Please take a few moments to engage in one or both of these prayers. Then read the reflections from the Brothers below.

Exercise One

Take several deep breaths, as you come to stillness and quiet. Read the following scripture passage:


As Jesus passed by, two blind men followed him, crying out,
“Son of David, have pity on us!”
When he entered the house,
the blind men approached him and Jesus said to them,
“Do you believe that I can do this?”
“Yes, Lord,” they said to him.
Then he touched their eyes and said,
“Let it be done for you according to your faith.”
And their eyes were opened.
Jesus warned them sternly,
“See that no one knows about this.”
But they went out and spread word of him through all that land.

[Mt 9:27-31]


Take a moment to place yourself into the scene. Read the passage again, slowly, clearly.

What does Jesus ask of these blind men? In your own encounter with Jesus, are you able to respond, “Yes, Lord”?

What obsticles or hesitancies do you have in saying “Yes, Lord” with deeper conviction?

As you encounter Jesus in this scene, tell Him why your “Yes” is not from as deep a place as you desire it to be. Ask Jesus for healing.

Be silent. Be in the presence of the Lord.

Exercise Two

Play this song: “You are the Centre,” by Margaret Rizza, played on piano by Kevin Duncan. As the music plays, read and reflect on the lyrics written by Rizza:


You are the centre, you are my life,
you are the centre, O Lord, of my life.
Come, Lord, and heal me, Lord of my life,
come, Lord, and teach me, Lord of my life.
You are the centre, Lord, of my life.
Give me your Spirit and teach me your ways,
give me your peace, Lord, and set me free.
You are the centre, Lord, of my life.
You are the centre, you are my life,
you are the centre, O Lord, of my life.
Come, Lord, and heal me, Lord of my life,
come, Lord, and teach me, Lord of my life.
You are the centre, Lord, of my life.
Give me your Spirit and teach me your ways,
give me your peace, Lord, and set me free.
You are the centre, you are my life,
you are the centre, O Lord, of my life.

[Margaret Rizza (born 1929) © 1998 Kevin Mayhew Ltd.]


As you enter a place of interior silence, ask yourself, “Is the Lord the centre of my life?”

Allow the question to draw you deeper into the silence.

“You are the centre, you are my life.” Did you feel challenged when you read this? Right now, you are in the presence of the Lord.

Allow the Lord to be present to you in this moment. Remain in the silence, in the presence of the Lord.


Councilors’ Reflections

Today’s gospel brings me back to a reflection from Founder’s Week and the reflection to the Associates by Chris Irr on this gospel. In this gospel, we hear of the courage of the blind men in asking for healing and the question of Jesus, “Do you believe that I can do this?” I’m not sure that I have the humility to admit to my blindness, and I’m not sure my faith is deep enough to trust that Jesus can heal me. I have these same doubts about the Congregation. Do we have enough humility to say that for a whole host of reasons we’ve lived blindly at times vis-a-vis the unique inspiration of Ryken? And do we also humbly recognize that in the renewal we have not always done the hard work asked of us as a Congregation? Given where we are today, what is our response when Jesus asks: “Do you believe that inspiration that was placed in Ryken’s heart is now available within us?” My hope is strong enough to answer yes, although my faith may still be too weak to say yes.

I was struck by the phrase “Let it be done to you according to your faith.” A Brother once said to me: “God does not think the way we think.” The blind men have not worked, but it is done to them according to their faith. We would say spread the word, but Jesus says “tell no one”. We do things with certain expectations, but maybe we should live the life and hope for the best, and maybe God will take care of the rest. We make structures and rules, but maybe God is not a God of rules and structures.

The readings are very hopeful as part of the expectation and hopefulness of Advent. The song’s call to center our life on Christ. If we do this, God will take care of things. Every day we say “Thy will be done.” but it is difficult for us to know God’s will. God’s will is in the deepest longing of our heart.

I too was struck by the opening hymn’s call to having God be the center of our lives. Richard Rohr says we are tempted to make the Church or the Congregation or something else the center of our lives. St. Ambrose was trying to settle disputes and was urged to become the bishop. In one week he was baptized, ordained, made a bishop. The call to make God the center is a continual one.

I was thinking of the question Jesus asks of the blind men: “Do you think I am capable of doing this?” Jesus believes in us. I think after everything we heard yesterday, we can ask ourselves what we are doing here. But we are here because God believes in us. LIfe is in a continual process of renewal, and we are always capable of doing something.

My faith is too weak. Although I try to respond to Jesus’ invitation to love one another. I am an old man, yet, in spite of my age, I want to go on rendering service because I am invited to love all other people. I try to do this in an honest way. I don’t believe that in my life I hurt people very deeply. I make the effort to love others. It is not easy to say I do this out of love of God. The longer I am in Congo the milder I become toward the African people. In seeing what is happening in our Western world we have no reason to be proud. I got in touch with Ryken’s vision for the first time when Jan Devadder published his books 35 years ago. But I was more interested in doing my work in the best way. I am still pondering one of the things that Cornie Hubbuch said yesterday when he gave his report to us. He seems to have serious doubts of the abilities of human persons to live a real celibate life, especially for men.Yet, St. Paul invited the first communities not to get married. Yet, Cornie said it is nearly impossible to live a serious, honest celibate life. I wanted to ask the following question: “The way you speak about celibate life which seems extremely difficult, what about marriage?” In Belgium almost 50% of married couples divorce within 7 years. God made us free but we are not capable of living the freedom we are given. God will have to be full of mercy for all of us. In a story, a fireman said: “If I am willing to risk my life to save people, even though I am running great risks, God must be very merciful and no one must go to hell.” If a man will risk his life for others, God must be very merciful.

– Friday, December 7, 2012 | Marriotsville, MD


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