The following was orginally sent as an email to Brothers, Associates, and Collaborators on November 26, 2012, the Anniversary of the Death of Theodore James Ryken.
Dear Brothers, Associates, and Xaverian Collaborators,
For some years now we have taken the 8-day period between November 26 (the anniversary of the death of the Founder) and December 3 (the Feast of St. Francis Xavier) to commemorate Founder’s Week. At our XBSS schools in the States, students spend part of this week learning about Theodore James Ryken and the Brothers. They conclude the week with a school celebration for the Feast of St. Francis Xavier. Among the Brothers, the past few years we have provided daily reflections during this commemorative week to help us grow in our understanding of and appreciation for Theodore Ryken’s vision and charism.
This year, as we continue to reflect on the Xaverian Charism and the spirituality that nurtured Brother Ryken, we offer 8 periods of reflection. These 8 days are divided into 4 themes that are rooted in Theodore Ryken’s own description of his conversion: “…at the age of nineteen, after powerfully being put in my place , I turned toward God, fell in love, and put myself in His service…” The themes are (1) powerfully being put in my place; (2) turned toward God; (3) fell in love; and, (4) placed myself in God’s service. Each theme has both an interior and an exterior dimension, and so as each theme is presented one day will focus on the interior dimension and a second on the exterior dimension. Each day has a reading from the Xaverian tradition followed by a brief meditation and a prayer.
We can think of the movement of these 8-days as similar to the movement of a seed which finds its “ground,” takes root, slowly reaches out toward a source of water, breaks through the ground, develops branches, further strengthens its roots, and stands tall and unique among a colony of trees. The seed can also be a symbol of how God’s Love – the Word – took root in Theodore Ryken’s life and was nurtured into a Congregation that now stands tall and unique as an instrument of God’s love for the world.
The reflections will be posted each day at LivingtheCharism. I am grateful to Brother Regj Cruz and Mr. Chris Irr who have been preparing this year’s Founder’s Week commemoration.
May these 8 days of reflection be a source of nourishment for us and an opportunity for us to deepen in communion as Brothers, Associates and Collaborators in Xaverian mission.
Brother Lawrence Harvey, CFX