10/14/2004

The seeds of tomorrow are being sown today…

Today we have access to an abundant literature that thoroughly describes the current reality of religious life from theological, sociological and historical perspectives. I have often found myself hurrying to the end of these books and articles, seeking imaginative descriptions of what religious life might possibly look like in the future. More often than not I find myself facing more questions. I am left to wonder about new ways that God’s love and justice might be expressed in future times and places. What might faith-filled young people of today create in the years to come?

I think about women and men who have preceded us: Angela, Mary Ward, Marie-Rose, Francis and Dominic. Inspired by Jesus of Nazareth they responded from their inner convictions and found companions willing to move beyond the boundaries of their times. A leap of imagination inspired the radical transition from solitary to common life, from cloister to the streets. I wonder what charisms God has in mind to offer to future groups. Will new congregations emerge whose mission will be to apply gospel values to the bioethical questions of our time or to economic systems and practices or to environmental questions? And what would these new “congregations" preserve from the long tradition of religious life and what might change?

I have decided to write and share with you some short intimations of the future that I have written, stories about religious life in a variety of settings 15 to 20 years from now. You may want to try a similar exercise by yourself or with others; I would be happy to read the results!

These imaginative ventures into the future rest on my conviction that the seeds of tomorrow are being sown – by us – today. I offer you a text by Brazilian liberation theologian, Rubem Alves, from which I have drawn inspiration:

Let us plant dates even though those who plant them will never eat them. We must live by the love of what we will never see.... Such disciplined love is what has given prophets, revolutionaries, and saints the courage to die for the future they envisaged. They make their own bodies the seed of their highest hope.

Dreaming is an act of hope! Mary Pat

5 Comments:

Blogger Cathy Beckley said...

Mary Pat,

I can hardly describe the energy and HOPE that fills me as I read and imagine the glimpses you have created for us - all of us.
YES our future is being created in the dreams seeded now - Again thank you for your prophetic imagination - may each one of us be fired to dream as new members.

2:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What I like, Mary Pat, is the way you integrated hope and practicality. I read the Chapter question as whom ARE (present tense) we choosing to become, not whom WILL (future tense) we choose to become. We are making those choices right now, as you suggest, and it is important that we have a vision that influences those choices. Thank you for a vision that inspires and informs my choices. Peggy Kennedy

4:44 PM  
Blogger Kathryn Knoll said...

Mary Pat, thanks for the inspiration. I invite you to read more at blogspot. musingsfromthemuse@blogspot.com

8:12 PM  
Blogger Kathryn Knoll said...

oops! this is Kathryn Knoll again, my blog address, apparently is: musingsfromthemuse.blogspot.com I am just learning about this blogging so please forgive the confusion. Enjoy, everyone!

3:27 PM  
Anonymous Frankie Barber said...

Thanks so much, Mary Pat. It filled me with hope to read these musings about our future. I went to the TakeitGlobal site and almost wished I were young again so that I could take part. How wonderful that so many young people are fired up.

4:34 PM  

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