Newsletter 2022 No.13 | May 21
Good morning, everyone.
Here we are again with a new edition of our Newsletter.
Listening and discernment are perhaps the two words that have been most used in this first phase of the synod process. Those who were able to participate in listening sessions, in spiritual conversations, were able to rediscover the meaning of these words that have often lost the force of their meaning in our daily vocabulary.
But how does one listen and discern correctly? Apparently, listening and discernment belong to two distinct moments: first listening and then discerning, but on closer inspection they are perhaps two sides of the same coin. In short, there can be no true listening without discernment, just as there can be no side of a coin without the back. True listening knows that it has to keep the two sides of the coin together. This is perhaps what Pope Francis means when he reminds us that ‘listening is more than hearing’. So how do we really put listening and discernment together?
I believe that a model and a true method is given to us by the One whom we want to celebrate in this Newsletter: Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church; Mary, Via Synodalis.
The evangelist Luke repeats, several times, that Mary “kept all these things, pondering them in her heart” (2:19; cf. 2:51b). Keep and meditate (ponder) two distinct yet very similar verbs. The former, translated as to keep, also means to observe by putting together; while the latter, translated as to ponder or meditate, means to compare, to contrast, but also to understand, to interpret, to recognise by giving of one’s own.
All these ‘feelings’ we too have experienced when we have placed ourselves in an attitude of discernment with a sincere heart. We are comforted by the fact that they also found acceptance in the heart of the mother of God. She too will certainly have experienced the discomfort of discernment; her reflection too will have run into blind alleys seemingly with no way out, perhaps she will have had to reconsider or simply accept her own inadequacy before the Mystery.
Thus, the attitude of Mary, via synodalis, urges us to live this time of the synodal process with a big heart and without fear, ready to welcome in our listening all things, not only the beautiful things but also the ugly ones, without being too frightened by the sometimes conflicting feelings they arouse in us. In short, let us not censor anything but, like Mary, let us cherish and meditate on all these things, asking the Holy Spirit for light.