August 2005

Dear brothers and sisters,

For this monthís reflection, I would like to start from an important observation shared by Nick at last monthís meeting. In the area of peace and justice, he pointed out that as members of the fraternity we are all involved in peace and justice work through the efforts of various members. I really appreciated the point that we are united as a fraternity in our works Ė not only for peace and justice but for all that we do. We have each professed the whole rule, but our emphasis is different according to our individual gifts and inclinations and according to the present circumstances of our lives. It is a blessing to all of us who are still engaged in actively earning a living to know that our brothers and sisters who are homebound are praying for us all! It is also a blessing to know that others are working to eliminate hunger, to provide life-giving alternatives to abortion, to care for the sick Ė the many corporal and spiritual works of mercy carried out by our fraternity! And if we can see all this within our own small group, imagine the works of the whole Order of which we are a part! Our Constitutions emphasize the fact that we each have our contribution to make to the life of the fraternity:

30.1 The brothers and sisters are co-responsible for the life of the fraternity to which they belong and for the SFO as the organic union of all fraternities throughout the world. 30.2 The sense of co-responsibility of the members requires personal presence, witness, prayer, and active collaboration, in accordance with each one's situation and possible obligations for the animation of the fraternity.

Note the balance in Article 30.2...what is required of us is commitment of ourselves, in accordance with each oneís situation. What is possible for me may not be possible for you, but each of us is called to do our part. This reflection brings to mind Paulís words in 1 Corinthians 12:

Now the body is not a single part, but many...If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as he intended. If they were all one part, where would the body be? But as it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, "I do not need you," nor again the head to the feet, "I do not need you."... If (one) part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy. Now you are Christís body, and individually parts of it.

If you take this reading and substitute "fraternity" for "body," it gives more opportunity for reflection on what we are...most importantly, we ARE "Christís fraternity!"

May Christ grant you the grace this month to experience the uniqueness of your call to fraternal life, so you may appreciate how you are placed in the body as God intended, providing your unique part of the whole.

Peace and good,...............Vickie