Family vacations, weddings, christenings, graduation parties and the like, hold an important place in my memory, and in my heart. Such moments in the life of my immediate and extended family were joyous occasions which included lots of food, laughter, and fun. Whenever the family gathered the bond between us seemed to grow stronger. I still look forward to such moments with my family for these moments teach me about unconditional love and further define my personhood.
On June 12 we Servite Friars of the United States Province gathered for our annual Assembly/Chapter outside of Chicago. The Assembly was a moment in the life of the community when we gathered to enjoy our fraternity and to reflect on our lives as consecrated men. Our days in assembly were filled with conferences, prayer, the celebration of Eucharist and social time together. Being with my brother Servites was the highlight of the Assembly for me.
I have been participating in our annual gatherings for 34 years. Year after year, theses gatherings are structured the same with conferences, discussion, prayer, Eucharist and social time. The days can be full and long. Yet, the time that we spend talking and listening to each other make the full, long days a blessing. See, for Servites, fraternity is the experience of entering into the heart of the other that we may love, support and care for each other. Each conversation becomes a learning moment as we share our hopes, dreams and faith with each other. From each other we learn to listen for the word of Christ in the life of the other. In each friar’s life story and present experience, we learn find the courage to keep searching for the presence of the Lord in our own lives. To welcome Christ and follow Him more deeply. In our fraternity we support each other and strengthen our bonds as brothers in Our Lady. Fraternity is our gift to each other. This was the gift my brothers gave to me during the Assembly. May you and I have the courage to offer fraternity/support to others. When we care for each other we live the very best of ourselves.
I pray the Lord to continue richly blessing you and may Our Lady watch over you on the way of life.