The Status Quo is not Working
The Status Quo Is Not Working
Your July Reflection and Guide

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Begin with Prayer
Then read:

Hebrews 13:1-3, 5-8.

Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing so, some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured. ...Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” So we can say with confidence,

‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can anyone do to me?’

Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Read the Scripture again to yourself.

Share a word, phrase, or sense that touches you

Read the reflection
The Status Quo Is Not Working by John Larsen sm

Presented by Bev McDonald

Hello everyone, it’s lovely to be back speaking to you, albeit via a CD, and we hope and pray that all of you have come through our lockdown and that the country is beginning to find its way back to whatever our ‘new normal’ may be. On that line, I have recorded for you, this month, a reflection from our Superior General, Fr. John Larsen. He sent it from Rome at the beginning of June. Let me read it for you now. He says: “The status quo is not working!” So, where do we go from here?

“The status quo is not working!” These were among the parting words of our former Superior General, John Hannan, at the 2017 General Chapter in Rome, as he reflected on the Marist family and on Religious Life. And of course, we are all part of the Marist family.

His words are now proving prophetically true, universally. The virus, the fear and the anger, the economic and social devastation are all evidence that these are times of crisis.

“Crisis” is also a word for opportunity. We can easily miss the graced opportunities of these times of crisis. We can be paralysed by fear or denial or lethargy. We can easily become self-absorbed as we try to simply survive.

Alternatively, we can seek new directions with a boldness born of faith. This will call for personal and community discernment leading to practical actions. This can be a time of grace and renewal.

So where do we go from here? The prayer of discernment provides a compass for new directions. Communal and personal prayer bear fruit when we discern God’s Will together and act upon it. It has been good to read Marist Newsletters about CoVid19 from so many Marists around the world taking the initiative to respond to the needs of people who are suffering in these times. We need to keep discerning for ways to respond to “the signs of our times”.

Our foundations for this discernment are the Word of God, the genuine Tradition of the Church, our Marist Constitutions and the real-life situation of the world all around us, especially our brothers and sisters who are suffering the most. Everything else is dispensable. We are called to respond to our times with the creativity of the Spirit, as Mary and the early disciples did before us. Each Marist community needs to discern the best way forward. There is no “one size fits all”.

Pope Francis was addressing missionaries recently and he advised us all to: “Look outside. Do not look at yourselves in the mirror. Break every mirror in the house!”

We need to look beyond our own petty concerns, especially for comfort and security. In June we celebrated the Feasts of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. A spiritual sword pierced the heart of Mary and a physical sword pierced the heart of her Son. From their wounds flowed life-giving waters. We all share in this contemplative prayer of discernment but it is the special vocation of our sick and more senior Marists.

We also need to look beyond our own walls to see the plight of our neighbours who are suffering. On the 6th of June we celebrated the Feast of Saint Marcellin Champagnat. When he saw the suffering of the young people around him he discerned a courageous way forward, together with his companions committed to the Work of Mary. We all share in this discernment-leading-to-action but it is the special vocation of our more active Marists.

The last Chapter of the Society of Mary offers life-giving direction when it’s said, and I quote: “Search for creative ways to grow constantly in lives of contemplation and lead others along the path of discipleship and mission rooted in deep prayer. Focus on the poor, migrants and youth, and the spirituality that underpins these directions”. (GC 2017, n.9).

So we’re invited by the Superior General to pray that each Marist and each community can discern courageously what is asked of us in these critical times and respond with the same enthusiasm and commitment as Mary and Marcellin and so many others who have gone before us. “The status quo is not working!” Coraggio! Which means ‘take courage’.

So there you have it - an invitation to break the mirrors - which means stop looking at ourselves; stop focusing even on our parish or our group or our own immediate situation and preferences and look out - look beyond and see the needs that are just outside our gates and in finding those needs, some of us are called to deep prayer and some of us are called to action and we move as one family. So blessings on you all. I look forward to catching up with some of you face to face - as soon as possible.

Cheers for now

Simply use the questions below as starters to guide your sharing

What strikes you most from Fr Larsen's reflection and its connection to the Scripture?
How can we respond with greater creativity of the Spirit to the needs of our time?

The Pope says, “Look outside, do not look at yourselves in the mirror-break every mirror.” What do you think he is asking of us?

Contemplative prayer is mentioned as a special vocation of the sick or seniors. How can we encourage and support them/you in this vocation?

What could you do personally or as a group to discern and take some practical action?

Pray together then conclude with final prayer

Mary, we are grateful for God’s call to live as a disciple like you. We ask you to pray with us and for us.

Help us to become more attentive to the Holy Spirit empowering us to creative obedience to the Father’s will. Help us be men and women of courage and boldness, living our Faith with passionate, attentive and compassionate hearts.

Mary help us to be brothers and sisters to all those we meet on life’s journey and to be present to people as you were, with attentive compassionate hearts.

Accept our love, Mary, Christ-bringer and Christ-follower as we ask that by your example and intercession, Christ may become evermore the centre of our lives.