Consensus Report: Spirituality/World View
As grace draws us more profoundly into the mystery of God, our spirituality is deepening, and our consciousness is evolving to include an ever-widening world view and a felt sense of our deep interconnectedness with the wholeness of creation.
Discernment Question: Sacred Spirit, as women and men ready to embrace an ever-widening world view, how and to what are you calling us to be and to do that leads us into a deeper relationship with You and with all creation?
After listening, reflection and conversation, we recommend the following direction/s.
1. In order to widen our circles of relationship and our world view, we will, with deep humility and openness, take bold actions, including:
- Witnessing to a God who does not divide and to a spirituality that embraces and protects the physical world as a living sacred trust embodying the love and beauty of God.
- Facilitating God’s desire that Earth and all life should flourish by addressing global climate change through education and direct advocacy to support environmental justice and the whole of creation.
- Seeking to understand and embrace diverse world views by committing ourselves to diversity, equity and inclusion.
- Risking to explore deeply together the depths of our relationships with God and all of creation.
1. We are called to be people of love, gratitude and prayer who seek truth and inclusivity with an outward focus. We commit ourselves to reverence and respect all people and all creation and to increase our global connections.
1. In light of our belief in the relationships to God in all of creation we will collaborate
Individually and collectively with national and international groups to address concerns in support of environmental justice (care for the earth) and to respond to essential human needs.
2. Acknowledging the dire need for an updated theology, of God , the church, and creation, we will establish a speakers forum to provide a series of presentations on theological issues for parishes, educational institutions and seminaries .
1. By recognizing our common home and our interconnection with all creation we will educate ourselves and join with others to direct all aspects of our lives toward caring for creation so that all (animate and inanimate) can live with dignity.
1. Our understanding of who God is (our spirituality) compels us to facilitate God’s desire that all life should flourish. Therefore, we, as Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, will collaborate with other groups to promote, through education and advocacy, environmental justice, especially with respect to access to potable water for all peoples.
1. As we explore together the depth of our interconnection with God and all creation, we desire to educate ourselves and join with others to direct all aspects of our lives toward reverence and care for creation so that all (animate and inanimate) live with dignity.
1. We BVMs and Associates are committed to reframing the popular understanding of freedom that places individuality above the common good. We will publically share an understanding of freedom that is rooted in love, right relationships and justice. This could be expressed in inclusivity, diversity, equity, and care for the Earth and its people.
1. Are we willing to “cross the ocean” of our times” and risk going to the unknown to be a bold antidote for complacency? Out of our deep sense of humility and vulnerability, and grounded in reality, we commit ourselves to appreciating the diversity of God's creation, inviting conversation, listening deeply, acting boldly in partnership with others committed to working for a just, equitable, and sustainable world for all.
1. In order to widen our circles of relationships and our world view, we will, with deep humility and openness, take bold actions including:
- Witnessing to a God and spirituality that embraces and protects the physical world as a living sacred trust embodying the love and beauty of God
- Listening to and collaborating with other national and international congregations and diverse groups to facilitate God's desire that all life should flourish
- Addressing the institutional shifts in the Church and society
- Recognizing our racist past as a congregation and considering meaningful reparations
- Exploring racist micro-aggressions in our individual and community lives
- Witnessing a God who does not divide
- Risking exploring deeply together the depth of our relationships with God and all creation
1. As we move more profoundly into the mystery of God and our spirituality deepens, we commit ourselves to cross the ocean of our times.
Based on a spiritual foundation that is inclusive in content and form and informed by the reality of global, local, social, and church issues, we are transformed individually and congregationally to respond. What am I to do? What are we to do?
2. Climate change is a critical issue for our world. One aspect of this is access to water.
- We would work with and fund groups providing access to potable water.
- We would lobby our Congressional representatives and senators to support infrastructure projects related to access to clean water.
1. Who is God for us individually and congregationally?
Based on an inclusive spirituality and informed by the reality of the urgent needs of our planet (global, local, environmental, social, Church), we are transformed to respond.
What can I do, what can we do?
1. As people of prayer and reflection, in our interconnected worldview, we are committed to
- being a bold antidote to complacency;
- growing in right relationship with all of creation;
- living a vision grounded in our understanding of freedom;
- challenging institutional stances which diminish or deny human rights;
- collaborating for those marginalized by injustice and poverty
1. Are we willing to launch into uncharted waters, to listen and respond courageously to the groaning of the earth and its people, and to the movement of the creative Spirit to participate in institutional shifts transforming our congregation, society and church toward a more just and equitable world?
1. Diving into the Mystery of God opens us to the abundance found and shared in listening to God’s wisdom in everyone and everything: nature, the other, poor, BLM, voiceless, etc.
1. For an awareness and openness to search out, initiate, challenge and find opportunities to collaborate in personal and systemic changes in order to be the hands and feet of Christ.
2. What is ours to do?
- In the midst of division and brokenness in our church how can we foster life giving relationships with God?
- In the midst of political division and cultural divide how do we foster inclusivity?
- In the midst of disparity of wealth in our world how do we use our resources and influence to promote justice and systemic change?
- In the midst of environmental concerns how do we promote care for creation?
1. Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary will boldly embrace new experimental partnerships in high profile community engagement through commissioning and financially supporting individuals and organizations implementing values aligned with the Gospel.
2. Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary will initiate conversations with the clergy and/or local parishes addressing concerns within the church to create stronger, trusting, and productive relationships.
1. We want to be aware of oppression and suffering in the world and look for ways to alleviate hurts, become enmeshed in our neighborhoods, and be public witnesses from the places we are now, knowing that the BVM Constitutions say that we are
"called to speak to the exigencies of the times."