Has it ever happened to you that in a short period of time, a certain phrase or two just keep showing up?
For me, this has happened over the past three weeks where two phrases have continued to stand out – “For such a time as this” (Esther 4:14) and “Creativity of Love” (Pope Francis 2017, 2020).
Life certainly has had a particular focus over the past few months and as a result our social lives, the way we work and the way we experience church and community has adapted to this ‘new normal’.
In our own Diocese we have seen many parishes, faith communities and religious communities live the call by Pope Francis in his Holy Week message to respond to this pandemic through a ‘creativity of love’ in ‘such a time as this.’
An initiative by the Pastoral Planning Office has been to offer an online conversation and group sharing called “Saturday Sessions.” Anyone who has a desire to grow and share faith is invited to come together to share thoughts in response to a video or audio piece that they have been given to watch or listen to prior to the conversation. A different speaker and topic is offered each week and offers a perspective on life and faith.
On Saturday, 25 April, participants were invited to listen to a TED Talk that Pope Francis gave in 2017. What he shared in 2017 is as relevant, if not more so now than it was then. Pope Francis asked the viewer to consider what it means to live in solidarity with one another. To consider each person as a ‘you’ so that together we become an ‘us’ and face the future together.
You can watch the talk below:
Hearing isolation stories from participants, it was evident in all our local suburbs, more people were walking as a means of exercise. It also meant that more people were encountering each other on these walks and the smiles, the nodding, the waving and the greetings of hello had also increased. In such times as this, the creativity of love has many faces and in this little way, was creating solidarity amongst communities and a ‘revolution of tenderness’ as Pope Francis describes in his talk.
Amongst many other things, Pope Francis shared that to do good we need memory, courage and creativity, a point he reiterated only a few weeks ago in his Holy Week message. “Yes, love does require a creative, concrete and ingenious attitude. Good intentions and conventional formulas, so often used to appease our conscience, are not enough. Let us help each other, all together, to remember that the other is not a statistic or a number. The other has a face. The “you” is always a real presence, a person to take care of.” Even though this talk was given in 2017, the wisdom and compassion of Pope Francis is just as relevant ‘for such a time as this.’
At the end of the Saturday Session, the participants identified one thing that were going to take away with them from the talk. They served as challenges for the week ahead. How might you respond to these challenges?
- In ‘such a time as this’, how are you being moved out of your comfort zone?
- How are ‘you’ going to recognise the other ‘you’ to become ‘us’ and continue a revolution of tenderness?
- How are you going to be or continue to be creative in love ‘in such a time as this’?
The transcript of Pope Francis’ TED talk can be read at https://time.com/4755663/pope-francis-ted-talk-transcript/
You are invited to join the Saturday Sessions, hosted by the Pastoral Planning Office. Be part of the conversation. Participants are encouraged to take this initiative into faith communities as another way to be creative in love and respond to such a time as this. Contact Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Lisa Bright is the Project Officer for the Pastoral Planning Office for the Diocese of Parramatta.