Opening Mass of the Chapter – Bro. Bruno Cadoré, Master of the Order (2019)

Mass of Holy Spirit

We are here gathered in His Name. And we are more than two or three, in this gathering of all languages, peoples and nations. What are we going to ask Him? What are we really going to ask, as we invoke the Holy Spirit in our lives?

Of course, we ask the Holy Spirit to guide us, to inspire our meetings, our discussions, our decisions. And as we well know, the Lord will answer us, as he did for the prophet Isaiah: “Walk, and I will lead you on the paths where you walk”. It is therefore a question of asking the Spirit to accompany us both by giving us the confidence to trace our paths, and the faith that, like the Paraclete walking just behind us, with his hand on our shoulder, He guides and accompanies what we do. Basically, we ask Him to open our hearts so that we know, or better, that we believe that He is here among us. That this chapter of the Order is also its Chapter. This act of faith is perhaps the first “Act” of a chapter.

Guided by today’s readings, and as always when we invoke the coming of the Spirit, we ask him to establish us in unity. We know from our personal or community experience that this is not always easy. It is not easy to take the path of reconciliation, the path of trust given once more to those who have disappointed us, sometimes deceived us or even betrayed us. It is not easy not to reduce anyone to what he or she may have done, but rather always to see them as a being with a continuous capacity to be born again. This is what the Gospel is basically talking about. Perhaps the most difficult thing is to let ourselves be convinced that we are “capable of communion, capable of unity, capable of reconciliation”. To be convinced that we have this ability, because God wanted to create us in this way, in His image and likeness. We ask Him to establish us in unity, so that we may become one, as the Father and the Son are one. That we may be drawn forward by the very prayer of Christ to the Father.

Therefore, following the letter to the Philippians, we ask the Spirit to make us brothers and sisters. And it is quite clear that this is not about asking to achieve the “moral” prowess of considering one’s brothers and sisters “in Christ”, as we say so easily. It is really a question of imploring the inspiration of the Spirit who lives from Father to Son and from Son to Father, so that these magnificent traits of brotherhood that Paul describes may be established in each of us, and among all of us: mutual consolation, encouragement in love, tenderness and mercy, the joy of unity, the peace of humility, the determination to always say to the other: after you! Have the same mind among you…. In other words, let the Spirit put Christ’s mind into your humanity. And this “after you” is not so simple when, during the discussions in this chapter, we seek the common good, while remaining convinced that we must also protect our own territory, our projects, our prerogatives, our successes, our image of the Order, our idea of the Church… Now, we must be in agreement before we can make a common request of the Lord: and this is indeed the work of the Spirit in our midst!

What are we going to ask him? How can such a reversal of knee-jerk reactions be achieved? Perhaps we might answer that we will, first of all, ask him for unity, communion and world peace. The salvation of the world, in fact, nothing less. And to help us to put our brotherhood of Preachers at the service of this communion, in suffering and in hope for this communion. Basically, we will ask the Spirit to make Christ’s prayer live in us, that prayer which he made on the eve of his passion. I pray for those you have entrusted to me. May they be one, and where I am, there may they also be. We will ask him to configure us to Christ the preacher, and thus to teach us what sort of preachers He desires.

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