Psalm 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6
Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11
What a contrast between on the one hand the magnificent rolling titles of the men of power listed in today’s Gospel – emperor, governor, tetrarch, pontiff – and on the other the simplicity of the reference to John the Baptist, in the wilderness! Our religion does not begin in palaces, with potentates, or in universities, with academics, but in the desert. What is significant about that? It’s significant that the environment where our faith took its rise was the sort of place where people tend to feel most exposed, vulnerable, on the knife-edge of existence. Many people cannot stand being alone; they have to be accompanied, even if only by a disembodied voice from a radio set or over the Internet. And this is strange, because there’s nothing necessarily boring about being alone, at least for quite long stretches of time.
We started the day, as we do every day, with Holy Mass. In his introductory word to the morning session, Fr. Martin referred to the main theme of the Chapter: “Do whatever he tells you.” (Jn 2: 5) He encouraged the Sisters to listen and to follow the voice of the Holy Spirit. The morning session was devoted to the recommendations of the XXI General Chapter. We had already well prepared our task on voting on the motions for recommendations which had been handed in, by discussing them in detail in previous sessions. Today, Sr. Adelheid Scheloske introduced us to the method of voting, and she guided us through the procedure of doing so.
During Holy Mass Fr. Martin drew our attention to the patron of the day, St. Francis Xavier. He said that today's commemoration is an invitation for us to live in accordance with the Pallottine charism and revive our missionary enthusiasm in order to bring the Gospel to the ends of the world.
We began our day with Mass. Most of the capitulars celebrated Mass with Fr. Martin in the Procura chapel; a group of mostly Polish Sisters celebrated Mass at the tomb of St. John Paul II in St. Peter's Basilica. Sr. Izabela had allowed this as this morning was the only time when attending this Mass fitted into the Chapter's programme. At both Masses, the Sisters heard as an interpretation of the Gospel how important it is to take the Word of God as the basis on which each one builds her life; in doing so, we must be careful not only to listen attentively to the Word of God, but to actually put it into practice.
After an early Mass at 6.30 am, we set off for the Papal Audience, which began at 9.15 am. We wanted to make sure we were on time and had therefore planned enough time for the security checks. The audience took place in the large Paolo VI Audience Hall. We had been given special tickets for the first section - right at the front. It was an impressive experience for all the sisters to be so close to the Holy Father.