The XXV General Chapter calls us to “commit ourselves to form – under the guidance of the Spirit – communities of witnesses and messengers; we will take care to be men of deep spirituality who – open to the recommendation of Pope Francis to the Congregation – adore our God the Father ‘in spirit and truth’ (cf. Jn 4:23) and embrace the processes of transformation that the Spirit grants us” (MS 65). We hold that transformation is a defining component of our commitment to progress as Claretians. The invitation affects all Claretians, all components of our being, and all areas of our missionary life – Governance, Prefectures, Ministries, and Community Life.
Transformation refers fundamentally to a process of profound and radical change. Radical is the operative word in the transformation process. This is a change that orients an organization and its individual members to a new direction and takes the members to an entirely different level of effectiveness.
It is an accepted fact that any transformation entails some form of suffering as this involves moments of uncertainty and facing unknown territories and realities both within the Congregation and within each one’s inner life. Moreover, transformation requires a willingness to respond to this new consciousness and to let go of that which is no longer growth-promoting. Transformation calls us to Christocentric action anchored on our faith in God and in confidence that He never abandons us.
We can identify three important elements that are necessary for transformation to take place.
The first element is a mature relationship with God. As transformation requires growth, it necessarily entails emotional and spiritual depth and action. Psychological and spiritual depth are difficult to attain without a deep personal relationship with God, a relationship that is tested and that grows in one’s daily encounters with God through others. Needless to say, any action that is not anchored on this relationship with God is bound to be futile and unsustainable.
A second element is growth in creativity and initiative. We can never take on a different form or be transformed if we cannot imagine possibilities beyond our current mindsets and perspectives. Corollary to this, we are challenged to take the necessary action to make these possibilities a reality.
Third and last are courage and strength. These qualities are essential throughout the transformation process. It takes both to initiate change, to pursue it, to persevere in the process, and to culminate the entire experience.
Courage and strength anchored in one’s mature relationship with God empowered by creativity and initiative and made possible by openness and humility facilitate the transformation journey.
We have a big task ahead of us and the next six years will only lay the ground for the transformation process. I believe though that we live in a fast-paced world of change and transformation, and the Church cannot afford to be left behind. If we are to be responsive to the call of the times, we cannot hold on to our grip over what we now have in our programs, structures, and old order and in the bigger realm of our Congregation.
Leo Dalmao, CMF