Fertile soil

On another occasion, Jesus began to teach by the sea. A very large crowd gathered around him so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down. And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land. And he taught them at length in parables, and in the course of his instruction he said to them, “Hear this! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep. And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it and it produced no grain. And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit. It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” He added, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.” – Mark 4: 1-9

Every member of the Legion of Christ is a part of the Extraordinary General Chapter going on in Rome these days.

I’m in Rome to help with some chapter work this week (don’t worry, they don’t let me actually participate) and while I have only see around 60 participants actually going in and out of the chapter room, I feel that hundreds more are here.

Fr Jason Brooks LC was the insightful soul who pointed out the presence of the hundreds. He opened my eyes during his homily on Tuesday, when the gospel was the parable of the sower. The Mass was a small celebration, the sort of thing that happens often in a place like our General Directorate, which dozens of priests call home.

Fr Jason stopped me after lunch and asked if I had been to Mass yet that day. When I replied that I had not, he said he was celebrating his daily Mass in a couple hours; one of the Legionary Brothers was coming and I was welcome.

That’s a good deal. So…a couple hours later, Br John Choi LC and I were the beneficiaries of a small and consoling ceremony. And after admitting that he had not prepared a homily (not expecting company beyond Christ for his Mass), he proceeded to apply the message of Mark 4 to the General Chapter.

He explained that the Fathers in the General Chapter were working through many challenging tasks…selecting a new General Director, finishing the writing of the constitutions and pondering the right balance between our past and future, what stays and what is revised. And when they are finished, the seeds of their work will be distributed to the rest of the Legionaries – and in many ways to the rest of us, consecrated and unconsecrated lay folk.

Because of the reflection, discussion, participation and contributions of Legionaries all over the world for the past three years, those seeds will fall on ground that has been well prepared. Odds are good that the crop will grow tall and strong and the harvest will be plentiful – not just because of the wisdom of the Fathers in the Chapter, but because of the wisdom all the Legionaries put into the preparation before the Chapter started.

I’ve had a chance to talk with many of the Fathers who are in the General Chapter. And while they can’t tell me about the confidential discussions that are going on, they can’t help but convey both the seriousness of their task – and the heartfelt peace the effort is bringing to them. They are men who are doing their best, but like anyone given a task requiring great faith, they rely on the Holy Spirit to compensate for their human weaknesses.

Meanwhile, let’s all continue to prepare the soil and pray for the Fathers who work for the Church – and each of us.



About Jim Fair

Jim Fair is a writer and consultant. He lives in the Chicago area and has a wonderful wife, son and daughter. He enjoys fishing and occasionally catches something. He tries to play the piano and sings a little. In addition to writing for Regnum Christi Live, he blogs at Laughing Catholic. And you can follow him on Twitter: Jim Fair (@fishfair).
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