As we follow Christ in the light of the Holy Spirit, we wish to be inspired by the obedience of Mary the Mother of Jesus who says:
Here am I the Servant of the Lord. (Luke 1:38)We feel called to serve Christ in our local environment without any particular outward marks distinguishing us from our context. In solitude and unobtrusively we aim to be a leaven bringing communion, peace and solidarity in the Church, the world and in creation as a whole.
Receptive to the Spirit, our ears open to the Scriptures, we give priority to prayer. This allows us to live out the three monastic vows:
– Chastity in the solitude of single life
– Poverty by ever simplifying our life and depending on God alone
– Obedience to God’s will
In the 1950’s some women, together with Geneviève Micheli, Prioress of the Grandchamp Community in Switzerland, looked into the possibility of a vocation to contemplative prayer right at the heart of the everyday world. The booklet “Servants of Unity” prepared by Brother roger of Taizé, with men in mind, was the main inspiration for the women from the start. Out of it has developed the ‘Texte de base’ or ‘the Foundation Text’ for the Servants of Unity today.
The ecumenical dimension was established from the very beginning and down the years women from different confessions and nationalities have been drawn to membership, always remaining in their own country and context.
– Responsibility is shared in obedience to God, and one person is chosen to be the focus of unity in the SU group.
– We have an annual retreat all together and other smaller regional meetings and personal contacts as possible throughout the year. The regular circular letters keep us in touch and are a link that help to build up our communion and fellowship.
– The close relations we have with the Grandchamp Community and meetings with the Protestant and Catholic chaplains all help to keep us well-rooted in the Church.
COMPASS AND RULE
In the beginning: the love of God
and that quiet call, discreet,
like an invitation awaiting your reply,
an invitation to come and quench your thirst at the well of life.
You heard it, you listened and recognised this call; and you discerned an invitation to be part of Christ’s prayer :
that they may all be one so that the world will believe that you have sent me.
You who feel and know you have been called to give your life for God, you are already on the way, going forward : just go !
in response to that ‘go’ that echoes throughout the Bible.
Do you know that Jesus Christ goes before you on this path ? That he is at your side and that the tenderness and mercy of God surround you by the power of the Holy Spirit ?
And that if your trust and faithfulness falter He will lift you up.
Don’t ever forget that, whatever detours and shortcuts you may want to take.
You are not alone on this path that the Desert Fathers and Mothers have followed before you, together with many ‘solitaries’, monks and nuns, saints of all times and, today, the sisters of Grandchamp and the Servants of Unity with whom you journey.
With them you commit your life to the service of Unity and the reconci- liation of all the scattered children of God. Unity and reconciliation of Creation and all its creatures, unity and reconciliation of the universal Church. Yes!
Pray and work that God may reign
Throughout your day,
Let the Word of God breathe life into work and rest.
Keep inner silence in all things
so as to dwell in Christ.
Be filled with the spirit of the beatitudes,
joy, simplicity, mercy.
Pray and work that God may reign : that is what you undertake.
In the world, where you are, where you live, in your profession, in your work, your commitments, your solitude, in your church life, listening to those close to you and to your neighbours, that is where you are a servant of unity.
Where reconciliation is at work, there where God’s peace is found, that is where you offer your service of praise and thanksgiving.
In the midst of arguments and quarrels, division and even war, that is where you fulfil your service of prayer: resisting all death-dealing divi- sion, without judging.
A hidden grain of yeast, a seed of wheat (or a grain of salt or of sand) as Jesus was himself. Pray and work for his reign to come so that the world might believe that God sent his Son.
Throughout your day, let the Word of God breathe life into work and rest.
The Word of God: that is the well at which to drink, to be refreshed, to find joy, to regain your strength: take care to do this. Sit with the Word, listen to its murmur, even its clamour when it becomes a torrent. Mingle your voice with its voice.
The Word is the bread of silence.
« But what about all this noise in me and around me, all this chaos, all these storms and voices… ?» You might say.
Keep inner silence in all things so as to dwell in Christ.
Just say « stop » ! Stop and then begin your rhythm again, your brea- thing; the ‘prayer of hours’ (the daily ‘office’) is there for that reason; put yourself into God’s hands in the morning, at midday and in the evening; at those important moments of creation, at dawn, at midday and when the night begins: at the great hours when all monks and nuns of all time have prayed.
And stop at other times too, there, now, on the bus, at your desk and your computer, among your pots and pans, “ Dios anda tambien entre pucheros : God comes into the kitchen too ”, said Saint Teresa of Avila.
Every hour is a time of thanksgiving, and of asking the Lord for his Spirit so that we can dwell in Christ; Christ the crucified and risen Lord, who came into the world and lived here to bring together into One Body the scattered children of God. He taught and consoled people, healed them, gave them food, lifted them to their feet, he opened eyes and ears, and healed mute tongues; but no-one understood him, no-one wanted him.
And it is on this path that he both goes before you and accompanies you ; no you are not alone. You can find the path. Just go !
In Christ you are never and can never be alone; you are bound to other disciples of Jesus. That is called the Church. The people of God. The body of Christ that finds its life through the Holy Spirit and through the Eucha- rist that the Church celebrates. Communion. Still on earth, not yet in hea- ven ! The Church, including the local church, is not the Kingdom of God in its fullness ; its mission is to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom!
That is also the place of your service, through your baptism.
Nothing spectacular: the availability of your single life and your solitude can blossom humbly, unobtrusively. Not in secret, but hidden in Christ and revealed openly when the need arises.
Simply be the yeast in the dough, allow yourself to be kneaded by joy, simplicity and mercy. What you will become will be made visible ! and you will find yourself reconciled with your God, your neighbour and yourself.
This is what you receive and this is what you can give.
Look too at the Icon of the Trinity : the friendship, the communion bet- ween the three persons : look at the space they enfold like two praying hands or a cup held up to heaven to receive these gifts.
And let this Icon look at you….
And your heart will become wide open to life – received and offered.
SOLI DEO GLORIA