American writer and speaker Sr Joan Chittister OSB has invited Australian Catholics to “climb the eight mountains of the Bible” in order to harness the energy needed for Church renewal, writes Fr Jim Mulroney SSC. Source: Columban eBulletin.
The climb through the mountains that Sr Joan invites us to is essential to our preparation for the Australian Plenary Council scheduled for October.
In an address to some 3,000 people tuned into a digital conference on May 2, she began her reflection on “The Future of Catholicism in Australia” with a quotation from St Benedict encouraging us to “listen and attend to the ears of the heart”.
It is compassion and emotion that ultimately connect us to this world, a world which she points out is a long way from that of just three or four decades past.
She points to a basic shift in the demographic makeup, making it clear that God is speaking today in many tongues and through many cultures. Everything has changed, she says, and “everything must grow up, religion too. It must be much more than obeying rules”.
In introducing Sr Joan, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge described the purpose of the Plenary Council as an opportunity to listen – to each other and to the Spirit, to which Sr Joan added tuning in carefully to the world around us.
She described this as an invitation to find what stirs the heart and then to act on its stirring, as only the laity can help our struggling Church to relocate and touch what is sacred in the changing society it exists to serve.
She lists the eight mountains of the Bible: Sinai (Horeb), Gilboa, Olivet, Moriah, Carmel, Hermon, Gerizim and the Beatitudes as heights we must scale. Some we have already climbed, but we may be struggling to hold our grip on their slopes. Others we have yet to attempt.
Climb every mountain (Columban eBulletin)