When Pope Francis announced the largest listening consultation process in human history, many of us dared to hope. The global Synod on Communion, Participation, and Mission has been asking the People of God, including those on the margins, what we love about our Catholic faith and what about it breaks our hearts. Permission granted to prioritize encounter, listening, dialoguing, and discerning the will of the Holy Spirit for our future.
Millions of Catholics participated in listening sessions and discovered the pockets of our faith that continue to spark joy—imagining a world that centers love, God’s mercy, and the common good; the Eucharist; caring for our common home; welcoming the stranger; intentionally including all our brothers and sisters on the margins; and enlarging the space of our tent to better recognize women’s gifts for ministry.
Jesus invites us to notice what sparks our joy. He even encourages us to sell all we have to claim our pearl of great price, the treasure that opens up new horizons. In our times, the late Jesuit Pedro Arrupe, S.J., popularized the prayer about falling in love with what seizes our imagination and letting that impact every other decision.
In search of treasured places where synodal listening is taking root, I recently returned from a journey to the Amazon region of Brazil accompanying prophetic women in ministry. “We can’t renew the church if we don’t also renew our common home,” Sr. Laura Vicuña Pereira Manso told us. “The best contribution we can make from the Amazon is to call the world to care for our common home.”
And with that she told us her community’s pearl of great price.
The Gospel invites all of us to reflect on our hidden treasure and to do what we must to claim it fully.
- What is sparking joy in your life and in the life of your community these days?
- What gives you clues to your deep purpose?
- What do you need to sell or let go of in order to let this joy decide everything else?
Ellie Hidalgo is co-director of Discerning Deacons, a project to engage Catholics in the active discernment of our Church about women in the diaconate and to contribute to the renewal of the diaconate for our times. Previously, she served as pastoral associate at Dolores Mission Church and School in Boyle Heights/East Los Angeles, CA. Ellie received her master’s in pastoral theology from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. She is based in Miami, FL.