“There’s a time for sowing and a time for reaping”, so says the preacher. But between the sowing and the reaping there’s a time for gestation, for the seed to sprout, for the shoot to grow, for the plant to bear fruit. So where in this metaphor does a General Congregation fit?
We have, over this last month, been listening to experiences of fellow Jesuits from around the world. The seeds of God’s working in our world have been sown in our hearts. When will they fructify in a text, we can share with the rest of the Society? How long will the gestation period be? Yesterday Fr. Afiawari used the metaphor of ‘giving birth’. As a student of Botany, maybe I’ll go for an image closer to plants.
This afternoon, many of us forsook lunch to listen to the provincial of the Near East province talk about the situation in Syria and other countries of the Arab world. We heard stories of heroic faith of ordinary people, and how as Jesuits we are irresistibly drawn towards the wounds of pain and suffering, the cross. “When will this war end?”, the people ask. Pain and suffering are also moments of gestation, you can’t rush them, you wait on them, embracing the wounds, trusting in God.
Back in the Aula, the gestation period between our inspirations and their transformation into texts that will inspire and govern, is a painful one, a different type of pain, but not a scratch compared to the wounds of war-torn Syria. We don’t need heroics, but we do need faith.
“There’s a time for sowing and a time for reaping … a time to break down and a time to build up … a time to keep silence and a time to speak … a time for war and a time for peace …” the whole gamut of moods in the Aula.
Let’s heed the words of the preacher, “I have seen the business that God has given to the sons of men to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time.” So let’s busy ourselves whole heartedly with the work that God has given us, for between the sowing and the reaping, “it is God who gives the growth” (1Cor 3:7a).