“Here is My Servant, whom I uphold, My Chosen One, in whom My soul delights. I will put My Spirit on Him, and He will bring justice to the nations. ”
– Isaiah 42:1
We, the one hundred and fifty-five (155) delegates to the July 11-14, 2022 Convention of the Conference of Major Superiors in the Philippines – CMSP (formerly the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines – AMRSP), coming from 116 women and 26 men institutes, together with 13 representatives from the permanent Commission of the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPICC) and our CMSP Mission Partners, gathered online to discern on the theme: “The CMSP’s Prophetic Challenges Today.”
The CMSP’s 2022 Convention examined and reflected on what the Conference has continued to work despite the volatile and uncertain past months since the last Convention in April 2021. Caught amid widespread unpredictability, change and ambiguity, the thread of enduring community kept the Conference on a path reflecting the members’ initiatives to stay focused on our continuing ministry.
“Wake up the world!”
Pope Francis calls on all consecrated persons to “wake up the world” and live up to their calling to be prophets in today’s world. As prophets, consecrated persons are people who know how to read the signs of the times so they can announce the good news of salvation and denounce evil and all forms of injustice
Pope Francis explained that a true prophet is one who not only speaks the truth but is capable of weeping for his people who turn away from the truth. In the past year, the life-giving actions of CMSP have responded to the cries of the poor and vulnerable while strengthening its organizational integrity as part of the universal and Synodal Church – a Church that walks with and listens to the faithful.
We are witnesses of God’s abounding mercy and love. Together, we celebrate our consecration and the mission entrusted to us through our various ministries. We are grateful for our vocation to love and to serve. We appreciate the mutually enriching and empowering cooperation, collaboration and partnership in the dioceses, parishes and communities. We are humbled and emboldened by the warm welcome and acceptance we received from our partners in the mission and in the communities of faith where we are present. We are grateful to be recognized and given significant roles and tasks in building up and invigorating the Church in her joyful journey towards a Synodal Church.
Courage in the midst of crisis
As a people and as a nation, “there is hope in the long-term, as there are small, important openings for the light to come in.” We face dangers from global and local crises in many forms– climate emergency, worsening global poverty and hunger, the pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war, the unrest in Myanmar and Sri Lanka, food and energy crises, dislocations caused by environmental degradation, migration and human trafficking, and continuing human rights violations. Sadly, the last Philippine elections continue to be defined by money politics, elite control, and lies and disinformation machinery.
As Church, we are challenged by our present time and context to stand for the truth. As Consecrated persons, our prophetic vocation compels us to speak up and do what is right. In our consecration to God, we pledged to do what is right, “acceptable and pleasing to the Lord.” We must speak the truth within the ambit of systematic disinformation, misinformation, historical distortions, and the like, as the Church will not and cannot be neutral on moral and ethical issues and concerns.
Some among our ranks were red-tagged; irresponsible labels and name-calling will not cow us. To serve the people of God is never wrong. To be in solidarity with the struggles, dreams and hopes of our people is demanded by our life of consecration to God and his people.
Hope is ever defiant!
In union, there is strength; let us forge and weave our strengths for our shared and common love of God, love of neighbor, and love of creation. Let us align and work with truth-tellers, justice & peace and human rights defenders, environmental advocates and civil society organizations. These are our strengths. Let us go to the margins and peripheries, the new frontiers and spheres of our missionary presence – socio- economic, political, religious and cultural, technological and minister to the vulnerable and the deprived.
Let us muster our courage and hold on hope; let us embrace and pursue Pope Francis’ call for ecological justice and conversion in Laudato Si’ and his dream for a common humanity based on fraternal love and social friendship in Fratelli Tutti.
In prayer, reflection and action, we encounter God who has called us to consecration and ministry. In a society where materialism, secularism, relativism, cognitive dissonance and historical distortions continue to hover like dark clouds, we commit to:
1. Share the greatest treasure of our lives: Christ Jesus, as we accompany and help people encounter the compassionate, inclusive, gracious and merciful God.
2. Walk with God’s people by working collaboratively with them and by opening our hearts to them. This requires, from us, a constant conversion in order to serve in the footsteps of Christ himself.
3. Welcome those who are at the fringes of the society, those who are vulnerable, those who are at the disadvantage. Where walls are built to separate the rich and the poor, “the haves and the have nots”, we commit to work to create new avenues to help alleviate the economic, social, political, cultural and environmental causes of poverty and inequality.
4. Work for justice and peace like Christ who was sent to bring the Gospel to the poor. We commit ourselves in working to dismantle unjust structures in society, and in their place, help build new ones in a spirit of reconciliation, justice and peace, as our Christian faith demands. We work in the light of the Gospel and the Social Teachings of the Church.
5. Engage, involve and work for Ecological Integrity, Human Rights and Human Dignity, Citizen Engagement and Good Governance, Inter-faith Dialogue, and Safeguarding the minors and vulnerable in our various pastoral ministries.
Sisters and Brothers, let us take the message of the Prophet Isaiah to heart as an assurance of the Lord’s delight: “Here is My Servant, whom I uphold, My Chosen One, in whom My soul delights. I will put My Spirit on Him, and He will bring justice to the nations.” (Isaiah 42:1). Our Holy Father Pope Francis has a word for us, when he exhorted us: “Do not abandon your prophecy”, as he boldly upholds the Church’s prophetic mission… so must we.
May the Lord, the God of Creation and Salvation bless us and all our good intentions, aspirations and works.
The Convention Delegates
CMSP 2022 Convention
July 14, 2022
Feast of St. Camillus de Lellis