Around 600 BC up to 10,000 Jews, all their leaders, skilled workers, priests, scholars, and teachers were deported to Babylon. The Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem was plundered and burned. The nation and everything that gave meaning to the people’s lives was wiped out. It was a huge disaster for those who were deported and for the few very poor people left behind. (2K 24, 25). Such a calamity can cause either the deepest despair or the most profound reworking of a world view. For the Jews in Babylon it did both. The prophet Ezekiel, sometimes accredited with refounding Judaism, encouraged the faithful Jews to hope, to find new ways. Scholars believe that synagogues were first created during this period. The people replaced the Temple-centred worship of God with other forms of celebration and prayer. They discovered that God is with His people where they are. The first redaction of The Torah is believed to have been done during the Exile.
“O My people, I will bring you out of your graves, I will put My Spirit in you and you will live” (Ezek. 37). Amazingly, it was a pagan king, Cyrus, who encouraged some exiles to return and to rebuild their Temple, even making large donations to the work.
In many countries today something similar seems to be happening to the Church. In an alarmingly
short time, it is losing its place and influence in society and in
people’s personal lives. A short time ago, well attended Church services, a practising majority, a faithful clergy present and respected everywhere, the security of unquestioned faith and moral rules, obedience to a solid central authority in Rome, gave us the feeling that all was well. Overnight, it seems, much of this security has collapsed and Christians are floundering in a new reality.
For us, the Infant Jesus Sisters, the Institute seems to be going through a similar change. What is the Spirit saying to us?
The words of Nicolas Barre come to mind:
The Institute resembles the Church. What appears to destroy it is precisely what strengthens it. Hence it is always necessary to live in a spirit of abandonment to God, trusting in Him. Associated with Christ in His Paschal Mystery we participate in His suffering and death and enter into the Joy of His Resurrection. (BI 12, FM 12)
May the Power of Christ’s Resurrection give the Church and the Institute an unshakable Hope that God is working His purpose out in spite of all appearances. A Joyful Easter!
Sr. Georgina Clarson