Finding the Narrow Gate with My Companions

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This week I seem to be reading scripture as if with new eyes!  Today’s Gospel which is taken from Matthew 7: 6.12-14 is on the narrow and broad gates. When I have reflected on that text previously I have always focused on the idea that we are being challenged to choose “the hard road”.  Today I discovered that we are asked to “Enter by the narrow gate” (V. 13a).  The end of verse 14 really surprised me: “But it is a narrow gate and a hard road that lead to life, and only a few find it.”  It shocked me to think that I might never even find the narrow gate! In my complacency I had always assumed that “the way to life” was there before me and it was for me to choose…but I had never considered the possibility that I might not even find it. 

 I began to ask myself: “Where do I begin to look for signs of the narrow gate?”  It dawned on me that for me as an FCJ one of the ways that I am led to the narrow gate is through the example of my companions.  I see so many FCJs ahead of me and those I know personally have lived their lives so well it is a constant encouragement to me to do the same.  I have some really good FCJ friends who challenge me by the witness of their lives and by the truth they speak to me about the way I live my FCJ life.  Living in community with my companions helps me to stay faithful to prayer, to my vows, to living simply, peacefully and justly…and helps me to stay faithful to the mission of God.

When I move out of community and into our Muslim neighbourhood and also into our basic ecclesial community I see many examples of people who discovered the narrow gate far ahead of me…

I am so grateful that we do not have to make this journey alone and that there are so many others who know the way far better than I do.

2 Responses to “Finding the Narrow Gate with My Companions”

  1. Madeleine, fcJ Says:

    I have been at a meeting of local leaders from around the Province of the Americas and one idea that came up in our meeting fits with this reflection: The FCJ sisters who have gone before us, who are part of the communion of saints, are DEFINITELY wonderful examples of faithfulness in living FCJ life. So many of the sisters who were elderly when I started my FCJ life have now gone to God and for each of them, I have vivid memories and words of wisdom they taught me. For example, Sr. Joan Flavin, FCJ once told me that when I am sent somewhere to do something I would not have chosen to do, it is one of the few times in life I can be sure I am doing God’s Will with very little self-interest mixed in….. I can make a pure offering of myself in that moment, knowing that I am doing what I am doing simply for the love of God…. When she told me this, I found it comforting…. but over the years, I have found her words to be true… and very wise!

    May we each keep our eyes open for signs of the narrow way…..

  2. clarefcj Says:

    Thanks Madeleine, I really liked your sharing on how much you have been helped by the example of other FCJs during the course of your FCJ life. I loved your point that you have vivid memories of each of the sisters who have gone to God ahead of you. When I read the lives of those FCJs who have died I find myself deeply touched by the witness of their lives and inspired to try and be as faithful in my own FCJ living. I am inspired too by all those FCJs who are living now, and who, like us, are seeking each day to live the mission that God has given us. The three novices I live with: Hartini, Herlina and Meita are another source of inspiration for me – they give themselves so wholeheartedly to formation and to living as companions of Jesus. In the years that I have been privileged to be novice director I have been deeply formed by the novices I have walked alongside. They have led me again and again to the “narrow gate” by their example and by their readiness to be formed in order to be sent out on mission.

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