During the month of October, the international summit of the Synod on Synodality brought together over 450 participants in Rome to pray, reflect and listen together for the future of the Church. At its opening on October 4th Pope Francis declared, “This is the primary task of the synod: to refocus our gaze on God, to be a church that looks mercifully at humanity.”

I was struck by his words which could easily be applied to each one of us. Francis seems to have a special skill for going right to the heart of the matter, doesn’t he? It’s so easy to lose our focus on God amid everything that consumes our days and nights. When we lose this focus, we might ask ourselves, what takes its place?

- my family’s well-being.

- my own wants and needs,

- my worries and fears,

- my due dates and deadlines . . .

Refocusing my gaze on God is not a feat I can accomplish on my own. It can only be achieved by humble prayer in which I ask God to lead me back to God when I stray in thought or action. The current emphasis on mindfulness in society today reminds us of the power of single-minded attention.

Francis declares a second part of the synod’s task: “. . . to be a church that looks mercifully at humanity.” If the first part of the task appeared daunting, this one is even more so! Yet again, I turn to God Who shows me mercy. From this experience, I am led to gaze on others with merciful eyes.

Let us pray that the example of the synod’s goals will inspire us to refocus on God and to bring mercy to everyone in God’s family.

Sister Virginia DeVinne