Formation Session 4

Opening prayer: Saint Angela Merici said in her Second Counsel, “For you will achieve more with kindness and gentleness than with harshness and sharp rebukes.” Lord, let us be kind people.

Leader: The four topics for our formation sessions in 2022-23 were built from Father Larry Hostetter’s talk on Caritas during Associates and Sisters Day 2022.

Father Larry said Caritas – the Latin word for “love” – asks us three questions. The first is, “Who am I, as a loved person, who is someone called to love?” The second is, “As a person who is loved, what should I know as a person called to love?” The third is, “As a loved person, what should I do as someone called to love?”

Our fourth session is titled Integration. How do we take the components of this “three-legged stool” and integrate them into our daily interactions with people?

Reader 1: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”

Matthew 5:14-16

Reader 2: “At Brescia University, we have to express our Catholic identity while recognizing our diversity. Only 25 to 40 percent of our students are Catholic. But everyone can agree on love. In John 13, Jesus calls us to love one another. I have to empty myself of my attitudes in order to love. We have to take it seriously if we do Catholic education – ‘Love one another.’ We have to integrate it into everything we do.”

Father Larry Hostetter
Associates and Sisters Day 2022

Leader: Consider these questions and share your answers with your group.

  • Can you think of an example when you had to put an opinion aside so that you could welcome someone as Jesus calls you to do?
  • Where do you find the obstacles – both personally and in society – that prevent us from setting aside our attitudes to meet people with love?

Reader 3: “Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town. Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So, he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said, ‘Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.’ And he came down quickly and received him with joy. When they saw this, they began to grumble, saying, ‘He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.’ But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, ‘Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.’”

Luke 19:1-10

Reader 4: “Jesus presents a preliminary contract to no one. For example, he does not say to Zacchaeus, ‘Listen, I am willing to come to your house, but only if you do this, this and this.’ The opposite is true. … It is because he offers his love unconditionally that there is a jolt, that the wall of separation is broken, that the logic of guilt or conflict crumbles. But it was first necessary for him to make an investment of trust without conditions. It will not be a negotiation that will save us. What saves us is an excess of love, a gift that goes beyond all measure.”

Cardinal Jose Tolentino Mendonca

Leader: Consider these questions and share your answers with your group.

  • Jesus trusted that openly sharing his love would lead the tax collector to do the right thing. What are ways you can trust in the mercy of Jesus to serve others – without restrictions?
  • When has someone put their trust in you that led you to be more open to others?

Reader 5: “I beg you, willingly strive to lead them with love and with a mild and kindly hand, and not imperiously, not harshly, but in everything, willingly be gentle. Pay attention to Jesus Christ who says, ‘Learn from me, that I am gentle and meek of heart.’ And about God we read, that, he orders and governs all things with mildness.”

Saint Angela Merici, Third Legacy

Reader 6: “Love calls us to try to understand each other, to accompany one another. Hospitality is caritas in action.”

Father Larry Hostetter

Reader 7: “If you understand each other you will be kind to each other.”

John Steinbeck

Leader: Consider these questions and share your answers with your group.

  • Hospitality is part of the Ursuline charism. What are ways we can be more welcoming to people we meet?
  • What are some examples of when your attitude was changed because of hospitality that was shown to you?

Closing prayer: Saint Angela in her Second Counsel urged us to “act out of the sole love of God and out of the sole zeal for souls” in all our interactions with people. Lord, help us to seek to understand and to love.