KEEPING THE FLAME BURNING: A CALL TO REMAIN ACTIVE AND RELEVANT IN OUR CURRENT SOCIO-CULTURAL SITUATION
(By Rev. Fr. David-Mary Odunsi)
(Dedicated to the Religious Institute of the SISTERS OF THE EUCHARISTIC HEART OF JESUS and to All my EHJ Friends, in celebration of their Titular Feast Day, 2021)
I have a history with the EHJ Sisters, one that makes my commitment to the Religious Institute almost irrevocable. Perhaps, because of this personal attachment, but also considering the pivotal and foundational place of the Eucharist in the Church, the Religious Institute of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus’ Sisters, for me, stands as Mary to Martha vis-à-vis other Women Religious Congregations in the Church; to which, therefore, the words of Jesus in that Lukan periscope can be applied: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things; but only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42).
If, then, I superciliously spur and urge the EHJ Sisters to greater heights of commitment, even the unimaginable, I think I can be excused considering this personal attachment to the Congregation, its backdrop and the real and potential outcomes of the same. This write-up is a push in that direction; and, I dedicate it to the Institute of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus’ Sisters on their Titular Feast Day, 2021 which falls on Thursday 17th June (of the 11th Week in Ordinary Time).
ON THE GIANT SHOULDERS OF ECCLESIAL AUTHORITIES
One of the advantages of referencing authorities in scholarship is to pay homage to our forebears in the academic enterprise, to “this great cloud of witnesses” (Heb.12:1) who have borne earlier witnesses to the same venture; but it also has the advantage of standing on their giant shoulders and thus calling them to one’s side for support in order to marshal one’s point for credibility and acceptance. This is the idea behind the main title of this write-up “Keeping the flame burning” – an adaptation of St Paul’s exhortation to Timothy to “Fan into flame” the gifts he received at his ordination and commissioning for the apostolic ministry (2Tim. 1:6; 1Tim. 4:14).