Hope Beyond Impasse
Experiencing moments of both hope and despair, this past month has been emotionally draining for me. I was excited and hopeful when the Synod began in Rome on October 1, the feast of St. Thérèse. For the next several days, Synod participants joined together in prayer, which set the tone for the weeks ahead.
However, soon after the opening of the Synod, the world learned of the bombing and brutal assaults on innocent victims in Israel. Attacks in the name of defense and national security followed. Horrific scenes of killing and devastation seem only to have worsened. I wondered if true peace in the land we call “holy” could ever become a reality. I felt myself despairing, questioning if it is too late.
In the midst of deep divisions and apparent impasse in many areas of our world (not only among Israelis and Palestinians), the Synod offers a model for moving beyond decades of futile efforts and violence.
Participants at the Synod are seated at round tables. A climate of prayer pervades. There is listening, silence, and reflection before responding to one another. If only our relationships with each other observed these steps, especially when deep differences bring us to impasse.
Attempts to overcome impasse are never easy, simple, or quick. They call for daily doses of patience, respect, prayer, and commitment. Our efforts alone can’t bring lasting results, but when we draw on God’s power and mercy, miracles of grace occur. When divisions are faced in such a spirit, creative options emerge, leading to win-win solutions. I find that results are not measured by perfect answers but by the possibilities that arise because of the respect and appreciation we show one another.
The call to live the spirit of synodality begins with those closest to us—spouses, family, friends, communities. When I have made even small efforts in my relationships with others by following the Synod process, the experience speaks hope to my heart—hope that lasting peace is possible.