Listening and dialogue must be grounded in prayer

by Lana Turvey-Collins

Trusting this preparation process to God is something that I find is both easy and hard to do.
It’s easy in the sense that I have deep faith that the Holy Spirit is very much leading this process. With the benefit of hindsight, I can look back upon the last six months and see where God has had a clear hand in guiding decisions one way or the other, or has dismantled hurdles seemingly in the way, or has provided comfort through the kindness and loving response from another pilgrim on the journey. 

It’s hard in the sense that we want certainty, assurances that we are doing and saying the “right” thing, evidence that we are moving toward positive outcomes and guarantees that our Church in Australia will be better for experiencing this preparatory process toward the Plenary Council than it otherwise would have been without it. 

Leaning into the uncertainty of where the Holy Spirit might lead us all can be something that creates feelings of fear or hope. The difference between feeling one or the other is faith. In times of doubt, it is more difficult to quieten our fears and desire for certainty. When there is deep trust and belief that God is with us, that the Holy Spirit is leading us, then we can be filled with hope and propelled into action. 

For these reasons, grounding this stage of open listening and dialogue with one another in prayer is essential. Praying together, sharing stories with one another of one’s experiences of faith and of the Church, and exploring together “What do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time?” is something that can bring light to darkness, refresh the soul and connect hearts with hearts. 

The more we do this, the more clearly we will be able to “listen to what the Spirit is saying” (Rev 2:7).