Over the last couple of months, I have been reflecting with the diocesan council on the state of the vision. Our collective intention to be a renewed people with renewed hearts and renewed spirits has been with us in some form since 2014. It is worthwhile doing some reflection together on how we are doing on this journey of renewal. Before we can move to a fuller assessment or evaluation of the vision, it is important to get an idea of how it has been used, or how it has functioned in our diocese.
One tool that is often quite revealing is to think from within different metaphors. Each metaphor highlights certain aspects of what we are trying to understand and hides or diminishes others. The following three images are options for how we might understand the vision and how we would like it to function.
Has the vision functioned as a lens? Like coloured glasses, the vision allows us to see our collective life in a particular light. The categories (action, formation, foundation) highlight the way we understand the various tasks and goals to which we have committed ourselves. The lens-vision allows us to see our work and the world in this way. All the activities and initiatives in our shared vocation are seen through the vision lens that allows us to see and describe things in a similar way across the diocese, geographically and across our areas of passion and giftedness.
Has the vision functioned as a map? The vision portrays the terrain that we must navigate on our journey of renewal. We see each of the directions as locations for exploration and appreciation as we make our way toward renewal and transformation. The map-vision gives us a description of what we will encounter along the way, the valleys and mountains, the places of difficulties, the unexplored as well as the well-worn paths. A map helps us locate ourselves in relationship to what is around us, and points to areas where we might venture in the future.
Has the vision functioned as a mirror? The vision is a mirror that allows us to see ourselves in a certain way. In this image the vision is interpreting us, as a kind of tool of self-understanding. The map-vision allows us to see ourselves highlighting or expanding certain areas for examination. It provides us with a way of seeing and analyzing our life together to assess if we are living up to who we intend to be. What does the vision tell us about ourselves? Where do we see growth, where do we see need?
Each of these images brings with it a series of questions and insights. I hope that you can take some time in your communities to consider how the vision has functioned in your parish. Has it been a lens, a map, or a mirror? Or maybe another image reveals its use in our lives.
Vision implementation is a long-term project that is necessarily difficult to measure. The journey of transformation and renewal is continuous, and it involves those deep convictions that we seek to live out in our lives and in our communities. The time is right to reflect and revisit our relationship to the vision as we look toward a renewed future together.