By Meghan Schofield
“Let us remember the past with gratitude, live the present with enthusiasm, and look forward to the future with confidence.”
These words of John Paul II came alive as we gathered online for LCI’s 30th anniversary kickoff event. What a joy to see familiar faces, recount the history of LCI, listen to the stories of where people’s lives are now, and discuss what is next for LCI. It was amazing to recall that over 500 students (representing over two dozen countries) have shared the common experience of life in Gaming, Austria. Each student is unique and brought his/her own individual culture, gifts, talents, and way of being to our community life. And yet, as those who have been part of the LCI family know, there is a deep bond that connects us across cultural divides and even across time, making us familiar to one another, even if we do not personally know each other. This brings us to the theme of our LCI anniversary gathering: past, present, and future.
Reflecting on the theme of past-present-future brought to mind how God holds all time together because He is eternal. For us, we experience time in moments; moments coming to be and passing away. For God, past-present-future are linked up in an eternal “now,” all comprehended at once. What does that mean for us, practically? First of all, we don’t need to worry if we don’t have the full picture about our life – God does! He holds our past, present, and future in His Providence and invites us to trust Him. His plans are “to prosper, not to harm us” (Jeremiah 29:11). Because He’s a good father, He is able to direct our way through time and make provision for what we need along the way. Second, even though we experience time in moments, they are not moments that are entirely sealed off from one another. We can, in some way, share the way past-present-future are connected. The past is not simply finished – think of the joy of seeing someone you haven’t seen in a long time. The joy from the past is somehow still alive and made present in your meeting. In addition, the future is not simply disconnected from where we are now – think of an intuition you’ve had in the present for some future purpose. Once again, because God is a good father, who holds all things together, he is able to direct our way through time and make provision for all that we need.
We remember with gratitude “Chapter 1” of LCI – its founding and first years setting out the vision and charism of LCI; the first few brave students travelling to a new nation to meet a community of nations. We remember with gratitude “Chapter 2” of LCI – the “Jenny & Bobette years,” where the Lord crystalized and accelerated the mission of LCI; where the daily life in community in the Kartause became the extraordinary catalyst of change for so many of us. And we anticipate with great hope “Chapter 3” of LCI – Lord, you are our good father. We know you are stirring and moving in the hearts of many to raise up in this era a new generation of LCI. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear all the plans you have for us. Amen.