Synodality and the Dialectic

A brief conversation between my Mom and Dad offers an insight into one aspect of synodality. 

The gardener arrived at their home early one morning.  As is customary, Mom informed Dad that she’s going to prepare breakfast for him.  My father rebutted, “Do you really have to prepare breakfast for him?” Later Mom shared with me that she would normally prepare breakfast and even organize dinner for him to take home.

In this scenario, what’s happening? 

My father’s focus is on the goal – the destination. From his perspective, the gardener comes for the sole purpose of getting the job done. On the other hand, Mom’s focus is on the journey – the NOW.  In her mind she seems to ask, “How is he going to arrive at the destination without fuel for the journey?” Her interest points to relationship building, that is, paying attention to the human person along the journey.

Dad and Mom represent the dialectical tension of the entire journey THE NOW (the journey) and THE NOT YET (destination). Without a focus on the destination, we risk chasing our own tails. Without a focus on the journey and the relationships along the journey, we risk achieving the measurable goal with broken, wounded relationships, or not achieving the goal at all.

There’s another aspect of the synodal journey to consider. If the People of God are called to journey together to listen to each other and the Holy Spirit, then we need to be prepared to face a diversity of personality types, idiosyncrasies, perspectives, spiritualities, skill sets, and social and intellectual capacities, all of which we learn to hold in tension.

Synodality invites us to utilize our human and material resources to equip participants in the journey to dialogue, discern, decide, and implement.

2 thoughts on “Synodality and the Dialectic

  1. A simple and powerful example which encourages us to focus on our spiritual preparation for this journey and also the importance of paying close attention to the needs of our companions.


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