Spirituality and Community Life
We have come a long way from considering spirituality as something that deals with just practices of piety or some spiritual exercise. It is a whole way of life. It is the basic, practical, existential attitude of the person, which is the consequence and expression of the way in which one understands one’s existence and the meaning of reality.
1. Spirituality as the Centre of our Community Life
We commit ourselves to give priority in our lives to the listening of the Word, the celebration of the Eucharist, daily prayer and cordimarian devotion (cf. CC 33-38). We provide the necessary community environment to support this priority.1 Fraternal life is best symbolized and brought to perfection in the Eucharist, which is the sign of unity and the bond of love.2 It is fostered by a prevailing tone of family life in which we all live together sincerely and openly. It is also expressed by our sharing in the governance and orderly operation of the community. Strengthened by such divine power we can move forward in missionary community to achieve personal fullness to which we have been called.
As images of God and members of one body, we love one another fulfilling the Lord’s precept “This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you.” (Jn 15:12). Fraternal love such as this involves the practice of all virtues: “Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous; love is not boastful or conceited, it is never rude and never seeks its own advantage; it does not take offence or store up grievances. Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing but finds its joy in the truth. It is always ready to make allowances, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever may come” (1Cor 13:4-7). In the community we are concerned for one another, and help bear one another’s burdens. Each and every one of us should continually work together to build community. Like the apostles we are also called to be co- builders of the kingdom of God. As Claretians our first and principal belonging must be to our deep communion with our brothers in the community and there by become witness and heralds of Good news.
2. Community as way of life
Consecrated life is a special call of communion in the church. It is a call to love God and live together as brothers, caring and sharing (Rom 12:10; 612) as a family enjoying the presence of God (Mt 18:20). It is here that we come to the basic message and challenge of religious community life. It centers on the need of developing new qualities and attitudes towards life in our inter-personal relationship that will enable us to live as fruitful members of our community.
The basic quality of the heart is its sensitivity to the feelings of others. The Gospels narrate how Jesus had feelings from the people and how he healed them and fed them (Mt 9:36; 15:32; Jn 11:33, 35). Religious life is a journey into the heart, a journey into one’s own heart, a journey into the heart of others and also a continuous journey into the heart of Jesus who gives them the light and the power to lead a life at the level of the heart. All the questions in community life can be summarized in one: How can I help myself in a community? Our common life responds to our Founder’s desire to imitate the apostolic life in its fullness, that is, to follow Christ who gathered the apostles about him in fraternal charity (cf. SH 118). According to our Constitutions (CC 10), the foundation of our missionary community life in the person of Jesus, the Son always sent in communion with the Father and the Spirit, in the community of the Twelve (cf. SH 118) and in the first community of believers (cf. SH 107). Community is the place where we live together, pray together, take responsibility together and study: the ambiance wherein we achieve the personal fullness to which we have been called (cf. CC 12)
Community values hold a privileged place: sharing the faith, the Word and responsibilities; programming and planning together; teamwork; favouring mutual openness of the individual with others and with the group; jointly reading and analyzing situations and signs of the times (2F 13; CPR 61-62; SW 7).
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