You are here

Community Life and the Apostolate

Fr. Barry Fischer, C.PP.S.

When we reflect on arriving at a proper perspective of what community life means for us, it is important to clarify the nature of our community life together. Community life will mean one thing for the trappists or for cloistered religious, while it will mean something quite different for our congregations engaged in the active apostolate. We need to recognize the apostolic nature of our community.

Community implies much more than just living under the same roof, eating a meal together, even praying together; it must become a place of honest communication in trust and mutual respect. Community life should be a space in which we can share our deepest dreams and hopes which shape our identity, just as Gaspar and Maria de Mattias had dreams and were able to enthuse others with their dreams. That is how our communities were formed in the first place! And it is in the sharing of our histories and traditions and in transmitting them from one generation to another that we grow in communion and we reaffirm time and again who we are and what are the values which we share as a community. Living community life is about sharing in a profound respect and gratitude for the dreamers of yesteryear. In the Eucharistic Table whose dreams are shared and put onto the Table to be celebrated and remembered.

Often in community life, we have inflicted wounds on ourselves. The younger members at times in their impatience do not recognize the contributions and lifetime of hard work and dedication and Christian witness of their predecessors, and at the same time, it can be that the older members criticize and find fault with the ideas and initiatives of the younger members who search for new ways of expressing the charism and spirituality for this day. We need to somehow heal these wounds which, if left alone, can fester and embitter the spirit.

Spirituality and Theology: