Prayerful reflection on our identity

Our Charismatic ideintity-4. In missionary community

XXIIV General Chapter: Men on Fire with Love

37 A Son of the Immaculate Heart of Mary does not follow Jesus alone but as a member of the Congregation, a new charismatic family raised by the Spirit in the Church (cf. CC 4, 10). Because we are sons we are also brothers, brought together to share the same plan of evangelical life. “The grace which reaches and congregates us” is called to be the “principle that organizes and articulates all our hopes, aspirations and projects” (cf. MCT 126, 133) For this, although we live in a network of multiple belongings (family, social, ecclesial…) our belonging to Christ, expressed in the vocation we share in the Congregation, takes the first place over all.

 XXIII General Chapter: That They May Have Life

17. Our communities are called to be “places of life” where we find our personal fulfilment (cf CC 12). They are “places of life” when: a) they help us to continually recreate the bonds that nourish our identity and sense of belonging: prayer, dialogue, service, collaboration in the missionary task; b) they are places of welcome, of search for God, of solidarity and of hope.

General Plan of Formation

24. We live the vocation of disciples, followers and apostles in a missionary community. Our community is enriched with a diversity of charisms and ministries: We form a Congregation of priests, deacons, brothers and students who share the same vocation. All of us belong to the same community, fulfill the same mission and, in keeping with our own gift of order and the special role we perform in our Congregation, we all share the same rights and duties deriving from our religious profession

Word of God (Rm 12:4-18)

See, the body is one, even if formed by many members, but not all of them with the same function. The same with us; being many, we are one body in Christ, depending on one another. Let each one of us, therefore, serve according to our different gifts. Are you a prophet? Then give the insights of faith. Let the deacon fulfill his office; let the teacher teach, the one who encourages, convince. You must, likewise, give with an open hand, preside with dedication, and be cheerful in your works of charity. Let love be sincere. Hate what is evil and hold to whatever is good. Love one another and be considerate. Outdo one another in mutual respect. Be zealous in fulfilling your duties. Be fervent in the Spirit and serve God. Have hope and be cheerful. Be patient in trials and pray constantly. Share with other Christians in need. With those passing by, be ready to receive them. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not wish evil on anyone. Rejoice with those who are joyful, and weep with those who weep. Live in peace with one another. Do not dream of extraordinary things; be humble and do not hold yourselves as wise. Do not return evil for evil, but let everyone see your good will. Do your best to live in peace with everybody.

Autobiography of Claret

606. These were the helpers who accompanied me in my apostolic labors amid the thorns and thistles of my diocese. I owe God endless thanks for providing me such good companions. The conduct of all of them was above reproach. They never caused me a moment’s pain; on the contrary, they were all a great comfort to me. All had good dispositions and solid virtue, and they were so detached from worldly cares that they never once spoke or thought of self-interest or honors. Their only concern was for God’s greater glory and the conversion of souls.

607. I had something to learn from all of them because they gave me such a good example in all virtues, especially humility, obedience, fervor, and a constant readiness to work. They gladly set themselves to do whatever I asked, whether it was my commonest request -to go on missions- or something like taking charge of a parish or deanery. It was all the same to them, no matter what I asked them. They never asked for or refused anything or any task whatever.

Constitutions CMF

10. As Jesus Christ is one with the Father and the Spirit, we missionaries should be one with Them, so that the world may come to believe in Christ. We should imitate the communion of life that prevailed among Christ and the Apostles, and among the faithful of the early Church, who were united, heart and soul. Love for God and for our brothers and sisters has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit and builds up our communion. It is the first and most necessary gift which marks us out as true disciples of Christ. Hence our entire missionary life is governed and shaped by this love.

11. As we have all embraced a common calling, so our Congregation embraces all its members and communities. In turn, each of us, while having that readiness of will which befits the universal outreach of our Congregation, shares family life and ministry with his brothers in a local community.

12. Fraternal life is best symbolized and brought to perfection in the Eucharist, which is the sign of unity and the bond of love. Our fraternity is also nourished by prayer, especially liturgical prayer. 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 all these helps we can move forward in missionary community to achieve that personal fullness to which we have been called.

For personal reflection and prayer

  • How is your experience of community life? Write the lights and shadows.
  • How can you improve your engagement in community life? Have you found any call in the Word of God or in the Constitutions?