The apostolic community
A warm greeting of missionary life to all of you!
My name is Cecilio Alberto Eseverri Laspalas and at this time I am Vicar General of the Congregation.
I would like to structure this presentation in three points:
- Article 1: The Community itself, (Const. 21 and 22)
- Article 2: The presence of Christ in the Community (Const. 23, 24, 25)
First and foremost, I would like to thank you for presenting our Constitutions in an open and public way, since, more than being “the best secret kept” by all redemptorist consecrated, they are also a spiritual jewel for everyone, for the Consecrated Life and for the Church.
Today, we start with Chapter II of our Constitutions: THE APOSTOLIC COMMUNITY. It is a true community; but in these constitutions, which we are referring today to, article 2 (“the presence of Christ in the Community”) should be the main and central aspect of our mission and community life.
First of all, let me underline 2 essential aspects of the redemptorist identity:
- The Apostolic Life of redemptorists. Constitution 1, in its last paragraph, says: “the apostolic life, which comprises at one and the same time a life specially dedicated to God and a life of missionary work” not just one of them, but both.
- Article 3 of Chapter III says: “The mission is unifying their whole life”
And regarding to our today’s subject:
- The Apostolic Community for redemptorists is the basis of our mission and not the other way around.
- The Apostolic Community is an evangelizer itself.
Art. 1: The community itself, (Const. 21-22):
- Const. 21: Mission and life in community: “to fulfil their mission in the Church, redemptorists perform their missionary work as a community”. Therefore, “an essential law of life for the redemptorist is that they live in community and carry out their apostolic work through community”. Mission and life should be decided and performed in community.
- The third paragraph was requested by the Congregation for Religious. It points out the spiritual and juridical aspects of the community: “Community does not truly exist when members merely live together; it requires also a genuine sharing on the human and spiritual level”.
- Const. 22: Community is to serve the mission. It has its beginnings in the first Christian communities (Act 2, 42-45): “Concrete forms of this community life are to be set up to meet the demands of evangelization”.
- Life and mission in a local community is the norm, but it is also accepted in special cases, and under particular circumstances, temporarily, with the consent of the Superior and its Council. This would be a “personal community”.
This does not justify an individualist mission, neither does the attitude of those who are physically living in a community and do not participate in the mission and life of the community.
- From the inception of the Congregation, St. Alphonsus understood community in the service of mission: the location of the houses, the chapel near the entrance to the house, and so on.
Art. 2: The presence of Christ in the Community (Const. 23, 24, 25):
These constitutions are the heart of this chapter. They are based on the salvific mystery of the Most Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Therefore, in our apostolic community and in each confrere, if Jesus Christ is not the centre of our mission and life, who or what is going to take that place?
- Const. 23: Christ as the center of our life: so that mission and life of the community is based on the very same life of Christ. Communion with Christ and Mission with Christ are the same reality.
- Const. 24: The spirit of contemplation is necessary to go deeper into the feelings and mystery of Christ and the Father. That way, the second paragraph remarks discernment as an indispensable way to discover in life those “Kairos” of the Redeemer. Through this, it looks as if everything is orientated towards the Father.
- Const. 25: The presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit is essential in redemptorists’ life and mission. The Holy Spirit is constantly acting in us in order to conform us with Christ. Being conformed to Jesus we can have His own same feelings and share His same way of thinking. He drives us inwardly to the apostolic acting, according to our charismas, so that we can look at everything and everyone through God’s eyes.
Author: Cecilio Alberto Eseverri Laspalas CSsR
Translation: Carlos Alfonso Diego Gutierrez CSsR