Here are the words from the Lord that we received during our Community meetings in 2016.
On October 28th, the Community celebrated its 32nd Anniversary with a dinner at the Holy Family Spiritual Renewal Center. In conjunction with the anniversary celebration, the Community held its triennial General Assembly, during which the covenanted members re-elected Jim Gialanella as Community Coordinator for another 3-year term. Fr Leo McKernan, the Community’s Spiritual Advisor, was present.
Click here for the words from the Lord that we received during our Community General Gatherings during 2015.
Here are the music and word gifts from our Community General Gathering on December 8th:
- O Come O Come Emmanuel
- Make Way
- Exodus XV (I shall Prepare Him my heart)
- Draw Me Closer
- Forever Grateful
Luke 11:33-36 “One who lights a lamp does not put it in the cellar or under a bushel basket, but rather on a lamp stand, so that they who come in may see the light. The eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyesight is sound, your whole body is lighted up, but when your eyesight is bad, your body is in darkness. If your whole body is lighted up and not partly in darkness it will be as fully illuminated as when a lamp shines brightly for you.”
“Love is the answer. I have shared it with you and I want it to penetrate into you more. Don’t seek other ways and other things. Seek only my will. Be filled more with my love. Don’t be satisfied with being lamp stands, but be beacons of my overflowing light.”
II Corinthians 7:1 “Since we have these promises, beloved let us purify ourselves from every defilement of flesh and spirit, and in the fear of God strive to fulfill our consecration perfectly.”
Isaiah 49:1-6 “Hear me O coastlands, listen O distant peoples. The Lord called me from birth, from my mother’s womb he gave me my name. He made me a sharp edged sword and concealed me in the shadow of His arm. He made me a polished arrow, in His quiver He hid me. You are my servant He said to me, Israel, through whom I show my glory. Though I thought I had toiled in vein, and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength. Yet my reward is with the Lord, my recompense is with my God. For now the Lord has spoken who formed me as His servant from the womb, that Jacob may be brought back to Him and Israel gathered to Him; and I am made glorious in the sight of the Lord, and my God is now my strength! It is too little He says for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make you a light to the nations, and that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”
Jeremiah 1:5-7 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you. ‘Ah, Lord God,’ I said. ‘I know not how to speak, I am too young.’ But the Lord answered me, ‘Say not I am too young. To whomever I send you, you shall go; whatever I command you, you shall speak.”
Psalm 119:105 “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”
“Walk in glory as opposed to what may appear as walking with good plans. My signs and wonders will make you glorious in the sight of the Lord.”
“Be part of the light. Work in the light, work for the light. Make truth your aim in all circumstances. Recognize the source of darkness. When darkness appears and you don’t know the source, such as fire or water or wind, gather together and prepare for danger, physical storm. Simplify your lives. Prepare for fight or flight. Make ready your mind your heart and your body. Think always of my ways, my inclinations, my effect for your lives and others. You must be a strong light for the Church of Jesus. Pray and work on your faults so nothing may hamper your beacon of light.”
Closing song: “O Come Let Us Adore Him.”
In Chapter Two of Volume Two of Sober Intoxication of the Spirit, Fr Cantalamessa presents the following perspective on the place of prayer groups, communities and the charismatic renewal in the Church (pp. 29-31):
I have asked myself sometimes what in some of the prayer groups and budding communities that are rising up here and there in the charismatic renewal pleases Jesus so much that he would manifest so much power and so many wonders in them. It seemed to me that the secret of what makes them so precious to God is their absolute poverty, the fact that they have no past and hardly any future. They are almost a “nothing,” like certain life forms that appear in the morning and disappear in the evening, reabsorbed into the great bosom of life, or like a little cloud that calmly disappears from the sky after having poured out all its water.
Traditional religious orders have a past, often a glorious one; recent ones (lay institutes; ecclesial movements) have a future and are sometimes very aware of it. God is looking for something very, very small among so many grand and established groups (which do please him and are useful to him), something that he can take just as it is, without having to be concerned about its past or its future. He is looking for something that will be useful to him, for an instant, something unencumbered that wants nothing and asks for nothing in return for pleasing God and for making his power and his wishes shine forth in the world.
Do we want to be that small thing that is precious to God? Do we want to be that instrument of “nothing” in his omnipotent hand? Then, let us not worry about “setting up house”; let us not worry about assuring that the charismatic renewal has a future among today’s ecclesial realities; let us not worry about numbers.
Let it be enough for us that the future of the Church is already assured. Let the Church be enough for us, as institution. For our part, let us try, if we can, to remain prophetic for the Church, even if it is only in small measure. Let us continue to draw directly from the Church, especially from the local Church, all that is necessary to live a life of the Spirit — sacraments, authority, ministries, and doctrine. Let us continue to pour out all that we are, even though we are small, directly into the bosom of life that is the Church — quietly or also openly, if it is possible and if it is requested. Let us try to be that little cloud, ready to disappear, after it has poured out all its water on the Church.
I had hardly come into contact with the charismatic renewal when, one day in prayer, I was struck with certain thoughts. I seemed to sense the new thing the Lord was doing in the Church through the charismatic renewal. I took a sheet of paper and a pen and wrote down some thoughts, which surprised me, as they came without premeditation:
The Father wants to glorify the Son, Jesus Christ, on earth in a new way, through a new intervention. The Holy Spirit is appointed to carry out this glorification because it is written: “He will glorify me and take that which is mine.” A Christian life entirely consecrated to God, without a founder, without a rule, and without new congregations. The Founder: Jesus! The Rule: the gospel interpreted by the Holy Spirit! The Congregation: the Church! Do not worry about tomorrow, do not try to make something that will remain, and do not set in motion recognized organizations that can be perpetuated by successors….Jesus is a Founder who never dies, so there is no need for successors. We always need to let him do new things, even tomorrow. The Holy Spirit will remain in the Church, even tomorrow!
In his Ash Wednesday General Audience address this past week, our Holy Father described Lent as follows:
Lent is a journey; it is to accompany Jesus who goes up to Jerusalem, the place of the fulfillment of the mystery of his passion, death and resurrection; it reminds us that the Christian life is a “journey” to undertake, which consists not so much in a law to be observed but in the very person of Christ, who we must encounter, receive and follow.
We should see life in covenant community in much the same way: a journey that leads us to a continually deepening encounter with “the very person of Christ.” Sometimes we give disordered importance to our statutes and agreements as “a law to be observed.” Perhaps we have a lower opinion of those who fail to fulfill that ‘law’. Our own relationship with Jesus should lead us to love our brethren, to be merciful to them (as our Heavenly Father is merciful), to pray for them. In this way, we will all experience a deeper encounter with the very person of Christ.
As I sat in a meeting several days ago, gazing at those assembled, contemplating the face of Christ in the face of each of the participants, I recalled one of the most profound insights I’ve ever heard, which came from Fr Franco Lever:
…genuine communication [is] measured not by the efficacy with which one interlocutor can influence another but by the richness of the encounter.
The richness of the encounter…
We should judge our many meetings by this criteria, rather than determining their efficacy by accomplishment, productivity, task-generation, or the level of acceptance of our contribution. The truly humble person will listen intently during meetings without simultaneously calculating a judgment or response. It often is — but should not be — uncomfortable when there are brief periods of silence while the group takes time to consider what has been shared. Meetings should include a reasonable amount of verbal affirmation, but often don’t. People should be allowed to contribute, not be rushed because of an agenda.
Can you think of other elements that would enrich our meeting encounters, and contribute to “genuine communication?”
From a message of soon-to-be-Blessed Pope John Paul II in the latter
weeks of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000:
7. Participation of the lay faithful in the life and mission of the Church is expressed and supported by various associations, many of which are represented at this congress. Especially in our times, they represent an important means for deeper Christian formation and more effective apostolic activity. The Second Vatican Council says: “Associations are not ends in themselves; they are meant to be of service to the Church’s mission to the world. Their apostolic value depends on their conformity with the Church’s aims, as well as on the Christian witness and evangelical spirit of each of their members and of the association as a whole” (Apostolicam actuositatem, n. 19)……
Today we can speak of a “new era of group endeavors of the lay faithful”. It is one of the fruits of the Second Vatican Council. Along with the associations with a long and praiseworthy tradition, we observe a vigorous and diversified flourishing of ecclesial movements and new communities. This gift of the Holy Spirit is another sign of how God always finds appropriate and timely responses to the challenges posed to faith and to the Church in every historical era. Here too we must thank the associations, movements and ecclesial groups for their work in Christian formation and for the missionary enthusiasm they continue to bring to the Church.
…I invoke upon everyone the protection of Mary, Queen of Apostles and Star of the new evangelization.
Yesterday Pope Benedict XVI met with members of the Emmanuel Community centered in France (not to be confused with the Emmanuel Community in Brisbane, Australia). Several lines in his address seems like they would apply to all Communities:
In particular I invite your community to live a genuine communion among its members. I encourage you therefore to deepen your spiritual life giving an essential place to your personal encounter with Christ, the Emmanuel, God-with-us, so that you will allow yourselves to be transformed by him and have the passionate desire of the mission mature in you. In the Eucharist you find the source of all your commitments in the following of Christ and in his adoration you purify your look on the life of the world.
This communion, which is not simply human solidarity among members of the same spiritual family, is based on your relationship with Christ and on a common commitment to serve him. The community life you wish to develop, in respect of the state of life of each one, will be, hence, a living testimony for society of the fraternal love that must animate all human relations.
We must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works.
Father didn’t refer to this verse at all in his homily, but it really grabbed my attention that evening, and I’ve been allowing it to steep in my heart for the past few days.
I appreciate the use of the word “rouse.” The RSV uses “stir up” and the KJV uses “provoke.”
My reflection on this verse has led me first of all to personal repentance. I am not always open to being ‘roused’ by someone else. I’ll surely hear the Holy Spirit rousing me when necessary, right?…Wrong! I’m already doing plenty of loving and good works, so they should be rousing those who are really slacking, right?…Wrong! Those attitudes indicate an immaturity regarding community relationships. I need to be more receptive.
I’ve also been led to a thankfulness for those who have the courage to do the rousing. I appreciate their willingness to respond to the Holy Spirit in this way. This rousing is a charismatic gift (a type of exhortation, or possibly even prophecy), and I should be grateful that someone is exercising that gift to build up the Body of Christ. When I have been roused by a sister or brother, I should express my gratitude to them.
If I have been roused to some deeper love or good work, and it has produced good fruit in some tangible way, I should be eager to give testimony. I need to recall these instances to build my own faith, and share them to help build the faith of others.
This Scripture verse encourages us to “consider HOW to rouse one another…” Perhaps this is something that could be discussed or taught in a Community setting.
I’d enjoy hearing your ideas on this topic. Feel free to leave a Comment to this post.
At this link, you can view the talks from the Catholic Fraternity North American Regional Leaders’ Conference.