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On Being a People of Communion
“Love is to will the good of another” St. Thomas Aquinas
A Presentation on authentic Friendship
On Being People of Communion made One in the Eucharist: Source & Summit of Christian Life
For many youth and young adults who actively participated in intentional communities such as youth groups and college ministries, what endures beyond the events, emotional and spiritual ‘highs’, and accolades is friendship in its truest form. Adults discover this same and unique experience of relationship in parish small groups, retreats, bible study groups and ministries. Although not all have the ideal experience, the many do discover that true friends share in each other’s joys and support one another through challenging times; they help each other grow in emotional and intellectual maturity, faith, virtue, knowledge of self and understanding of ‘the other’. They help each other to become that which they were made to be, men and women of communion.
This “personal identity that is at once an orientation to the other is founded essentially on the Trinity of divine Persons. God is not a solitary being, but a communion of three Persons… no person is as such alone in the universe but is always constituted with others and is summoned to form a community with them. Pgh 41 ITC Communion and stewardship: Human persons created in the image of God
What distinguishes this Christian experience from others is that the Christian experience is rooted in affirmation of the nature of the human person, as created by God in the image and likeness of God. It therefore holds up the choice to love as charity, which is virtue, and aims for authentic self-gift, to love by willing the good of the other. If a so-called Christian intentional community is not so rooted, it becomes merely another social grouping of like-minded folks unattached to universal truth and subject to change relative to the thoughts, opinions and feelings of the group or the group’s leaders. Conversely, any non-religious group in which it is possible for the participants to experience something akin to the authentic Christian experience, do so because of adherence to fundamental truths of the nature of the human person and found most fully revealed in Christianity.
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Solemnity of Christ the King
Today the Church is reminding us that we have been created for something greater than passing comforts, empty pleasures, superficial popularity, and earthly achievements. We all want our lives to matter, to make a lasting difference in this world, not just a passing difference, a little scratch on the surface. But do we all want to live fully and faithfully under Christ's rule, firmly entrusting our lives into his care so that we can all reach our God given potential to make the world a better place, living in the imitation of Christ the King, experience fulfillment of purpose and the interior peace that follows.
Jesus came to inaugurate among us the Kingdom of God. It is he himself who embodies the whole vision of the Kingdom by the way he lived, spoke, worked, taught, healed, liberated, and finally sacrificed his life in love for us. He is our model, the one we are to imitate. There is no other who so completely reveals to us the truth of who we are and who we were made to become.
Colossians tells us that before all, he existed, and it is he holds it all together, sustains and supports the unity of creation. In him, we gain our freedom, through the forgiveness of our sins. By him who frees us from the power of darkness, we are brought into his Kingdom to live freely what we now see clearly is our true identity. It is in him, the first-born of all creation that we see the image of the unseen God and ourselves.
Yet, we find it so difficult to remain free and faithful. We are all too willing to hide who we are, what we believe and find that too easily we cede our influence to the knowing and the ignorant minions of the enemy. Bombarded by media messages that tell us to keep our religion to ourselves and out of the public square we effectively allow the world to be ruled by the shadow masters. If we truly believe that Christ is the Savior, that there really is one God who created us and redeemed us, we should not be afraid to bring that faith to action in the society around us. If we don't, others will fill the void.
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Fr. Blair Gaynes has been in the Diocese since 2008.