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The life of moses offers many insights to nations and religions

The love of Christ has gathered a great number of disciples to become one, so that, like him and thanks to him, in the Spirit, they might, throughout the centuries, be able to respond to the love of the Father, loving him "with all their hearts, with all their soul, with all their might" cf. Among these disciples, those gathered together in religious communities, women and men "from every nation, from all the life of moses offers many insights to nations and religions and peoples and tongues" Rev.

Born not "of the will of the flesh", nor from personal attraction, nor from human motives, but "from God" Jn. In view of the relevance of religious communities for the life and holiness of the Church, it is important to examine the lived experience of today's religious communities, whether monastic and contemplative or dedicated to apostolic activity, each according to its own specific character.

All that is said here about religious communities applies also to communities in societies of apostolic life, bearing in mind their specific character and proper legislation.

These transformations, as well as the hopes and disappointments which have accompanied them, and continue to do so, require reflection in light of the Second Vatican Council. The transformations have led to positive results, but also to results which are questionable. They have put into a clearer light not a few Gospel values, thus giving new vitality to religious community, but they have also given rise to questions by obscuring some elements characteristic of this same fraternal life lived in community.

In some places, it seems that religious community has lost its relevance in the eyes of women and men religious and is, perhaps, no longer an ideal to be pursued. With the serenity and urgency characteristic of those who seek the Lord, many communities have sought to evaluate this transformation, so that they might better fulfil their proper vocation in the midst of the People of God.

Where the encounter with these sources and with the originating inspiration has been partial or weak, fraternal life has run risks and suffered a certain loss of tone. The values and counter-values which ferment within an epoch or a cultural setting, and the social structures which manifest them, impinge on everyone, including the Church and its religious communities.

Religious communities either constitute an evangelical leaven within society, announce the Good News in the midst of the world, the here and now proclamation of the heavenly Jerusalem, or else they succumb by decline quickly or slowly, simply because they have conformed to the world. For this reason, a reflection and new proposals on "fraternal life in common" must take this existential framework into account.

The Second Vatican Council, as an event of grace and the greatest expression of the Church's pastoral guidance in this century, has had a decisive influence on religious life; not only by virtue of the Decree Perfectae Caritatis, which is dedicated to it, but also by virtue of the Council's ecclesiology, and each of its documents.

For all these reasons, this document, before addressing its topic directly, begins with an overview of the changes encountered in the settings which have more immediately affected the quality of fraternal life and its ways of being lived in the various religious communities.

The Second Vatican Council contributed greatly to a re-evaluation of "fraternal life in common" and to a renewed vision of religious community.

  • It is precisely this freedom and this maturity which allow us to live out our affectivity correctly, both inside and outside the community;
  • The Hebrews never saw him again, and the circumstances of his death and burial remain shrouded in mystery;
  • The publication of newsletters and internal periodicals is more widespread;
  • In many communities, the climate of life in common has improved;
  • The lesson to be learned from the story of Solomon is that leaders who become preoccupied with self-aggrandizement, rather than serving the people, will ultimately fail.

More than any other factor, it is the development of ecclesiology which has affected the evolution of our understanding of religious community. Vatican II affirmed that religious life belongs "undeniably" inconcusse to the life and holiness of the Church and placed religious life at the very heart of the Church's mystery of communion and holiness.

From this, several consequences follow: Much more deeply, it is a participation in and qualified witness of the Church-Mystery, since it is a living expression and privileged fulfilment of its own particular "communion", of the great Trinitarian "koinonia", in which the Father has willed that men and women have part in the Son and in the Holy Spirit.

For this very reason, it has as its commitment and mission, which cannot be renounced, both to be and to be seen to be a living organism of intense fraternal communion, a sign and stimulus for all the baptised. It is part of the organic communion of the whole Church, which is continuously enriched by the Spirit with a variety of ministries and charisms.

In practice, the members of a religious community are seen to be bound by a common calling from God in continuity with the foundational charism, by a characteristically common ecclesial consecration, and by a common response in sharing that "experience of the Spirit" lived and handed on by the founder and in his or her mission within the Church.

Religious community exists for the Church, to signify her and enrich her, 7 to render her better able to carry out her mission. Fraternal life in common, as an expression of the union effected by God's love, in addition to being an essential witness for evangelization, has great significance for apostolic activity and for its ultimate purpose.

It is from this that the fraternal communion of religious community derives its vigour as sign and instrument. In fact, fraternal communion is at both the beginning and the end of apostolate.

The Magisterium, since the time of the Council, has deepened and enriched the renewed vision of religious community with fresh insights. The Code of Canon Law 1983 specifies and defines the Council's determinations concerning community life. When it speaks of "common life", it is necessary to distinguish clearly two aspects. While the 1917 Code 9 could have given the impression of concentrating on exterior elements and uniformity of life-style, Vatican II 10 and the new Code 11 insist explicitly on the spiritual dimension and on the bond of fraternity which must unite all members in charity.

The new Code has synthesised these two elements in speaking of "living a fraternal life in common". It underlines "communion of life" and interpersonal relationships; 13 - the other, more visible: Development within society 4. Society is in constant evolution and men and women religious, who are not of the world, but who nevertheless live in the world, are subject to its influence.

Here we will mention only some aspects which have had a direct impact on religious life in general and on religious community in particular. Local Churches have reacted actively in the face of these developments. Above all in Latin America, through the general assemblies of the Latin American episcopate at Medellin, Puebla, and Santo Domingo, the "evangelical and preferential option for the poor" 18 has been strongly emphasised, and has led to a new emphasis on social commitment. Religious communities have been profoundly affected by this; many were led to rethink their presence in society, in view of more direct service to the poor, sometimes even through insertion among the poor.

This is my site for World Religions

The overwhelming increase of suffering on the outskirts of large cities and the impoverishment of rural areas have hastened the "repositioning" of a considerable number of religious communities towards these poorer areas. Everywhere, there is the challenge of inculturation. Cultures, traditions, and the mentality of a particular country all have an impact on the way fraternal life is lived in religious communities.

Moreover, movements of large-scale migration in recent years have raised the problem of the co-existence of different cultures, and the problem of racist reactions. All of these issues also have repercussions on pluri-cultural and multi-racial religious communities, which are becoming increasingly common.

In the immediate wake of the Council, this process, especially in the west, quickened and was marked by moments of calling meetings about everything and rejection of authority. The Church and religious life were not immune from such questioning of authority, with significant repercussions for community life as well. A one-sided and exasperated stress on freedom contributed to the spread of a culture of individualism throughout the west, thus weakening the ideal of life in common and commitment to community projects.

We also observe other reactions which were equally one-sided, such as flight into safely authoritarian projects, based on blind faith in a reassuring leader.

  • Religious community and personal growth 35;
  • If they do, they can be welcomed;
  • My father chastised you with sticks; I shall chastise you with scorpions!

These factors have severely tested the ability of some religious communities to "resist evil" but they have also given rise to new styles of personal and community life which are a clear evangelical testimony for our world. All of this has been a challenge, a call to live the evangelical counsels with more vigour, and this has helped support the witness of the wider Christian community.

Changes in religious life 5. In recent years, there have been changes which have profoundly affected religious communities. In many countries, increased state programmes in areas in which religious have traditionally been active -- such as social service, education, and health -- together with the decrease in vocations, have resulted in a diminished presence of religious in works which used to be typically those of apostolic institutes.

Thus, there is a shrinking of large religious communities at the service of visible works which characterised various institutes for many years. This is accompanied, in some regions, by a preference for smaller communities composed of religious who are active in works not belonging to the institute, even though they are often in line with the charism of that institute.

This has a significant impact on the style of their common life and requires a change in traditional rhythms. Sometimes the sincere desire to serve the Church and attachment to the institute's works, combined with urgent requests from the particular Church, can easily bring religious to take on too much work, thus leaving less time for common life.

This, however, has also made evident the need for changes in the traditional profile of religious communities, which are deemed, by some, to be inadequate for coping with the new situations. This was followed immediately by a sharpened sense of community, understood as fraternal life built more on the quality of interpersonal relationships than on the formal aspects of regular observance.

Here or there, these accents were radicalised giving rise to the opposing tendencies of individualism and communitarianismsometimes without coming to a satisfactory balance. This has led to a different way of approaching problems, through community dialogue, co-responsibility and subsidiarity.

All members became involved in the problems of the community. This greatly affected interpersonal relationships and, in turn, affected the way authority is perceived. In not a few cases, authority the life of moses offers many insights to nations and religions encountered practical difficulties in finding its true place within the new context.

The combination of changes and tendencies mentioned has affected the character of religious communities in a profound way but also in ways that must be differentiated.

The historical problem

The differentiations, sometimes rather notable, depend, as can be easily understood, on the diversity of cultures and continents, on whether the communities are of men or of women, on the kind of religious life and the kind of institute, on the different activities and the degree of commitment to re-read and reclaim the charism of the founder, on the different ways of standing before society and the Church, on different ways of receiving the values proposed by the Council, on different traditions and ways of common life, and on various ways of exercising authority and promoting the renewal of permanent formation.

These problematic settings are only partially common to all; rather they tend to differ from community to community. Objectives of the document 6.

In light of these new situations, the purpose of this document is, above all, to support the efforts made by many communities of religious, both men and women, to improve the quality of their fraternal life. This will be done by offering some criteria of discernment, in view of authentic evangelical renewal. This document also intends to offer reasons for reflection to those who have distanced themselves from the community ideal, so that they may give serious consideration again to the need for fraternal life in common for those consecrated to the Lord in a religious institute or incorporated in a society of apostolic life.

For this purpose, the document is structured as follows: You shall be my people and I will be your God" Ez.

Before being a human construction, religious community is a gift of the Spirit. It is the love of God, poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, from which religious community takes its origin and is built as a true family gathered together in the Lord's name. The Church as communion 9.

In creating man and woman in his own image and likeness, God created them for communion. God's plan was compromised through sin, which sundered every kind of relationship: In his great love, the Father sent his Son, the new Adam, to reconstitute all creation and bring it to full unity.

When he came among us, he established the beginning of the new People of God, calling to himself apostles and disciples, men and women -- a living parable of the human family gathered together in unity. He announced to them universal fraternity in the Father, who made us his intimates, his children, and brothers and sisters among ourselves.

In this way he taught equality in fraternity and reconciliation in forgiveness. He overturned the relationships of power and domination, himself giving the example of how to serve and choose the last place.

Historical views of Moses

During the Last Supper, he entrusted to them the new commandment of mutual love: Then he turned to the Father asking, as a synthesis of his desires, for the unity of all, modelled on the Trinitarian unity: Entrusting himself then to the Father's will, he achieved in the paschal mystery that unity which he had taught his disciples to live and which he had asked of the Father.

By his death on the cross, he destroyed the barrier that separated peoples, reconciling us all in unity cf. By this, he taught us that communion and unity are the fruit of sharing in the mystery of His death. The coming of the Holy Spirit, first gift to believers, brought about the unity willed by Christ.

Poured out on the disciples gathered in the Upper Room with Mary, the Spirit gave visibility to the Church, which, from the very first moment, is characterised as fraternity and communion in the unity of one heart and one soul cf. This communion is the bond of charity which joins among themselves all the members of the same Body of Christ, and the Body with its Head.

The same life-giving presence of the Holy Spirit 22 builds in Christ organic cohesion: Along her path through history, she has become increasingly conscious of being the People and family of God, the Body of Christ, Temple of the Spirit, Sacrament of the intimate union of the human race, communion, icon of the Trinity.

The Second Vatican Council has brought out, perhaps as never before, this mysterious and "communional" dimension of the Church.

Religious community as expression of ecclesial communion 10. From the very beginning, consecrated life has cultivated this intimate nature of Christianity. In fact, the religious community has felt itself to be in continuity with the group of those who followed Jesus. He had called them personally, one by one, to live in communion with himself and with the other disciples, to share his life and his destiny cf.