Even if there are local Salvatorian communities in several countries of the world, we must now find a common path to the future. We are now a Private Association of the Faithful dotted with juridical personality recognized by the dicastery of laity, family, and life at the Vatican. This indicates leaving some fond and cherished practices and taking over and becoming familiar with some new ones. In particular, we need to pay more attention to becoming a true community.
In a true community, it’s not enough to meet on a superficial conversational level, make a little more than small talk, and leave out all the areas that really get to the heart of a person and bring us closer together. True communities have passed 4 phases:
First a phase of Pseudo-community, then the phase of chaos, followed by the phase of emptiness, and the phase of authenticity as the goal at the end of the process. Without going further into details now, it is important to know that every community must be aware of and face this group dynamic process. Otherwise, the groups will remain constantly in the pseudo-community without reaching real depth and true fraternal closeness.1 Avoiding those often painful and hurtful confrontations we would persist in the more side-by-side stage than in a stage of a true common life-sharing. All groups and local communities should feel invited to initiate such a process if they have not already done so.
More information on this topic you will find at our ICDS web-forum
Communication – again
Another very important point within a community is communication. Maybe a smile will appear on your face now, but there is still a lack. Hand on your heart, how much communication and exchange do you have within your local community? You think it is OK. as it is, some will think it’s perfect and good. And how is your communication across the local or even the country border? Do you know some Lay Salvatorians from other units and have a talk with them from time to time, exchanging e-mails or a message? – No, not a wire across the own border?
No fear, you are not alone, many Lay Salvatorians act and think similarly. But is this an attribute of a worldwide Salvatorian community? – You see, there is also a lot to do, on the supra-local level. But communication can’t be done by the members of the GC only. We can support and accompany you, but some things are your responsibility, especially when you need to radiate outside your box. So take a heart, jump over your shadow, don’t let discourage you, and start your supra-local communication. At least from tomorrow on.
1→ M.D. M. Scott Peck: The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace. A spiritual journey toward self-acceptance, true belonging, and new hope for the world. 1998 reprint edition: Touchstone.
This text is the third part from the lecture "Lay Salvatorians in the modern world" by Christian Patzl on the occasion of the retreat "Lay Salvatorians in the modern world" of the Australian Salvatorian Family on Oct., 1st 2022
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