Precious Blood Family arrived today and this article is found in the March-April Issue
God has willed to make us holy and to save us, not as individuals without any bond or link between us, but rather to make us into a people who might acknowledge and serve God in holiness.(1) We are called, not simply as individuals but as a people, to be sign and instrument(2) of the work of God in this world, not only in the past, in history, but also in this time and place. Before any other description of our basic attributes or qualities, the communal nature of the church is placed before us a basic presupposition.
For what purpose are we in the community? To cooperate with the great designs of divine Providence in the sanctification of ourselves and others; to be united in the bond of charity, and to imitate more closely the life of Jesus Christ. (3)
St. Gaspar would remind us often that the community should gather each month. He would make sure that we were not to work alone on a mission but to cooperate with others. This was to be the school of charity as it was in other communities, but Gaspar also saw the community as the bulwark against any assaults of the evil one.
He never thought of himself as working alone. He always thought of himself as part of a community. Bonnani, Albertini, Cristaldi, and others are always mentioned as being among his closest co-workers. (4) In telling the stories of the early missions and retreats one hears of several missionaries working together with brothers in service, and even selected laity. The effects or fruits of the mission were maintained by seeking out suitable people among the laity who could continue these associations that were begun by the mission. And in advising his missionaries, he would always remind us not to trust in our own thinking alone, but to work together with others for the common good. “Clinging to one's own opinions and rejecting the advice of others” was one of the things that Gaspar assigned to the “miserable condition” of us humans.
God has no need of people in his work; we are the ones who reap benefits from his Society. The Lord will multiply his gifts for those who remain and it will be sufficient that on our part we do what is required of us. In addition to that, through prayer, let us place it in God’s hands, and let us never cease to take counsel with one another as the opportunities arise. Let us surrender our own will in all things and we shall have died to ourselves. (5)
The scriptures themselves call us to a common life. This is not just the property of religious and clergy but something common to all the faithful who believed together and had all things in common.(6) We live the legacy of Gaspar in contrast to the self-reliance, self-assertion, self-expression and self-centeredness that is the hallmark of our age and central among our national values.
What a good fortune for us to live in community where the fulfillment of our sacred duties is, without doubt, facilitated in its execution, along with our individual association with an Institute which is promoting so much good work to the glory of the Lord! (7)
1) Lumen Gentium, p. 359
2) Lumen Gentium, art.9 par.2, p.360
3) Eleventh Circular Letter
4) "Historical Sketches of the C.PP.S.," Andrew Pollack, C.PP.S.
5) Letter 1638
6) Acts 2:42-47
7) Letter 1479