The Church is a herald of a united world, a mystery of communion in love, a mystery that mirrors in a certain way the eternal communion that is God himself. The Church is a people that draws its unity from the unity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

After the Second Vatican Council, this new way of being Church changed the face of many Christian communities. A new vigor was found. The liturgical reform has been the most immediate and visible manifestation of it, but other innovations were no less important, such as the creation of organisms to facilitate participation at all levels of the ecclesial framework — synods, presbyterial councils and parish councils.

It was not enough, however, to multiply meetings and modify the expressions of the Eucharistic celebrations in order to transform the Church into a family worthy of this name. Without a true spirit of communion, these external means would serve very little. They would become mechanisms without a soul, “masks of communion” as St. Pope John Paul II said, rather than its means of expression and growth.

One the great values of John Paul II’s Apostolic letter, Novo Millennio Ineunte, is that of making the Church more aware of the need for an authentic spirit of communion so as to be that Christian community desired by the Council. The new commandment of Jesus, reciprocal love, is the focal point of this new spirituality of communion. It is characteristic of true followers of Christ; it is the cement needed to build a house with isolated and detached rocks.

A spirituality of communion invites us to put mutual and constant love before all Church activities in order to render them truly Christian and fruitful. According to St. Therese of Lisieux, love is the heart of the Church. And perhaps reciprocal love is its most complete expression. To make the Church “a home and school of communion” is the great challenge facing us this millennium, if we want to be faithful to God’s plan and to answer the world’s deepest hopes.

All Christians have the responsibility of building that masterpiece of love and unity that every parish, every movement, every part of the Church should be. All are called to become instruments of communion. In this common undertaking, each one’s contribution is irreplaceable. The key is to love — which means to serve concretely — every neighbor wherever they are, and to do so with joy so that our ecclesial communities may become real and true families.

By: Michele Vandelene

Source: Called to Be Community, Living City, Second Edition 2018