Community June 23
The chapters constitute the heart, the nucleus, and the unifying force of a community (Const. 8.1).
What a declaration! It sounds a bit heretical! Normally, we speak otherwise about the “heart,” the “nucleus” and the “unifying force” in Christian life, don’t we? It’s the Eucharist! But the Constitutions speak differently. In Crosier life, it is the assembly of the confreres that is the defining event—and for well-founded theological reasons. The first effect of the death of Jesus was the reconciliation of all the children of God with God and with one another. Jesus' blood created a fraternity. The first response of the disciples after the Resurrection was to form a community in which all the dimensions of their human life were reorganized: their ways of owning, praying and interacting with the world. The priority was the fraternity. Jesus himself, in talking about an act of prayer at the altar, taught clearly: prayer (Eucharist?) is secondary to the dynamics of fraternal love. If the fraternal life is not in order, the prayer needs to be interrupted to obey first the command to love. The Final Judgment will be made on the criteria of love. This is why the Constitutions "canonize" the assembly (the “chapter”). It is only from a chapter in solidarity that real Eucharistic celebration flows.
It's by joining together that coals burn; it's in separating that they go out. (African proverb)