Thursday, October 05, 2006

Communion and Mission

Wednesday afternoon Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, Superior-General of the Society of Jesus, spoke to members of boards of Jesuit-sponsored institutions in northeastern Ohio. Fr. Kolvenbach reiterated that the laity--who people these boards in the main--are collaborators with the Jesuits. They are important, not because of any reduced numbers of Jesuits, but of their own participation in the communion and mission of the Church. A word about communion and mission.

Communion: The diversity of the laity cannot be minimized. Diversity does not oppose union, unity, communion. St. Paul used the image of citizens:
So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone. Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord; in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit (Ephesians 2. 19-22).
Mission: The universal vocation of Christians is to introduce Christ to others by the ways they live. The Second Vatican Council echoed Jesus' image of leaven.
They are called [where they live in the ordinary circumstances of family and social life] by God that by exercising their proper function and led by the spirit of the Gospel they may work for the sanctification of the world from within as a leaven. In this way they may make Christ known to others, especially by the testimony of a life resplendent in faith, hope and charity (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 31).

The Society of Jesus remains keenly aware that this season of the church is the season of the laity. The Society of Jesus, touching humanity by means of its diverse apostolic works, affords people many opportunities to be leaven and to sanctify the world in, through and for Christ. Yesterday afternoon at John Carroll University, Fr. Kolvenbach thanked a number of Jesuit collaborators in leadership roles in his name and the name of the entire Society of Jesus.

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