Living in Community
An important aspect of being a Passionist is community life. Passionist share life under one roof and try to come to terms with our human tendencies to create walls of isolation and individualism. Passionists take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Poverty lead us to hold all possessions in common, chastity, to love everyone so no one is excluded, and obedience, to be ever more attentive to God’s Will than getting our own way. By living in community, Passionists give witness to a way of life that speaks of the Reign of God.
Passionists try to find their personal uniqueness and giftedness in centred on others rather than individualistic. They strive to depend upon the Providence of God for their welfare rather than trusting in personal wealth. They accept the faults, failures and shortcomings of each member with reverence and forgiveness, because they recognize their own limitations and weaknesses. Community life is not about trying to create the perfect society here on earth, but learning how to live with one another with dignity and compassion, given each one’s human frailties.
It is in community life that Passionists experience best a sense of belonging. This sense of belonging is not primarily based upon friendship or personal goodness. Rather, it is based upon the recognition that we belong to one another in a special way because we have committed ourselves to each other by our Passionist vows. The very fact that another person was led by God to vow his life as a Passionist places a special demand upon each Passionist. Each accepts the other as a brother in community and all are required to work out their salvation within the context of community life. The little things of daily life, therefore, become important for community life. Not only do local communities pray and eat together, but they also take time to talk about their life experiences with each other and to make decisions as a community about their future as Passionists. Another aspect of community life is being able to celebrate the joys and milestones of life, taking time to give thanks for blessings received. Community life is all about these things and more.
Community life is not only lived on the local level, but also on other levels as well. Passionists get together in regional meetings and at Province-wide gatherings to celebrate their life and to discuss the important concerns of the day. It means truly caring about what happens in other Passionist local communities and to other Passionists wherever they may be.
As you get to know the vowed and lay Passionists, you will see the formative nature of community life. We hope that these reflections will help you understand the importance and grace of community life for us Passionists.