The Community

An historical perspective may be helpful in understanding what is meant by “Community”. The Holy Spirit has been at work in the Church throughout the centuries, and at certain points has manifested His presence in a specific way. This is the origin of many Monastic Movements such as the Franciscans. The 1960s and 70s saw a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the main line Churches, now referred to as the Charismatic Movement. For the Roman Catholic Church one consequence was the emergence of many different groups, each expressing an emphasis or “charism” of the Holy Spirit. Birthed of the Spirit, these groups have become collectively known as the “New Communities” and have sometimes been described as “a new monasticism but in the world”. St John Paul 11 said of them that they were a sign of the Holy Spirit. Charismatic, and usually lay-led, they take many forms.

The outworking of the call on the Community of Jesus stems from the belief that the basis for our unity in the Church is located in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost on all believers. The Church’s task is to recognize and maintain that unity, not seek to create it. Thus the unity of the Spirit is something the Church has been given and is based on our all sharing in the one Spirit. We are called to walk in the fellowship of the Spirit with all those who have been baptized in that same Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13), whilst working towards the unity of the faith. The Community of Jesus seeks to encourage the different parts of the Body of Christ to discover and walk together in this, through the fostering of friendships, informal meetings and wider gatherings.

Key characteristics of walking the path of unity and reconciliation include a willingness to listen and learn, a dispelling of ignorance, humility, a servant heart, forbearance when there is disagreement, and repentance and forgiveness as the Spirit leads. Experiences are thus both widened and challenged. True friendship and commitment allow and encourage both truthful and courageous exploration. Such a walk is costly. However, as the Church better reflects the unity found in the Trinity, She will have a greater integrity in her witness to the world, and there will be an increased prophetic dimension as She prepares for the Marriage Feast of the Lamb as the One Bride. There will also be a deeper experience of the blessing of the Lord promised to brothers who dwell together in unity.