When John Paul II spoke about the communio personarum, he spoke about man imaging God through a communion of persons, not just individually. He wrote:
“Man became the image of God not only through his own humanity, but also through the communion of persons…He is, in fact,’from the beginning’ not only an image in which the solitude of one Person, who rules the world, mirrors itself, but also and essentially the image of an inscrutable divine communion of persons” (TOB, 9:3).This idea that man images God through a communion of persons is somewhat revolutionary in our understanding of what it means to be human. If this is true, then there can be no personal sin. All sin affects the Body of Christ, and moreover, each sin actually affects each and every person. If we love through a communion of persons, then why wouldn’t the opposite of love work the same way? Why wouldn’t our lust, even if it seems to be personal affect more than just ourselves?
Imagine this: a guy looks at pornography as a teenager. When he gets to college, those images are still in his head (just ask any psychologist). He imagines that his interactions with women are built around how he saw women in the pornographic images from high school. He gets out of college and gets married, and he quickly learns that his wife is not like those women from the magazines. In this example, we can see that what society would call a personal matter, i.e. pornography, actually affects this man’s understanding of women in college as well as his wife. Now, I can bet you that his wife doesn’t want to be objectified like those women in the magazines or on the Internet allow themselves to be. Thus, we can see how his “personal sin” is not personal at all but actually affects many of his relationships with women.
In the same sense, we can see the opposite affect. Hopefully, with our community this summer, we’ll see the love of God working through a communio personarum. Hopefully, we’ll be able to see a gift of ourselves to the other walkers. Hopefully, we’ll be able to appropriately image the inner-life of the Trinity through our interactions with one another. Please pray for us that as we move from training to the walk that we’ll be able to really live out the idea of the gift of self, and that we’ll best be able to become a communion of persons.