Sunday, June 10, 2007

Communio Personarum

It is amazing how quickly things progress. Just a week ago, I was picking up Ren from the train station in Baltimore and waiting for the rest of the walkers to come in that night. And here we are, having moved from Washington, DC, to Lancaster, PA, to Brooklyn, NY, and finally to outside St. Johnsbury, VT. All in a week. Training has been amazing, getting to know each other more and learn more about ourselves and the Lord. The amount of community that we’ve established so quickly has been wonderful. It probably was all those dinners that people made for us where we were able to sit and get to know one another. Thanks to all those who have helped us establish a better understanding of what Pope John Paul the Great called the communio personarum – the communion of persons.

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.

2 comments:

Michael & Kara said...

Hooray MOEs! Good luck on the road. Be safe. We're praying for you guys.

In Christ,
-M&K

Anonymous said...

The fuck?

Who we are?

Every summer we, the Missionaries of the Eucharist, are walking from Lewiston, Maine to Washington, DC to proclaim the beauty of the Catholic faith to everyone we meet, specifically through the Theology of the Body.

Conversion begins in our own hearts,which is why prayer is so important to our ministry. For this reason, everyday of our ten week walk begins with daily Mass. By receiving Christ in the Eucharist, we are given the grace to be the Love of Christ not only to those in our community but also to those we meet in the streets.

We walk throughout the day to be a witness of love. We are grounded in prayer-we pray with our lips, our hearts, and our bodies. In walking an average of twenty-five miles per day, we offer our fatigue as a gift of love to Christ and the people we meet. Our walking is both sacrifice and prayer.