The New Gasparian
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A journal dedicated to the life and mission of St. Gaspar del Bufalo, and to a life lived in response to the call and the cry of the Most Precious Blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our on-going mission is to share good news of hope and communion.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004
Community in the Bond of Charity

God has willed to make us holy and to save us, not as individuals without any bond or link between us, but rather to make us into a people who might acknowledge and serve God in holiness. We are called, not simply as individuals but as a people, to be sign and instrument of the work of God in this world, not only in the past, in history, but also in this time and place. Before any other description of our basic attributes or qualities, the communal nature of the church is placed before us a basic presupposition.

For what purpose are we in the community? To cooperate with the great designs of divine Providence in the sanctification of ourselves and others; to be united in the bond of charity, and to imitate more closely the life of Jesus Christ. (Circular 11)

St. Gaspar would remind us often that the community should gather each month. He would make sure that we were not to work alone on a mission but to cooperate with others. This was to be the school of charity as it was in other communities, but Gaspar also saw the community as the bulwark against any assaults of the evil one.

He never thought of himself as working alone. He always thought of himself as part of a community. Bonnani, Albertini, Cristaldi, and others are always mentioned as being among his closest co-workers. In telling the stories of the early missions and retreats one hears of several missionaries working together with brothers in service, and even selected laity. The effects or fruits of the mission were maintained by seeking out suitable people among the laity who could continue these associations that were begun by the mission. And in advising his missionaries, he would always remind us not to trust in our own thinking alone, but to work together with others for the common good. “Clinging to one's own opinions and rejecting the advice of others” was one of the things that Gaspar assigned to the “miserable condition” of us humans.

God has no need of people in his work; we are the ones who reap benefits from his Society. The Lord will multiply his gifts for those who remain and it will be sufficient that on our part we do what is required of us. In addition to that, through prayer, let us place it in God’s hands, and let us never cease to take counsel with one another as the opportunities arise. Let us surrender our own will in all things and we shall have died to ourselves.(Letter 1638)

The scriptures themselves call us to a common life. This is not just the property of religious and clergy but something common to all the faithful who believed together and “had all things in common.” We live the legacy of Gaspar in contrast to the self-reliance, self-assertion, self-expression and self-centeredness that is the hallmark of our age and central among our national values.

What a good fortune for us to live in community where the fulfillment of our sacred duties is, without doubt, facilitated in its execution, along with our individual association with an Institute which is promoting so much good work to the glory of the Lord!(Letter 1379)

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 10:39 PM link
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The environment has an effect on you. I did not grow up in Chicago, and I have only been living here a few years. It is very cold today, and the snow that fell yesterday is quite beautiful. It took a half hour to get the ice off the windows of the car and get the car heated up so it was not a refrigerator, but I had the time. Driving to the grocery store gave me the same feeling as if I was driving through South Lake Tahoe on winter's day. Even though I was not in the mountains, even though I was not at Tahoe, even though I am not on vacation, it felt like I was on vacation. Environment has an effect on you.

Well, it is back to work. I have several projects to get done today, and also it is my turn to cook. My little vacation was a trip to the grocery store. It was short, but I am grateful for it. I am cooking a pot of beef and bean chili, a tossed salad, along with some fresh baked bread, and a few bottles of Chilean Cabernet. Did you know the seminarians here believe I do not work hard enough?

Another thought: What kind of effect are designers going for when they design our modern churches?

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 11:42 AM link
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