“We are challenged to live as Christ did, in our community
of faith, our communion of the Church, and to spread the good
news, by word and action. Because we walk in the footsteps
of Christ and take up our cross daily to do so, the task will
not always be easy, but nevertheless with the help of God’s
Holy Spirit, fulfilling.”
Archbishop John Bathersby, Synod Preparation Day 2, 22 March
Two experiences were fundamental to Jesus’ sense
of mission: the experience of God to whom he prayed as
Abba, and the experience of the Spirit of God enlightening
and empowering him in his mission. Christians would come
to see that the God whom Jesus revealed was a communion
of Abba (Father), Jesus Christ (Son) and Spirit. To be
in communion with Jesus was to be in communion with the
God who is Trinity.
The Second Vatican Council [Lumen Gentium #1] teaches
us that our membership of the Church is, before all else,
the expression of our relationship with God – Father,
Son and Holy Spirit. The Church is called to be a communion
of love modelled on the Trinitarian communion of God.
As communion, the Church must itself in its internal
relationships model that mutuality of love existing within
Communion, therefore, means much more than being linked
together at a social level, like members of a club or
even a nation. It means more than being just a community
with a common purpose. It means being in a relationship
whose intimacy flows from our relationship with the three
divine persons – the Trinity.
Such an understanding of what it means to be Church demands
that we share a common spirituality, transcending but
not ignoring those many particular forms of spiritual
devotion designed to promote growth in individual holiness.
This has already been identified as a “spirituality
of communion” or a “spirituality of relationships”,
flowing from the communion among the divine persons.
We are never more truly Church as communion than when
we gather together around the table of the Lord, as brothers
and sisters in Christ. There we share the living Word
of God, the body and blood of Christ, and our communion
with one another in the Spirit. It is through the Eucharist
that the Church is truly a communion of love, with the
power to attract and energise others. The Eucharist is
where we experience communion and are empowered for mission.