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5. Apostolic Service (C6)

  1. Committed to a more intense service of Christ, the church and the world, the brothers, sisters, and family members direct their whole life and work to revealing the glory of God in this world. In word and in work they give witness to the presence of Christ and the eminent Kingdom of God.

  2. The apostolate of the Companions of Christ, both within the church and the world, manifests itself in different ways.

  3. Within the community, the apostolate is lived out by lives of conversion and contemplation, or by different tasks performed for the community. Outside the community, the apostolate is lived out by intellectual and material service to society at large, as well as by missionary-pastoral service in parishes and other apostolic institutions. Finally, the apostolate is lived out by lives of simple gospel presence, which looks to the dawn of the Kingdom of God.

  4. Every apostolate is such that it prompts us to develop the talents we have received from God, and enable us to fully develop personality to the extent that we return our talents and increase to the Lord. The brothers and sisters entrusted with the ministry of the work of the apostolate remain faithful to the life of the Companions of Christ and their particular expression in which they live, as well as to their Vicars.

  5. Primacy of Common Life
    The Vicars ensure that the brothers and sisters are not tied down by obligations inconsistent with the life described for us in the Rule, Constitutions, or the Directory.

  6. Team Ministry
    In faithfully carrying out whatever duty is entrusted to them, all the brothers and sisters share in the apostolic call of the community. Therefore, whatever we do is done in such oneness with the community that it is a sign and leaven of the oneness of the brothers and sisters with each other and God.

  7. Normally, apostolates are a team effort of at least two brothers or two sisters. The case of a solo ministry is not normal. When it does occur, it must be done in oneness with the whole community.

  8. Whenever possible, the ministry team includes representatives from each expression of the Companions of Christ, i.e., single, celibate brothers, celibate sisters, and family members.

  9. Manual Labor
    The brothers, sisters, and families are ready to do manual work in accord with the earliest monastic tradition when love for the brothers and sisters or obedience requires, provided that the particular duties of each are not neglected.

    1. Manual labor is well suited for the contemplative life, for it nurtures a spirit of humility, simplicity, and inner solitude and silence. It places us in solidarity with the world's poor, who do manual labor every day in order to feed their families. It is especially helpful to foster humility and a break with the pride of the world during formation.

  10. The brothers and sisters are quick to help and support one another through mutual service, even in doing domestic chores. When opportunity exists, they function as a team.

  11. Work Mentality
    Because of our socio-eremitical, monastic, and contemplative monastic base, every brother and sister responsibly helps the community avoid an undue work mentality, whether caused by the amount or the variety of work. Sooner or later this mentality will dissolve their community and their individual health of body, soul, and spirit. Consequently, it can threaten to destroy the whole gospel witness of our way of life.

  12. However, this does not mean that we are not available to do even lowly, manual labor that is not part of our formal training when the legitimate needs of the community and decision of our Vicars require such.

  13. Favoritism and partiality by no means result in our community from the type of work that one does, nor the status or position they may hold.

  14. The financial support of the community, family, or oneself is not the primary purpose, nor the only norm for choosing an apostolate or work. There are, however, financial considerations, which must be dealt with realistically in all of these in community life.

  15. Choice of Work
    Exercising the gospel freedom of communal obedience that the monastic tradition affords in selecting an apostolate, the brothers and sisters always choose those works that the signs of the times indicate are most in need of our witness in a given region. We do not meddle in affairs that are unrelated to the nature of our community.

  16. The brothers and sisters are not attached to any type of apostolate as if it were their own. They are ready to leave to others the apostolates and places they have established and begin anew in new apostolates that are needed more.

  17. The real needs of people, the church, the community, and the individual brothers and sisters is the norm when selecting any apostolate.

  18. When Vicars discern the gifts and capabilities of individual brothers and sisters and the needs of the community and the church, they give the professed brothers and sisters, as far as possible, the opportunity to become proficient in specific fields and willingly provide them with the time and support needed for them.

  19. The good of the church, the community, and the brothers and sisters themselves, requires that when assigning offices and duties the Vicars are careful to take into account the aptitude and skill of each one; nor shall they easily change a brother or sister from the work in which co is expert.

  20. Since we are dedicated to the church and the world, the brothers and sisters accustom ourselves to reading the signs of the times in which God's plan can be discerned with the eyes of faith.

  21. Responding to the call of Jesus in the church to evangelize the whole world, the brothers and sisters, together and individually, use whatever talents we may have to undertake any type of work whatsoever, always giving priority to the needy and to those who have not yet received Jesus' message of salvation.

  22. The brothers, sisters, and families promote traditional works of the apostolate, such as missions, retreats, and the administering of the sacraments. We give a special care to the building up of various expressions of basic Christian communities, especially promoting the spread of our own community.

  23. Filled with a missionary spirit and mindful of those individuals and groups who have fallen away from the church, the brothers, sisters, and family members try to adapt their apostolic efforts to new circumstances.

  24. We are also actively involved in the Christian ecumenical dialogue of truth, charity, and prayer with our separated brothers and sisters, in order to share in the church's efforts at restoring Christian unity. We strive to uproot from our own lives any obstacles to that hoped-for unity.

  25. At the same time, we engage in beneficial interfaith dialogue and cooperation, according to the norms of the church, with those who are not Christians, and with non-believers among whom we live or to whom we are sent.

  26. Mindful of our own call, we are one with all people of good will in efforts of charity, social assistance, and international solidarity, in which the possibility of human and economic growth is offered to individuals and nations caught in need.

  27. Periods of Ministry:
    Both the Vicar and the other brothers and sisters so live their lives that prayer will make their work holy and effective, and that work will not extinguish the spirit of prayer and devotion, but will add all the more new power and strength to prayer. Yet, the primacy of prayer and family is always recognized and protected.

  28. A rhythm of the Spirit leads us from prayer into action and from action back into prayer. This rhythm exists on communal, family, and individual levels, allowing more individual freedom as time goes on, to test an individual's maturity and sense of responsibility.

  29. To begin, however, a brother or sister spends part of each day in prayer and study, and the rest in active ministry and apostolic action.

  30. Recreation
    The community is careful that suitable and appropriate communal and private periods of recreation are provided for.