Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Emmanuel Community

One of the most glaring pastoral needs in the Orthodox Church is, ironically, solid spiritual formation for the laity. Though we have an immensely rich spiritual tradition, we invest surprisingly little effort in the systematic application of that tradition to the laity. Attendance at Divine Liturgy and an occasional confession with the priest is simply not enough!

We are rather long on inspiration, but short on application. Much as with happens in American schools, we feel quite good about what we think we know about the Orthodox faith and spiritual life, but we actually know and practice very little. One solution I think is found in the Roman Catholic group "The Emmanuel Community." On their homepage they describe themselves in this way:

The Emmanuel Community is a Catholic association of Christians of all states of life: lay people, both married and single; men and women consecrated in celibacy; and priests. Today, there are over 6,000 committed members of the Community in nearly 50 different countries. These include 140 priests, 120 seminarians, 15 permanent deacons, 150 sisters and 15 brothers consecrated in celibacy.

A layman, Pierre Goursat founded the community in Paris, France, in 1976. In 1998, the Vatican officially recognized the community statutes.

Members share the desire to live out, in a radical way, a call to holiness, which is their vocation as baptized Catholics. They share the certitude that God is present in the life of every person and that He loves us. The mission of the Community is to reveal to every man and woman the presence of the God of Love in their lives, Jesus Christ, who is "Emmanuel", "God with us".

While no doubt an Orthodox version of The Emmanuel Community would require some changes and adaption, I think it would be a great blessing to the Orthodox Church to incorporate much of what TEC does. There are a number of people who, I think, read this blog who might be interested in such a project. If so, please either email me privately or leave your name in the comment box for this post.

Read More: The Emmanuel Community - About

In Christ,

+Fr Gregory

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