A PLACE TO LIVE AND SHARE
They persevered in the teaching of the apostles, in fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Fear took hold of everyone, and there were many wonders and miracles performed by the apostles. Everyone who believed was in the same place, and they had everything in common. They sold their properties and their goods, and they shared the product among all, according to the needs of each. They were every day diligent together in the temple, they broke bread in the houses, and took their food with joy and simplicity of heart, praising God, and finding favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the Church every day those who were saved.
Living the Family of God
Before leaving this earth the Lord left to his disciples neither a manual of ecclesiastical organization, nor an ecclesiological doctrine or elements of a pastoral theology. He said to them, "I give you a new commandment: Love one another, as I have loved you, you also love one another. By this all will recognize that you are my disciples if you have love for one another "(John 13: 34-35). He asks his Father "that they be one as we are one ... and that the world recognizes that you sent me and that you loved them as you loved me" (John 17: 22-23) . Jesus revealed to Peter, "I will build my Church." This is why this apostle is considered by some to be the prime contractor for this construction. What directives does he give to Christians? "Yourself, like living stones, build yourself up to form a spiritual house ..." (I Peter 2: 5). How to build? "Love one another ardently and wholeheartedly" (I Peter 1:22). The Church-building agent does not reside in doctrine or ecclesiastical principles, but in love: "Love edifies" (I Corinthians 8: 1). This is why we so often find the exhortation "Love one another" in the New Testament.
Each time we read the expression "one for the other" (100 times in the original), we find an aspect of fraternal communion. Now the 4/5 ° of the commandments accompanied by this expression relate either to mutual love, or to its manifestations, or to its conditions: "Let the members also take care of each other, let's watch over each other to encourage us to love and to good works, exhort yourself, edify yourself, forgive yourself, support one another ...
This mutual love is a fruit (John 5:11) and a sign (3:14) of the new birth. God expected - still awaits - the fulfillment of the essential vocation of the local Church for believers: the edification, the growth of the members of the Body - what we expect from the pastor alone. Indeed, almost always, when the apostles speak of edification, exhortation, cure of soul, confession of sins, even instruction, they do so within the framework of fraternal communion. We find at least twenty Greek words relating to the different functions: warn, convince, correct, teach, instruct, help, recommend, give an opinion, stimulate, advance, watch ... The diversity of nuances tells us about the richness of these mutual relationships: we spoke to our brother or sister to help them progress on all fronts by calling on - their intelligence (to instruct, warn, teach) - their feelings (to comfort, comfort) - their will (exhort, stimulate, encourage). We wanted to strengthen both his knowledge of God's plan and his life of piety. Everyone felt responsible for the spiritual growth of the member who was part of the same Body ...
Fraternal communion also responds - at least partially - to the Church's vocation to the world (John 14:35; 17:23). The new relationships that the pagans saw in this scorned and slandered group attracted them to the Church: "See how they love each other". The world seeks, not a philosophy or a doctrine, but the lived demonstration of a transformed life.
-We believe that It is fraternal communion that the Church and the world of today need.
We certainly have our Bibles, but we all need, at times, that someone else encourage us to read it, help us understand it and urge us to put it into practice. To strengthen ourselves, we need exercise: we have to work - with others - in the work of God. Where fraternal communion is alive and intense, Christians grow and develop harmoniously almost on their own, much like the children of a large family.
The world, for its part, aspires to find an environment where human ties are solid and deep. The more the social organization improves, the more lonely man becomes. In the "anthills" with their large complexes, man feels more and more alone. Each family lives for itself, barely knowing the name of the neighbor and, within the family, each member pursues their own life and activities. The Church can, on this level, bring a unique and convincing witness.