Fellowship through the Life of the Other
Life in a community demands living in fellowship! It is experiencing Christ through the other.
A community composed of different individuals is bound together with common interest. What ever kind of community it may be the common interest is never lost. As to the religious, this interest rests in the vision to live the spirituality their founders envision in the teachings of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, therefore, is the common interest of the community of the religious. He also is the initiator of this interest because He calls and people only respond to that call.
Christ calling is the call of fellowship, a life in communion with Him. It is the vision of happiness then to man if one takes the notion of Augustine’s happiness, that is, the possession of the Truth or of God. In reality also, the community is the vision and possession of the essence of fellowship.
The community is the reality of the call to fellowship. The community is where one can experience this fellowship. No individual can experience a fellowship alone. No individual can live to an experience of community alone. Precisely, a community is composed of different individuals and not otherwise. Hence, loosely saying, when one lives in a community one loses his individuality because an individual becomes one with the community itself. By individuality, it refers to one’s interest. Fellowship, then, is experienced in living within the community. It is living together with one another in Christ. Yet, this is not to say that an individual cannot experience Christ alone. The point here is that in a community Christ is much present because every individual possesses Christ. Every individual has the glimpse of Christ. Every individual has their own experience of Christ. Everyone can experience too what the other individual experiences of Christ. It is then a mutual relationship that everyone can experience Christ through one another and can know Christ through the other. It is like sharing pieces of experiences of Christ to have a bigger experience of Christ.
The call to fellowship if one looks at a wider perspective is experiencing Christ with the other. It is living with Christ through the life of others. It is accompanying Christ with the others. And this is what community living is all about: fellowship. Therefore, life in a community demands living in fellowship! It is experiencing Christ through the other. (Fray Christopher Rey Bajamonde, OSA)