To Live in the World
As for many other communities, this call of life in the world comes from an experience of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. People, renewed by this experience, discover or re-discover the meaning of baptism and desire to find a way to live this call fully.
Three pillars of Life: Adoration, Compassion, Evangelization
Concrete means add to this experience, means marked by the intuition of Pierre Goursat, founder of the Emmanuel Community. He insisted particularly on the rooting of faith in Eucharistic adoration. It leads us to evangelization and compassion, the love pouring from the Heart of Jesus for all, those who suffer in body or because they do not know God. Compassion is the vital links between Eucharistic adoration and evangelization. Received in Eucharistic adoration it is expressed in evangelization. That is what we have in common. It is not possible to be a member of the Emmanuel Community without living it fully. This is a call than can be lived by any baptized person.
We cannot live this alone. The Community allows us to help and sustain each other in answering this call and practice this compassion. In community life we concretely live faith, hope and charity. Faith in Jesus Christ through the grace of baptism, hope for all men because we believe God wants to save them, charity by loving them, not in words but concretely. There is nothing better to live faith, hope and charity than through community life.
To “be in community” is to have something in common, something to share. The Emmanuel Community is a community of life. Its members join because they respond to a call from God to live a life of service together. It is this common call that unites the Community.
Pierre Goursat thought of concrete ways for people to live a way of life together fit to our times. This way of life is the same as for any person living in the professional world. The call is made to many different people, from all walks of life, all professions, all ages and race and in all countries of the world.
We meet weekly in small groups called “Households” determined by leaders of the region, because we do not choose one another but receive one another. We pray together, share about God’s work in our lives and evangelization experiences and let the Church teach us. We also meet monthly (quarterly in the USA) for Community retreats.
We truly are a community of life. Strong ties unite us in daily life through those weekly and monthly (or quarterly) meetings as well as working together organizing evangelization, or other, events.
Each member is encouraged to take a daily personal prayer time and to participate in sacramental life (daily Eucharist, regular sacrament of reconciliation…). For us this is essential.
Theological teachings, as well as biblical, human, practical teachings are shared among Community members to help grow in the call of holiness in the Church.
A personal support, called “Companionship” is also offered to each. It allows to regularly be in touch with a member more knowledgeable, experienced who can help in the walk within the Community as well as help us maintain a good prayer life and sacramental life. This Companionship is offered according to everyone’s state of life.
All States of Life
The first members of the Community were all lay people but quickly many priest and consecrated life vocations appeared in the midst of the Emmanuel Community. Today there are more than 6,000 members including over 100 priests, 100 seminarians, 100 brothers and sisters consecrated in celibacy, about 1,000 singles but not consecrated in celibacy and the rest are married.
Community life is a call for all states of life. Priests, consecrated, lay are all baptized, all called to live the call of baptism, to prepare on earth for life in heaven, to have a specific place in the Church and to be witnesses to Christ. This call to holiness is underlined in Vatican Council II and the apostolic Letter to laity from John Paul II. It is not surprising to find in the Emmanuel Community people called to the priesthood, married life or consecrated life. It represents the people of God.
We do not separate our spiritual and daily life. Pierre Goursat would often refer to mystics to explain the charisms of the Emmanuel: long for union with God in daily and ordinary life. This is specific to the Emmanuel Community. Many other communities regroup different states of life but under separate associations or groups. For the Emmanuel Community the Church, through the Holy Father, recognized by canon in 1992 the Emmanuel Community as an association of the faithful with all states of life. This represent a gift of God for the Church, we not only follow the same fundamental graces but live them united in a same community.
The world we live in is divided although universal, individualistic and insecure. Individualism brings on conformism while division brings separation in groups. The latter is everywhere, people do not communicate and form separate groups even within the Church. The Emmanuel Community shines an image of non-individualism, non-conformism, non-separation. In response to the infirmities of the modern world the Community offers solidarity. Priests, lay, consecrated work together and the live the same life. Although some have different vocations it does not mean they cannot work together in the same apostolates.
Although it is important to reflect on each call of each vocation it is necessary not to forget the goal. As baptized we are all called to holiness and to mission together. Consecrated life in the Emmanuel is characterized more by its sign of consecration to baptism, leading others towards holiness, than by its specified state of life. It is not considered a separate or superior state of life because of the excellence and perfection of the call because the radical aspect is not as much in the response as it is in the love God has for His people.