Why I am a partner

One old timer Passionist shared this reflection on living in community:

“Reviewing and reflecting upon my own experience of life in my community of brother Passionists, I see it now, from the vantage point of both my age and experience, as a place of blessing in so many and various ways…A blessing of brother Passionists,–old and young and in-between,–who have tested and tried me, who have supported and endure me, enjoyed and encouraged me, loved me deeply and hated me mildly, corrected and challenged me, noticed and ignored me, told me off and turned me on, inspired and discouraged me. And yet, through it all, they have been and are and always will be brothers in Christ, who have always been there, –a constant presence that is occasionally frustrating, but generally supportive, and always blessedly unavoidable.” Fr. Thomas More Newbold, C.P.

Father Thomas More was the Rector of Mother of Good Counsel Passionist Minor Seminary when I started my freshman year of high school in 1959. He walked with dignity and presence, had bushy red hair and freckles and while mostly serious, had a smile that somehow told me I was ok. He was one of many such men that continue to attract me to the Passionist Community make me want to be like them and to share in the great work they do, i.e. help keep alive the memory of Jesus’ Cross.

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Who are Passionist Partners

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Thanks to everyone who contributed to our first of what I’m hoping becomes a weekly blog. Not everyone agreed with the post or the information on the “About us” page. I’m hoping you’ll agree with me though, and see this as a good sign. I believe we can agree to continue our community life even if we disagree on such fundamental questions such as who we are.

In this post I would like to continue the conversation by defending:

“The only requirement for membership is a continued commitment to becoming a more compassionate person through ongoing prayer, study and meditation on and identification with the Passion of the Jesus of history as well as with the poor, oppressed and suffering in our world today”

Why would we as partners want to adopt such an inclusive identity? First and foremost, I believe this statement does address the basic charism of the Passionists, i.e. identification with the Passion of Jesus… It goes further in admission that Passionists aren’t the only people in the world who believe in compassion. In fact as Karen Armstrong in her book “Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life” says:

“All faiths insist that compassion is the test of true spirituality and that it brings us into relation with the transcendence we call God, Brahman, Nirvana, or Dao. Each has formulated its own version of what is sometimes called the Golden Rule, ‘Do not treat others as you would not like them to treat you’…Further, they all insist that you cannot confine your benevolence to your own group; you must have concern for everybody–even your enemies.” (Armstrong, 2011)

Making compassion basic to our association or partnership focuses us, professed, lay and all new potential partners on what we do. Further, it relates us to all people of faith, at least if we’re to believe Karen Armstrong.

The advantage of this relationship is growth, both for ourselves and for the world. We will grow spiritually by acts of compassion. Our partnership will grow exponentially in numbers because we stress how we are alike, rather than how we are different. In a world that likes to accent differences, we will stand out loud and clear proclaiming what we have in common with all people of faith. That might be considered revolutionary, not too different though, and maybe even the same as Jesus preached in his supreme act of compassion, the Cross.

Welcome

Welcome to the Passionist Partners Blog

Communities of Passionist Partners exist in a number of U.S. cities across the Midwest and West. As coordinator of these very different communities, I am setting up this Blog in hopes that we will all share what’s happening in our particular communities and develop significant discussions about topics of interest to us all. Realizing that this is new, I am asking for your input. You can share that input by simply posting a comment in “Leave a Reply” which is found on “About Us”.

In particular, I’m interested in bringing your concerns and suggestions to the Province Assembly this June 18 – 20.  If this works, and we get a good representation of all the communities, maybe we can continue this blog in the future helping each other grow and sharing our resources.

Thanks for joining in and Happy blogging!