New Spiritual Communities and Movements

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Final Comment: Spiritual Renewal as a Lasting Mission of all Christians

The different spiritual awakenings and renewal movements are also today largely a wholesome disturbance of the traditional order. However, in practice it is difficult for the institutional authorities to completely absorb and integrate the spiritual impulses. Therefore, it is legitimate and necessary that these different aspects of intensive Christian life be able develop within the Church but, by all means, not in already existing structures.

The Holy Spirit, who guarantees the unique solidarity of the Church with her Lord, grants unity and multiplicity at the same time. He guarantees much more freedom of spiritual effects, of ways of life and also of knowledge than we would allow ourselves. But, in the end, this multiplicity serves a new form of unity. This does not consist in the abolition of plurality, but rather in its free collaboration toward a whole, as St. Paul expressed in his First Letter to the Corinthians. For this collaboration, it is decisive that spiritual renewal is consciously done and credibly practiced as an enduring mission of all Christians (on this cp. CL, 18 ff., especially No. 24, the remarks concerning charisms).

Today's treatise was able to present only briefly and in extracts the new spiritual communities and their importance for the work of the Church of today. I hope that this presentation was able to clarify that, inspite of their different histories of origin, outward appearances and spheres of activities, the objectives of the new spiritual movements are to a large extent coming to a profound convergence: the responsible participation in the mission of the Church, to proclaim the gospel of Christ as the source of hope for mankind and renewal for society (cf. CL, 29).

With the Apostolic Letter Tertio Millenio Adveniente, Pope John Paul II has invited all Christians to prepare themselves for the Great Jubilee Year 2000. The year 1998, the second year of the preparatory phase, is dedicated in a special way to the Holy Spirit. For Pope John Paul the Holy Spirit is also the principle force of the new evangelization for our times. Therefore, the rediscovery of the presence and effectiveness of the Holy Spirit is one of the most important aspects in preparing for the Great Jubilee Year 2000 (cf. TM, 45).

For this mission, which concerns all of God's people, I would like to conclude with a word by Karl Rahner, which I like to consider as his "spiritual legacy". In his essay The Church as the Place of the Sending of the Spirit", Rahner says:

Only the one, who is religious and independent,

humble and daring,

obedient and aware of his obligation,

prays and is a doer,

who is linked to the past and future of the Church,

only that person creates the room

so that God's descending Spirit of Pentecost

- the eternally old and eternally young - can act within him,

renew the face of his own soul,

and use Him in order to also change the earth."

(Essays on Theology, Volume VII, 187, Einsiedeln/Zürich/Köln, 2nd Edition 1971; First published in Spirit and Life, 29 (1956), 97).

Dr. Marianne Tigges, born February 15, 1942 in Haagen, Westphalia, Germany. In 1957 she was promoted to the Philosophical Faculty of the Westphalia Wilhelm University in Munster (pedagogy-theology-philosophy). Till 1979 she served in East Africa; from 1979 - 1983 she worked in the office of the Papal mission MISSIO in Aachen; from 1983 - 1987 in the office of the Pastoral Centre of the German Bishops' Conference in the department of "Spiritual Life, Spiritual vocations, church ministries". She was the contact person for the German Bishops' Conference for spiritual communities and movements from 1987 to 1991. She was appointed secretary to the Bishops' Conference for spiritual vocations and church ministries in 1991.


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