Throughout my first year of consecrated life, I am going through various books and formations with different brothers. These have been very fruitful in my relationship with the Lord, leading to some great conversations and opportunities for prayer. Fr. Jack and I have most recently been going through Pope Saint John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation, Redemptionis Donum. The following is an excerpt from it:
“The fundamentally community nature of your religious life, nourished by the teaching of the Gospel, by the sacred liturgy and above all by the Eucharist, is a special way of accomplishing this interpersonal and social dimension: by caring for one another, by bearing one another’s burdens, you show by your unity that Christ is living in your midst. Important for your apostolate in the Church is every kind of sensitivity to the needs and sufferings of the individual, which are seen so clearly and so movingly in today’s world. For the Apostle Paul teaches: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” and he adds that “love is the fulfilling of the law.”
Aside from the fact that this entire paragraph is incredibly powerful, the bolded statement has particularly struck me. The image of bearing the burdens of brothers, by carrying each other through our sufferings and struggles, leads others to witness the unity of Christ alive in this world. Openness and sharing can bring the light of Christ into this world through a brotherly love that is sensitive to that which penetrates deeper than surface wounds. What a beautiful sight, seeing two brothers embrace each other during sharing, when what is most heavy on the heart is lifted by the care of his brothers. This is something I have come to love about Youth Apostles and I am so happy that one of my favorite saints felt the same way!