“Divine Love for one another binds us in Unity together in God.”
I will say something about this from a practical level.
Last year, in the early spring of 2018, we had our annual meeting in the Swedish Association. We shared how we had met TLIG and what it means to us, as we most often do. But for some reason, this time, the spiritual communion among us felt very strong. You could describe it as the title of this pilgrimage: “Divine Love for one another binds us in Unity together in God.”
Shortly after this meeting we started to think about forming some kind of prayer community, the sort of community where people share a common spirituality and a common rule, but live their ordinary life [similar to the ”Third order” of religious orders in the Catholic church, for lay people].
I had always thought before that that TLIG is not a community of this kind because there is no common rule, no list of members that we should pray for regularly, no vows etc. More important, there is nothing in the Messages that calls us to do this. But now we felt a call to try it. And I had heard about something similar before among TLIG people in the Philippines.
The prayer groups are obviously the place where the communion and love of TLIG people should grow but, as sometimes happens, one person in the group gets too old to participate, one get sick, one moves to another town – and suddenly you are standing there alone. TLIG readers, at least in our country, seem to be found one here, one there, spread out over the whole country. Hence, a need to strengthen the bond between us in some other way, also outside the prayer groups.
Most of the necessary content is already there: the three daily prayers and the Messages as a common spirituality. The content of a rule could be found in several passages, like in this Message from February 9, 1990:
”…I desire you to fast and do penitence; I desire you to receive My Holy Eucharist as often as you can; I desire you to go for confession at least once a month; I desire you to read daily a part out of Scriptures; I desire you to repair for others by sacrificing; I desire them to pray the Rosary and, if possible, all three Mysteries [this was before John Paul II added the fourth Mystery]; My goal is to bring you back to divinity and live holy for I am Holy; these are My Principles; I desire your abandonment daily”
This is what Jesus asks of all of us. Yet, how many of us actually follow this? It is not easy. One of the reasons to form a community is to help and support each other to not only read the Messages but also to live them.
A TLIG community has a special call to live Unity, of course, both in the local town and parish, and also within the community itself. Not always easy…..What bindsus together is the Divine love as in the title of this Pilgrimage. We are all touched by God’s love in these Messages, and therefore – hopefully – are able to give some of that love to each other, as well as to any people we meet.
So, what is the difference between the ordinary family friendship of TLIG readers and a community of this kind. Essentially, there is nothing new in this. The content is the same, only the form of community is different. This form of community is ”verbalized friendship”, using the words of Jean Vanier, the founder of L’Arche community. We are getting more aware of each other, praying for each other, also by name.
This of course creates a group within the larger group, and this has its risks, obviously. Yet I believe that the benefit is greater than the risk.
When we started, we decided to try this for one year and evaluate it afterwards. And then, when we did meet after one year, we all decided to continue. The experience was a good one. “Divine Love for one another binds us in Unity together in God.”
Reverend Bo Westergaard,
Lutheran Chruch, Sweden