The charism of the Assumption: at the service of unity in a divided world To share with all the experience that “He who unites us is stronger than that which separates us”
(Rule of Life #8).
1. According to Father d’Alzon the spirit of the Assumption is a spirit of unity (Ecrits Spirituels, pp. 699). The Chapters of 2005 and 2011 re-expressed the charism in terms of a trilogy: men of faith, men of communion, in solidarity with the poor. Today’s world is calling us to focus in depth on this theme of unity.
2. “Our divine Master prayed that his disciples be united with his sacred person, united in the Catholic Church, of which they were the first core, united among themselves, united in their apostolic works.” (Ecrits Spirituels, p. 701) This call to unity finds expression in who we are, in what we live, and in what we undertake. The relevance of our works and of our apostolic priorities can be verified in the light of this call: the Assumption seeks to serve unity in accordance with the words of our Rule of Life: “Faithful to the will of Fr. d’Alzon, our communities are at the service of truth, unity and charity” (Rule of Life #5).
3. Let us remember that the Assumption was born at a time of major political, economic and social upheaval, destabilizing people as well as institutions, including the Church. In this troubled climate, Father d’Alzon sensed that man more than ever needed God so that he might find his place in a changing world. We are still convinced of this today. In the face of the changes we are experiencing, we do not succumb to resignation because, in faith, we know that our charism—a gift of God to the Church—makes it possible for us to accompany and serve men and women, especially the poorest among them, during their earthly pilgrimage. These new times are also an opportunity for us to make an inventory of our spiritual, intellectual, and apostolic heritage and to put our charism into practice in the face of the needs of the world and of the Church. These needs compel us to see if the ways we are incarnating the charism in our efforts to respond to these calls are relevant.
In working for the unity of Christians, we offer our energy and our entire life “so that all may be one” (John 17:21). We share the passion of our forebears for theological studies and the work of ecumenism. Led by the Saint Peter/Saint Andrew Center in Bucharest, the Near Eastern Mission, our oldest mission, seeks to help the entire body of the Assumption to breathe with the two lungs of the faith. The development of evangelical Protestantism invites us to discover this phenomenon and learn more about it through direct contact. It hasn’t spread everywhere without tension. It should lead us to renew our missionary zeal and prayer for unity.
Inter-religious dialogue reveals our option to articulate our belief in the work for unity among men, through love, in opposition to fear of the other or violence:
- mainly with the other two great monotheistic religions, Judaism and Islam, in the West and in Africa and in the countries of our Near Eastern Mission (Turkey, Holy Land)
- with the Buddhist and Confucian traditions in the Far East (Vietnam, Korea) and with traditional pre-Christian beliefs (Africa, Madagascar). This dialogue begins in daily life and eventually gets expressed in common initiatives. It also requires a commitment to specialized studies.