‘Maisonnées (households) are the most important place where we live Community life … The maisonnée is a fraternal support for faithfully living out Community commitments – Adoration, compassion and evangelisation.’ (Guide to Community Life)
Our journey together
In a large community like ours, the households are small units that allow us to journey together, supported by each other, as climbers on the same rope. In the household we experience in a special way fraternal love for our ‘brothers and sisters’ – whom we did not choose. We learn to receive them as a gift from God. It is a powerful experience which endures year after year and which never ceases to amaze us. It is not always easy but it is a grace given to us which involves us in an adventure which is primarily spiritual and not simply human. We can all attest to the wonders that the Holy Spirit has brought about in our households through the act of faith that we make regarding this subject.
Sharing the Word
After the prayer of praise that brings us together at the start of each meeting, there is what we call the ‘sharing of the Word’, that is to say, sharing about how God speaks to us, particularly through his Word, and how it affects us. This sharing of the Word is at the heart of our household meetings. To ‘share the Word’, we must listen to God who is speaking to us. This forces us to a real life of prayer, since how can we listen to Him if we do not stop for a moment in silence?
We are thus stimulated to prayer by our household which is waiting for us to share how God spoke to us during the week, and what we are going to do about it. It is thus a stimulant and a spur to listening to Christ and to trying to put His Word into practice (‘My mother and my brothers …’)
Prayer of the brothers and sisters
We experience this solidarity and fraternal love also through what we call ‘the prayer of the brothers and sisters’. When we struggle to live out our calling, or in very practical aspects of our lives, we can ask our brothers and sisters to pray right away for us. We kneel in the middle of them and make our request to the Lord. We never cease to be witnesses of the amazing power of the prayers of our brothers, especially through the charisms they exercise on our behalf, ‘Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them’.
This life in a household makes us grow in simplicity because it is not always easy to open ourselves to our brothers and sisters. It’s a real path of humility that teaches us to ‘receive our brothers and sisters’ and discover the richness of this fraternal simplicity – what beauty and what a gift!
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