Manfred Badum, SIP Germany
In the last few months I have been working again and again in the so-called Opus Archive in Königstein-Mammolshain. Rector Karl-Wilhelm Bruno had started this archive in his house. From his time as International Rector of the Opus there were numerous documents, but also personal letters and records and slides. Also from the time of Rectors Jim McCormick and Tom Flanagan there were the minutes of the International Leader Team, the list of finances, letters to the regions or also to bishops, as well as numerous drafts and changes for the statutes;.also circular letters from Bernhard Bendel. Not everything was well sorted, and some things will not be needed in the future. I noticed that the rectors worked a lot for the communities, through contacts on their travels, correspondence by letter or email, organizing the school of life or retreats, applying for grants for various groups, helping with problems and much more; they also wrote the annual retreats, Father Tom additionally wrote the impulses. A lot of work that is really to be appreciated!
In the minutes it could be read again and again that the individual communities wanted more independence and autonomy, above all the ALCP, which was partly a problem for the respective rector. The result was the refusal of the 3 communities of ALCP, ALCS and SIW to accept the new General Statute from 2000. In the present federation all are independent; the connection is very loose through the annual meeting of the international leaders and a meeting of 3 delegates each every 6 to 10 years. Unfortunately, there is still no satisfactory solution for the status of the CAC. Rector Bendel had already been looking for solutions on how to determine the independence for each community in the Opus and still guarantee the connectedness in Opus Spiritus Sancti. Canon law does not offer many possibilities for such a colourful family as we are. The only possibility would be for the OSS to be an ecclesial association rather than a federation. But this proposal has so far been rejected by the three communities.
What an experiment God has made with us human beings! He has given us free will and put the longing for freedom in our hearts. Every child always wants to gain more freedom from its parents, every tribe or people wants to defend or gain its freedom, sometimes through wars. And each of us loves our freedom and does not always want to be dictated to. As pastors, we have a privileged position because we can determine a lot ourselves. Let us not forget that our freedom ends where the freedom of others begins. And let us always perform anew the greatest act of freedom, to place our will under the plan of God, who guides us through his Spirit.
Freedom is part of the mystery of love. A commanded or forced love is not love, not a few women have been or are being forcibly married without being asked, how bad for those women! God invites us to love him and to love people. He does not force us, although he also points out what will become of our lives without this love. Real love is given out of freedom and transforms people and their surroundings.
In the archives I also found many minutes about the dedication of members of SIP and CAC, together with the contract with the respective community, a treasure of the last decades! The first dedication was from Rector Bernhard Bendel on 21 May 1961, exactly 60 years ago. He lived this dedication to the Holy Spirit and let himself be led by Him. Do we know the day of our own dedication? Do we renew this prayer of consecration? In Germany we renew it together at the Pentecost meeting during Holy Mass. It is also a good way to pray our dedication prayer daily in the morning (e.g. as the closing prayer of Laudes) and to entrust ourselves freely and consciously to the love of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit for that day:
„God, Holy Spirit,
to you I dedicate my body and my soul,
my strength, my abilities and my whole life.
Spirit of Truth, to you I surrender my understanding.
Spirit of Love, to you I surrender my heart and my will.
Spirit of Fortitude, to you I surrender my strength.
Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Apostles, with your help
I want to lead a truly apostolic life;
to live a life according to the Evangelical Counsels
of poverty, chastity and obedience;
to serve the Church and all people faithfully
in the spirit of the Last Supper and the First Pentecost,
in union with Mary, the Apostles and my brothers and sisters,
to pray unceasingly for a New Pentecost on earth.“
Learning from history, from the history of humanity, of the Church, of Opus Spiritus Sancti and of one's own life, is a good foundation for shaping a joyful and happy future. Both belong together, learning from the past and shaping the future, like the two legs on our body. In this way we will always remain faithful to the instructions of Jesus, but at the same time not stand still, but let the Holy Spirit lead us into the future, which may look different from the present.