Christian Life Community (CLC) The Christian Life Community is an international association of Christians: men and women, adults and young people, of all social conditions, who want to follow Jesus Christ more closely and work with Him for the building of the Kingdom. Members make up small groups, which are part of larger communities organized regionally and nationally, all forming ONE World Community. The CLC is present in all five continents, in more than sixty countries.
The charism and spirituality of CLC are Ignatian. Thus, the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius are both the specific source of our charism and the characteristic instrument of CLC spirituality. The CLC way of life is shaped by the features of Ignatian Christology: austere and simple, in solidarity with the poor and the outcasts of society, integrating contemplation and action, in all things living lives of love and service within the Church, always in a spirit of discernment.
History Christian Life Community traces its roots to St. Ignatius Loyola, who, as a soldier recovering from his battle wounds, was given an extraordinary grace of conversion. That mystical experience of God led to his total dedication to Christ and his mission. After his conversion, Ignatius sought to help others by speaking with them in groups about the work of God in their lives. He guided many towards God by drawing on his own spiritual experiences and gradually formulated the Spiritual Exercises to help future guides lead others to God. Over the years, the Exercises thus helped the development of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and the congregation of laypersons
In 1563 in Rome, a young Jesuit, John Leunis, founded the first CLC by gathering a group of young lay students at the Roman College to help them unite their lives - jobs, studies, families, relationships, etc. - with Christian values. The movement, originally called the Sodality of Our Lady, grew and was confirmed by Pope Gregory XIII in 1584.
Over the years, the movement spread dramatically. However, after the Society of Jesus was suppressed in the mid-1700s, the link with the Spiritual Exercises faded until its rediscovery after Vatican II. When Vatican II urged groups like the Sodality to rediscover their original roots, some sodalities continued as before, while others became Christian Life Communities. The main difference is in the size (6 to 12) and the regularity of meeting (weekly or biweekly). Jesuits and the Spiritual Exercises have continued in a close relationship with the CLC.
In 1967, the 4th Assembly of the World Federation of the Marian Congregations approved a change in name of the organization to Christian Life Communities. In 1968, on the Feast of the Annunciation, Pope Paul VI confirms the General Principles of the World Federation of the Christian Life Communities.
The CLC Charism The CLC Charism is traditionally expressed in three interconnected aspects:
Spirituality • We see our relationship with Jesus as central to our lives. • We try to pray each day, learning to meditate on the Scriptures and to reflect on the working of God in our lives (Examen). This helps us to grow in sensitivity to the ways God is leading us. • We regularly participate in the Eucharist and we have an active sacramental life • We grow in our experience of the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius through retreats and by using Ignatian methods of prayer. • We have a love for the Mother of God
Community • In our regular community meetings we listen to how God has been at work in each other, receive support and are encouraged to persevere in deepening our union with God. • At regional, national and worldwide meetings we are put in touch with the wider community and we widen our horizons.
Mission • We are companions of Christ in his mission to establish the reign of God wherever we live or work. • Through prayer and community, each of us discovers the call to serve Christ in the home, at work, in the parish, in the local community and through organizations working to reform the unjust structures of society. • As a local, regional, national or worldwide community, we may organize communal apostolates. In the Philippines, formation has been discerned as the national communal apostolate.
Small Group Meeting Our CLC groups are small, usually six to twelve members. We meet regularly in order to develop friendship and a community spirit among ourselves by praying, sharing some of our life experiences together, helping and supporting each other in our Christian faith and our daily lives. Meetings are held, usually in our homes, at intervals decided by the group - usually biweekly, but sometimes weekly, and lasting one and a half or two hours.
Since our communities are based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, groups try to include elements of the Exercises in their group meetings
The pattern of meetings varies, but most of the following are normally included in ongoing groups:
• Short Check-In: How has God been present in my life since the last meeting? Where have I experienced God's presence? When I felt disconnected from God? • Opening Prayer • Praying for a Grace: The community recalls the grace that it formulated at its previous meeting and how it has experienced that grace. • Reflection and Sharing on the evening's topic. • Formulate Grace for next meeting. • Business • Review of Meeting: How was I moved during this meeting? Where did I feel positive energy? Where did I feel discomfort? • Closing Prayer • Social
Each CLC group is autonomous and finds the form of meeting best suited to the needs of its members, within the spirit of the "General Principles".
Each community aims to embody the characteristics of community, spirituality and mission. In each meeting, during the sharing and planning, members review their individual and corporate mission which is carried out primarily outside the meeting.
Memberships and Next Steps There are multiple ways to participate in the work of CLC and we request that you make a decision on which level of participation you want to pursue.
Option 1: Participation in CLC Activities CLC Philippines organizes a large number of spiritual activities each year. This includes recollections, retreats, talks, seminars and opportunities for apostolic participation. Under this option, we shall enroll you in the CLC mailing list. With this, you shall receive information on all CLC activities which you are invited to participate in, at your convenience.
Additionally, you are invited to: • Regularly visit the CLCP website at https://clcphilippines.org • Like/Follow the CLCP Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/iCLCer • Follow the CLCP Twitter Feed at https://www.twitter.com/iCLCer
If ever you feel called to explore membership in CLC, please feel free to reach out so we could organize a "come-and-see" with a CLC community.
Option 2: Membership in the CLC Officially, this means: • Be part of a CLC Community • Make a temporary commitment to the CLC Way of Life, • Continuing personal and social growth which is spiritual, human and apostolic, with the help of the community. In practice, we expect the following: • Regular and active participation in the small group meeting of your community • Living out the CLC Way of Life as embodied in the General Principles and CLC Charism • Attendance in regional activities (around 3 a year) and national activities (usually one major event a year) • Provide support to CLC and its works Just like in Option 1, you shall be enrolled in the CLC Philippines mailing list to be informed of various activities
Should you select Membership in CLC, we shall introduce you to a number of communities based on location, schedule and life stage. You are invited to attend their small group meetings to see if there is a fit. If there is a good fit from both sides, you shall continue journeying with one community.