“I Have Seen the Lord”:
The Spirit of the Companions of Mary the Apostle
The Companions of Mary the Apostle are an ecumenical community open to people of all genders.
We are weaving a new tapestry of community life that draws on contemporary experience and the wisdom of the ages. In this weaving we experience the Spirit calling us to gather the riches of particular threads of religious tradition in order to witness to God’s creative, life-giving love in the world. These traditions hold in common the single-hearted devotion to God and to others. Each emphasizes certain elements and practices of that devotion, but they are threads of the one love of Christ. While each of these threads is distinct, together they become a whole cloth binding Companions to one another wherever we are, whoever we may be with, and whatever we are doing.
We hold in common a covenant that reflects the values arising from our transformative encounter with Christ, values of love: love of God, love of creation, love of one another. We discern, through prayer and conversation, the particular commitments which naturally emerge from the covenant and our individual calls to a way of life and relationship. Some of us choose to commit our lives to one another in community, vowing conversion of life through poverty, chastity and obedience; others live in their homes by the covenant, accountable to and supported by the larger community of Companions. All share the commitment to live by these values, a commitment sealed in baptism.
Our mission is to proclaim the renewing and transforming power of encountering Christ in our lives and in the world. Like Mary the Apostle, we announce the good news of new life whenever, however, wherever we can. We announce resurrection through the way we live as much as through what we say. With St. Francis, we “preach the Gospel – and when necessary, use words.”
We do this as Companions of Mary Magdalene, who encountered Jesus powerfully in life and beyond. She experienced deep healing and accompanied him on the Way. She kept vigil with the other faithful disciples who stood at the foot of the cross. When it seemed all was lost, as she wept at the tomb, she found new life – the risen Christ – instead. Mary was sent by Jesus to tell the other disciples the good news of resurrection: “I have seen the Lord.” For this reason, she is known in the Eastern Church as the Apostle to the Apostles.
This encounter with Christ is central to our lives together. God has given us the gifts of freedom, of gratitude, of joy in being found and being loved in Christ. We share these gifts with others and proclaim the power of the Risen One. With individual seekers and communities of faith of many kinds, we share the good news of risen life through Christ’s love, in the here and now as well as the life to come.
To a Church whose form is changing in ways it cannot plan or even foresee, we share the power of meeting the risen Christ. We announce resurrection to those locked in the upper room of the Church. We look for the lost or forgotten, those not reached by the existing Church. We manifest the gift of God’s love to those who have turned away. We seek to make Christ’s presence known through our life and our ministry. We aim to support the spiritual journeys of all people, in the churches and beyond. We welcome as Companions people of all genders who consider themselves part of the Body of Christ, whether they find their spiritual homes in the Church, on its margins, or outside institutions altogether.
We announce that God is beyond categories, beyond masculine and feminine, and that the power of the Divine is accessible to all. We lift up feminine images and language for God in our practice, not replacing or eliminating masculine language, but making room for both. We use inclusive, diverse language and images of God in worship and prayer, images mined from the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures and in spiritual writings throughout the ages. We commit to ongoing curiosity and care on this path, and offer ourselves for dialogue with other people of faith about these images.
While we foster transformative leadership in all whose lives are rooted and grounded in the love of Christ, we respond to a special call to foster and equip women’s leadership. Even as women are ordained and some women come to public leadership in the Church, many people (including us!) struggle with women’s authority and power. We seek to connect all people to the Divine power that is both masculine and feminine. This power is within, among, and around us. The Spirit leads us to challenge any boundaries that limit the spread of the Gospel. She also strengthens Companions to equip others to go and tell the good news of new life.
With Mary Magdalene, we live on the border between what has been and what is emerging. We feel ourselves blessed in the renewal and healing offered by knowing Jesus. We follow Jesus through the fear and pain of misunderstanding, rejection, and danger. We are strengthened by the company of faithful people nearby and around the globe. As co-creators with the Divine, we join Her in growing Christian community face to face, and use online technologies to foster strong connections between people who may never meet in person.
Glory to God whose power working in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. Glory to God from generation to generation in the Church, and in Christ Jesus forever! (Eph. 3:20-21).
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