In 1836 a layman by the name of Bogdan Janski believed God was calling him to form a Christian community that would harness the power of Christ's Resurrection so that those in despair would have hope for a better tomorrow. Over the years a distinct spirituality was formed around this vision which can be described using one prayer and eight principles:
1. God loves us unconditionally
We have all experienced love. We yearn to love and be loved. Yet we recognize that often our human love is imperfect and limited. God's love is unconditional. This is difficult for us to understand and accept, especially when we have experienced failed human love. Even though God knows our every thought and desire he loves us - because he created us - and has called us into being to know, love and serve him. Whereas we may feel unworthy of his love, he forgives us and blesses us. Whereas we may find it difficult to accept others, he accepts us and gives us grace to live fully in him. Whereas we may find it difficult to forgive others, his mercy is everlasting. This is the love of the covenant, forever and one hundred per cent. God has taken the initiative with us, and loves us beyond our understanding and imagining. Our love is to reflect that unconditional love of God. Our failure to understand, accept and share this love leads to our sadness, selfishness, fear and doubt, broken relationships, and a world in need of new life (resurrection).
2. God created us from nothingness
We are creatures, created by God. All that we have and are comes from God. This should fill us with gratitude to God, and humility before God and one another. We are called to be at one with all creation (ecology) and creatures. When we realize our nothingness (without God) we open ourselves to receive his grace and to depend on his love and mercy. Our dignity and purpose comes from God, not the criteria or standards of our modern society.
3. Evil attracts us
In our human condition we are attracted to evil. Fr. Peter Semenenko wrote that this is like an illness - marked with a loss of taste for things that are healthy, a lowering of our spirit, and a lack of movement. Only when we realize our own weakness and susceptibility to evil will we recognize that Jesus has saved us, and has the power to heal us from the illness of sin. We then choose grace over sin, life over death.
4. We succumb to sin
The temptations that surround us tempt us into sin. This leads us to separate ourselves from God, from one another, and to lose true peace in our hearts. We can be tempted to think that we are incapable of being forgiven and loved by God. This lie does not come from God, but from the evil one. Or, we can presume that we are free from all sin, and thus do not need God. The author of this lie is the same as the other.
5. God calls us to conversion - Paschal Mystery
God calls us out of our sin to a new life in him. We are to die to our sin and embrace the grace of the Spirit, the truth of Christ, and the love and mercy of God. This change of heart is not an easy process, but through the grace of God it is within our reach. This dying to sin and rising to a new life in Christ mirrors the suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our conversion has been won through that saving act of Jesus, and we relive it each time that we turn away from sin and live more fully the way of Christ.
6. God calls us to community
We are social creatures and God calls us out of isolation and individualism to form a Christian community. Each of us brings our unique gifts and talents, as well as our unique experience of God, his grace, and his mercy. Jesus Christ unites us to one another. We need one another. In the 'Community' our family and our parish - we share faith, express love, pray and worship, and serve one another.
7. God calls us to work for the resurrection of society
In this community - inspired, nourished and blessed by God - we work together not only for our mutual sanctification, but for the transformation of society. The Holy Spirit enables us to share our own personal experience of new life (resurrection) with one another, encouraging and leading each other to a deeper sharing in the life of the Risen Christ. United by that Spirit, we work together to transform (resurrect) our society, based on gospel values so that our homes, schools, work places, neighborhoods and parishes may truly reflect the kingdom of God.
8. Mary: Our Model and Mother
The Blessed Virgin Mary is the first and perfect disciple of Jesus. From the visit of the angel Gabriel until the foot of the cross, we see Mary as a woman of faith, hope and love. Her faith is in God's love, her hope in the faithfulness of God to his promises, and her love for her son and for each of us as her spiritual children. Despite the mysteries of her life she maintained these virtues, and invites us, by following her son, to face the difficulties, challenges and disappointments of our day in union with her. Indeed, she is our Model and our Mother.