formationgrowing to full maturity in Christ
The members of the Collaborators of Your Joy seek to live out the charism of the Apostles of the Interior Life according to their respective state of life. Their formation is based on the four pillars of the charism:
Prayer: Collaborators partake in the mystical aspect of the community by forming themselves in the habit of daily mental prayer, thanksgiving after receiving Communion, and frequent reception of the Sacraments. Mental prayer allows individuals to spend time with God seeking out His will for them every day. It is a primary method of transformation, whereby we have a dialogue with Christ that leaves us more like Him. In this dialogue with Christ, we emphasize what one of the great spiritual writers, St. Francis de Sales, so stressed in his explanation of mental prayer in Introduction to the Devout Life, that Spending time in thanksgiving after Communion gives us the opportunity to experience deep intimacy with Jesus. It is a time when we can ask for the graces we need to live out his will and share with him our thoughts and concerns. It is a time when we can thank him for the abundant blessings he has given us. Frequent reception of the Sacraments (particularly the Eucharist and Reconciliation) deepens our life of Grace. The mission of the Collaborators is to cultivate this deep interior life of prayer. Regular spiritual direction aids in this development.
Community: We are called to live in communion with the Church, the body of Christ. Thus it is important to be present to our families, parishes, friends, and others we are in contact with on a daily basis and not be isolated. Forming spiritual friendships and praying with others aids our own spiritual growth and the growth of others by together becoming more closely united to God. It holds us spiritually accountable and challenges us to become who we are meant to be through sharing joys, struggles, and insights, and giving and receiving advice and wisdom. Our natural affiliations and interactions are consequently infused with grace, joy, love, and prayer that ‘speaks’ of Christ and invites others to encounter Him.
Formation: Collaborators focus on two aspects of formation: intellectual and human. Intellectual formation involves learning more about God, who He is, how He created us, and how in His Divine Plan He sent Jesus to redeem us. It involves learning more about the Church and our faith through reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church, reading spiritual books, reading documents of the Church, or attending a theology class. This allows a Collaborator to better understand the Catholic faith and, as a result, be more capable of sharing it with others. The other aspect of formation is human formation. This involves forming, with the help of God’s grace, our will, thoughts, feelings, and emotions so that we can better understand ourselves and how God works in our lives. This involves leading a life of balance so that one aspect of our lives is not overwhelming the others. Human formation allows us to grow closer to God while purifying ourselves of faults and vices and turning them into virtues and fruits. Formation encompasses all our life—our whole being is formed and likened to Christ.
Apostolate: Collaborators partake in the apostolate of the AVI sisters and brothers by spreading the ideal of the interior life through leading others to a personal relationship with God (deeper holiness), through teaching others or speaking about the importance of a daily prayer life, the growth of virtue, and balance of life. Collaborators must meet people with love where they are at, taking Jesus as model and teacher. At times they are invited by the sisters to assist them in some evangelization, according to their availability.