Hans Urs von Balthasar - Unser Auftrag Bericht und Entwurf - Weisung. Einführung in die von Adrienne von Speyr und Hans Urs von Balthasar gegründete Johannesgemeinschaft

Unser Auftrag Our Task

The present volume, Balthasar writes, “was first published (in 1984) because of the wish expressed by our Holy Father, John Paul II, in 1983 that a symposium on Adrienne von Speyr should be held in Rome. It took place in the fall of 1985. A symposium of that kind required the publication of Adrienne’s entire works, and so in 1985, with the express permission of the Pope, the hitherto restricted posthumous works (Nachlaßwerke), which provide profound insights into her personal experiences, were made available to the general public. To many people these works will at first seem astonishing, perhaps even disconcerting. That is why the present book is needed. (It, too, was published, after some minor emendations asked for by Rome, with the permission of the Holy See.) It is intended to help the reader understand the ecclesial orientation of Adrienne’s works, to see them as graces for a foundation within the Church.” (From the author’s preface)




A. The Ways of Access
1. Adrienne’s Path to Her Conversion
2. My Path to 1940
B. Our Common Theological Work
1. Adrienne’s Early View of the Foundation
2. The Dictated Works and How They Were Composed
3. Adrienne’s Themes
4. Adrienne’s Help with My Work
5. From Adrienne’s Letters
6. My Works since 1940

A. Directives for All
1. Introduction
2. The Name of the Community
3. How the Community Understands Itself as a Secular Institute
4. Understanding the Life of the Counsels
5. The Spirit of Obedience
6. The Spirit of Virginity
7. The Spirit of Poverty
8. The Spirit of Penance and Joy
9. Discretion
10. Balance
11. New Life, New Departures
12. Old Age, Sickness, and Death
13. The Organization and Leadership of the Community of St. John
B. The Priests’ Branch
1. “Secular Priesthood”
2. The Community’s Image of the Priest
3. Ecclesial Status
4. Entry and Formation
5. Obligations
6. Understanding the Evangelical Counsels
7. Membership
8. Leaving the Community
C. The Women’s Branch
1. Admission
2. Choice of Profession and Formation
3. The Life of Prayer
4. Profession and Work
5. Manner of Life
6. Leadership
7. The Circle of Associates
8. Departure and Dismissal
D. The Men’s Branch
1. Spirituality
2. Admission
3. Formation
4. Promises
5. Manner of Life
6. Following the Counsels in Professional Life
7. Leadership
8. Leaving the Community





God the Father created this world and us men within it, so that, by our mutual love and care and by working responsibly together in his creation, we may praise him, the Father. This first theme has not been abolished by the sin of man. The Creator, foreseeing what was to happen within it, found it “very good.” Even “before the foundation of the world,” God planned his whole work of creation in “foreknowledge of the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled” (1 Pet 1:19). This Son of his he sent to us, to share our secular work for thirty years, but then also, as God’s conclusive Word to the world, to reveal God’s triune love by his life, death, and Resurrection. Finally, by going to the Cross for our guilt and in our place, he crowned the Father’s work by reconciling the world with God. The Father and the Son have bestowed upon us their common Spirit of love, the Spirit of sanctification and mission, to enable us to cooperate in bringing the world to its fulfillment in God. We do this within the world, as followers and in the attitude of the risen Lord, who lives forever in his Church. The Spirit of the Father and the Son, of the Creator and the Redeemer, urges the world on from within toward its healing and fulfillment (Rom 8:26), and at the same time he is given to those chosen and sent by the Lord (Jn 20:21f.), thus proving that the center of all the Church’s secular institutes is theological and trinitarian. The Holy Spirit is both the Spirit of childhood in relation to God and the Spirit of maturity in relation to the world, the Spirit of simplicity and joy (in the midst of “persecutions,” Mk 10:30) and the Spirit of prudence and perseverance, the Spirit of prayer and the Spirit of work, and finally, as has been said already (no. 7), he is the Spirit of both religious vocation and secular profession.

From “Plan: The Community of Saint John”