Joy in Contemplative Community - I FIND JOY IN BEING PART OF A COMMUNITY OF FAITH
Walking with others in unfailing love enables me to rejoice in my faith.
Listening to the Scriptures
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help” (Eccl 4:9-10)
“And day by day, with one heart, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts … (Acts 2: 46-47)
Listening to the Carmelite Tradition.
So, Sisters, strive as much as you can, without offense to God, to be affable and understanding in such a way that everyone you talk to will love your conversation and desire your manner of living and acting, and not be frightened and intimidated by virtue. (S. Teresa of Jesus, Way 41, 7)
Love for communal life and active and creative participation in common prayer, in meetings, in meals and in recreational activities help to increase sensitivity with regard to the community. Gradually, members begin to identify with the community; they become capable of owning decisions which are made jointly, even when, initially, they did not fully agree with them. It is important to recognize and develop personal gifts, talents and aptitudes; at the same time, however, we must train candidates to assume apostolic, missionary and professional commitments for and on behalf of their communities. In the framework of community, we learn to share in its mission and in its service. The work of each individual expresses and makes concrete the mission of the entire community as we are sent by the community to work and act in its name and on its behalf. (RIVC, 43).
Listening to the Tradition of Church
There indeed we find true healing, since the way to relate to others which truly heals instead of debilitating us, is a mystical fraternity, a contemplative fraternity. It is a fraternal love capable of seeing the sacred grandeur of our neighbour, of finding God in every human being, of tolerating the nuisances of life in common by clinging to the love of God, of opening the heart to divine love and seeking the happiness of others just as their heavenly Father does. Here and now, especially where we are a “little flock” (Lk12:32), the Lord’s disciples are called to live as a community which is the salt of the earth and the light of the world (cf. Mt 5:13-16). We are called to bear witness to a constantly new way of living together in fidelity to the Gospel. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of community! (Evangelii Gaudium, 92)
What do I find joyful about community life? What impact might this joy have outside of my community?
Psalmody (from psalm 133)
Behold, how good, how delightful it is to live as brothers all together! It is like a fine oil on the head, running down the beard, running down Aaron's beard, onto the collar of his robes.
It is like the dew of Hermon falling on the heights of Zion; for there the Lord bestows his blessing, everlasting life.
Lord, help us learn to love you and to love one another in the community where you have put us. Help us to find true joy in fraternal gathering in imitation of the early Church. Don’t let us grow weary of community life.
May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints. (1 Th. 3:12-13)