Seeing Community

I came across this when I needed it today. Perhaps you are stumbling across this when you are in need of it.

“The ability to see is both a strength and a weakness. If we learn to see life as it is instead of as we want it to be, we have an edge on happiness. More likely, though, we set out to shape life according to our own image and likeness.

The Rule of Benedict simply laughs at the idea. Benedict doesn’t set up a model of rarefied existence as the end of the spiritual life. Benedict sets up a community, a family. And families, the honest among us will admit, are risky places to be if perfection is what you are expecting in life.

. . . .

Exactly what do the eyes of Benedict . . . see when they look at the human community? First, the Rule is clear: love costs. It costs the little daily things – serving the meals, providing the needs, asking for favors nicely, refusing favors gently. Second, love makes demands. It demands that we use our gifts for our own communities as well as for others. It demands that we make relationships a priority. It demands that we make community for others. It demands that we share ourselves, our minds, our insights, and our time with one another. Most of all, it demands that we allow the people in our lives to be who they are and grow as they can.”

Excerpted from Joan Cittister, Wisdom Distilled from the Daily: Living the Rlue of St. Benedict Today, (San Francisco, Harper: 1990), pp. 40-41.