As we prepared to enter into the season of Lent, the Scripture readings from Sunday, February 15th have an underlying message about the importance of community and relationships. Leprosy a highly feared disease kept people at a distance and removed from participation in community (Leviticus 13: 1-2; 44-46 and Mark 1:40 – 45). We could also say, sin, distances one from community, inhibits one’s participation in the fullness of life; prevents us from coming to the table.
St. Paul in his letter to the Corninthians enjoins us, “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” The act of eating and drinking at a meal draws us together around a table as community. Have you ever considered this simple act as a foundational piece of community? As a source of giving glory to God?
Without community, without relationships, a human being suffers. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta was known to insist that isolation and loneliness are the worst forms of poverty.
This week the Sisters of the Holy Redeemer reflect on their lifegiving experiences of community:
On Sunday, the Sisters welcomed the newest woman in formation as she became a resident Affiliate (the phase preceeding Postulancy). Everyone lingered over the evening meals enjoying the presence of one another and rejoicing over the ongoing work of God in inviting young people to religious life.
Tuesday offered some spontaneous communal doughnut making to celebrate fastnacht, Fat Tuesday, Mardi gras . . . laughter and the lovely aroma of doughnuts filled the Provincialate.
Wednesday ushered in the season of Lent with Ash Wednesday. The Sisters and guests gathered for morning mass to remember as a community our need for God’s healing merciful love in our lives. We pray that God may create in us clean hearts and steadfast spirits.
Many of the Sisters are preparing to re-locate to a nearby convent so there is the communal cleaning and packing that comes with such a transition. Much of which sparks stories and memories of Sisters gone before and various events, as there are such remarks as “Oh, look at this, remember when . . .” or “I remember who this came from . . .” These sharings have been an opportunity to grow even closer as a community.
At weeks end, some of the Sisters came together to prepare and share a meal together – a simple act that allows time to work and sit side by side and share life.
It is here in community that we can give glory to God in a speciall way, to God who is community – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
In the season of Lent you may wish to reflect upon your experiences of community. What draws you into community? What prevents you from participating? Invite God to dine at your table and share with you.