basics, community, companionship, Joan Chittister, love of God, The Sophia Center for Spirituality, Wisdom Distilled from the Daily
Sometimes I just need a little of Joan Chittister’s Wisdom Distilled from the Daily to get me going in the morning. I’ve been talking a lot lately about the necessity of engagement in deep and meaningful conversation in our world to help us understand each other. With that in mind, I opened to a page in the middle of Sister Joan’s chapter on Community and found a description of Christmas preparations in the monastery and how everyone pitches in to help with everything from major cleaning and decorating to wrapping gifts for the poor. Since that is the way of things in convents I smiled and continued reading to find the important message below that I think is apropos for all of us at any time of the year.
...that makes me realize we are all in this together. Then I know in a special way that I am not alone. Then I realize with new insight that there are basics in life that are more important than a business schedule. Then I understand that those basics are love of God and fun and companionship on the long dark roads of life and partnership in the great human enterprise. We have to learn to be for one another so that the love of God is a shining certainty, even now, even here. That is the function and blessing of community. And it is a far cry from the rugged individualism, the narcissism, and the brutal independence that has become the insulation in our neighborhoods and the hallmark of our culture. (p.48)
Not one to mince words is this “mighty mite” of a woman, everyone’s Sister Joan, who wrote that paragraph for publication 29 years ago. How much more we need to hear it today! Let us think on these things and see what we can do to incarnate her message in our own life and our world.
Dorothy Hathway Forbes said:
I don’t know about Sr. Joan’s world, but mine contains poor, good, generous people who don’t grieve their poverty or their trials. Sure, they are fiercely independent most of the time – but they weep the same as everyone does; their “narcissism” is a means of survival, very unlike that of wealthy people – these traits, used wisely, can be our Creator’s gifts for those who need them. Poverty lives everywhere – it exists even in sheltered, comfortably living families and groups…it just depends on one’s definition of poverty, personal expectations, the list goes on. And how can we know generosity unless we exchange goods, comfort, etc., with people who have very little (if any) to spare? We can always “visit” the world of the poor – observe it, research the causes, etc., but only experiencing it will reveal its gifts. My question: are we here to live a comfortable life – or a prophetic life – are we here to be transformed into the Christ and help the wounded people he loved?
Kris Kearns said: