Benedictine Values: Community

Think it sounds romantic to gather in the chapel at 6:30 every morning to pray? Let me tell you, some days 6:30 comes way too early. But this, my friends, is one of the realities of life in community: you will be at prayers every morning, or you will be missed.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

That’s because until just a few years ago, I knew all too well what it was like NOT to be held accountable for … anything, really. Oh, I had my job (I taught kindergarten at a Catholic grade school in Cedar Rapids, Iowa), and I sang in the church choir. But living alone became an increasingly empty experience. When I discovered the Benedictine Sisters, I knew that would all change.

And it did. Life in community has its ups and downs, for sure. There’s no leaving dishes in the sink for later! And shoes better be stored in your bedroom! But that’s the small stuff. The big stuff is what counts.

And the big stuff is about Support. Community life supports me in many incredible ways.

For example, my Sisters support my ministry. They are always ready to help with classroom projects. They always ask how my day was when I get home. They never mind the little nose and fingerprints on the chapel windows after a class visit. And they’ve collected so many empty toilet paper rolls that Chester, my classroom gerbil, is set for life!

My Sisters support my emotions. They are always there to listen. I’m not talking to myself anymore!!

My Sisters support my outreach efforts – even when I can’t participate myself. For example, I may not have time to go to the food pantry every week, but I am represented by the Sisters who do go. In our community, where there is one of us, there are all of us!

Living in community helps you learn and grow. (It also makes your weaknesses more visible – when you’re alone, you don’t notice them much!)

We need people to guide us and make us better. I like Sister Phyllis’ image of us as a bunch of rocks in a river. Community is the river that helps polish us and smooth our rough edges. It helps us be who we are meant to be, with one another and with God.

And if I have to get to chapel by 6:30 every morning, so be it. Like I said, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

If you are looking for more meaning in your life, email me at smacdonald@smmsisters.org. I’d love to talk!!

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