We are built for community. The God we worship is a community of persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Three distinct persons, perfect unity. The history of salvation is that God has saved a people. No one is saved alone. Even the hermits of the desert grouped themselves in communities. I live in community because I can’t live the gospel on my own. I need the encouragement, and the challenge, of other men and women who are striving for holiness. Otherwise, I get flat. I stop seeing the grand vision of what a redeemed humanity is meant to look like….
For most of us, it is easier to live in the truth and in the light when we do it together than when we attempt it on our own. When we share the experience of conversion and a hunger for more of God’s kingdom, we have the foundation of an authentic culture. A culture that honors marriage. One in which family life is treasured. One where love and joy are expressed the moment a woman announces that she is pregnant. A culture that prizes children, and one that also gave birth to two religious communities. A culture with a deep reverence for celibacy and the gift that it is to the world and the Church. A culture that is ecumenical. We, along with many others, have tried to build that culture. A culture in which everyone has a voice. A culture in which everyone can be heard. Powers and principalities work to mute our voice. Conformism works to mute our voice. Fear mutes our voice. But we encourage each other to speak…
To have men and women, brothers and sisters in Christ, with whom I have been able to worship God and share my life in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, in times of crisis and times of serendipity, in life and in death, has been an inestimable gift. The darkness around me is much darker than I normally give it credit for. But so is the brightness. The call to community is a call to point one another to the light. It is one beggar showing another beggar where the food is. It is bread for the journey, until we see him face-to-face.
This reflection is excerpted from the book, Unforgettable: How Remembering God’s Presence in Our Past Brings Hope to Our Future, chapter 14, used by permission of Paraclete Press.
See also Life in Community: An Unforgettable Reflection by Gregory Floyd in Living Bulwark
Top photo credit: Two families praying together before enjoying a meal, from Bigstock.com, © by monkeybusinessimages, stock photo ID: 249216940.
Gregory Floyd is Assistant Director for the Center for Diaconal Formation at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey, USA. He is a coordinator of The People of Hope, a Catholic charismatic covenant community based in New Jersey, and a member community of the international Sword of the Spirit. Gregory and his wife Maureen are the parents of nine children. They live with their younger children in Warren, New Jersey.