:: Jan_recollection17
MONTHLY RECOLLECTION: JANUARY' 2017
DISCIPLESHIP REQUIRES COMMITMENT TO COMMUNITY
Many become one
"There two or three are gathered in my name I am there in their midst" (Mt 18:20). This familiar line from the Gospels is at the heart of our experience of community life. There is a saying, ‘There are as many ideas as there are heads!’. But if we put all these ideas at the service of God and if we love Him and one another, then we will all have the same idea! So let us work together all united in seeking the glory of God and the good of the people for whom we have been called to be together. The Lord gave us the sisters. We need to understand that God is Trinity, a communion of persons in love. When
we are in communion with each other, our relationship images the Triune God and becomes our primary form of evangelization. Our community is the place in which we live Christ’s command, ‘Love one another’. We cannot consider ourselves authentic SSAM without there being a relationship of real communion with the other sisters in the community.

Conflict is unavoidable but suffering is optional
There is never a time when the subject of community life is not an issue to talk about. We have done and continue to do, a lot of talking, sharing and discussing about community life. There is also a vast amount of material written on this subject. I ask myself: “What more can I say? Is there anything new that I can add?”. Much of the cry to hear more about this area of community life is in relation to the human-relational dimension. From my own experience in living the common life in a community and from my visits to the communities and listening to the sisters’ experience of the fraternal life, I sense a yearning for companionship, acceptance, respect, harmony and working together on the one hand; but I also see and hear about loneliness, isolation, individualism, independence and excessive privacy on the other.

Even the great saints in the history came across conflicts in their own religious communities. Let us see the life of St.Faustina. She suffered emotionally because often the sisters she lived with her didn't believe that she was sick and thought that she was avoiding work. Her sisters believed she was delusional and crazy because of her deep communion with God and her desire to have the image painted and propagated. As well, the Lord allowed her sisters to often misinterpret her intentions. This caused her deep sufferings. But she used to say always: The Lord said to me, "I have need of your sufferings to rescue souls". O my Jesus, do with me as You please (Diary 1612).

It is more than living together under one roof
In some instances, our communities are compared to boarding houses - bodies living, praying, eating together, going out to work and returning to sleep. There is no communion! We must not underestimate the witness value of our community life. We are asked to be witnesses of the humanizing power of the Gospel. When divisions, breakdowns, conflicts, discrimination, prejudice, exclusion and individualism are such a reality of society and the world today, we living in community together with those whom we did not choose, should be a witness to the values of unity, harmony, acceptance, inclusion and cooperation for a common purpose.

The fraternal community has enormous power to call people together ~ Pope Francis
Community life and only that opens spaces and dimensions of religious life. Our joyful community life facilitates our apostolate. Our community is an apostolic community, not inward but outward looking. The focus of its concern is being the service. The community life contributes a great deal to our mission. We have to be convinced that community life is good news for this world. Our effectiveness as an apostolic community depends upon the quality of our life together. Our choices to live together closely, to have meals together, to share prayer, to make decisions as a community, are all beneficial for the work. SSAM communities are far from perfect and have their share of misunderstandings, pain and need for reconciliation: not every community turns out to be a success. But people tell us that they appreciate our presence not only as individuals but also as a community.

It is easier to hear the cries of poor people who are far away than it is to hear the cries of our sisters in our own community ~ Jean Vanier
From experience, we know that community life is not always easy. It is unrealistic not to expect conflicts. Despite such difficulties, it is in community life that we are called to grow in divinity. Community is the first and most believable Gospel that we can preach. We are called to wear God’s smile. We are asked to humanize our community. May the convent not be a purgatory but a family. There are and there will be problems. Like in a family, we need to search for a solution with love and can't enter competitions.

Our community is not formed by the natural attraction of like-minded people. We are given to one another by Christ and he calls us to accept one another as we are. Mutual acceptance and love call us to value our differences of background, temperament, gifts, personality and style. Only when we recognize the community members as sources of vitality are we able to let go of competitiveness and bitterness. We are also called to accept with compassion and humility the particular fragility, complexity and incompleteness of each sister.

Let us look at him!
St.Francis of Assisi is a role model for fraternity. He says: “Blessed is the servant who loves his brother as much when he is sick and useless as when he is well and can be of service to him.....”

Let us create the following!
01. There should be a rhythm in our community
Rhythm is everywhere. In the heartbeats of our chest. In the language we speak. In the footsteps of our stride. We need to create a rhythm for our community to move together in our daily lives and mission is very important. Living every day with passion and purpose is also a rhythm of a community.

02. There should be a good climate in our community
The following are to be created in and around our community: ⚹ a climate for a community
⚹ a climate for service
⚹ a climate for action
⚹ a climate in our campus