Today many worry in religious houses about community life. I write this article particularly to the members of any religious community in the catholic church.
Men and Women as religious, have been living in communities from very early time. it is very clear that they have come together for a purpose of their life.
It is understood that leaving everything behind and coming to a place where you live the rest of your life is with a purpose.
If you don’t have a higher purpose in your life, you have certainly no intention to leave the world behind and come to a life to live in community.
You could see below how the term community is understood widely.
“A community is commonly considered a social unit who have something in common, such as norms, values, or identity. Often – but not always – communities share a sense of place that is situated in a given geographical area (e.g. a country, village, town, or neighborhood). Durable relations that extend beyond immediate genealogical ties also define a sense of community. People tend to define those social ties as important to their identity, practice, and roles in social institutions like family, home, work, government, society, or humanity, at large.Although communities are usually small relative to personal social ties (micro-level), “community” may also refer to large group affiliations, such as national communities, international communities, and virtual communities.
The word “community” derives from the Old French comuneté, which comes from the Latin communitas “community”, “public spirit” (from Latin communis, “shared in common”).
Human communities may share intent, belief, resources, preferences, needs, and risks in common, affecting the identity of the participants and their degree of cohesiveness.” en.wikipedia.org
1. Purpose of Community life.
From very ancient time men and women come together to live in communities, sacrificing worldly desires and worldly way of life. The date goes back to many centuries.
Now if you are in a community life let me asked you some questions just to help you to identify your purpose of your chosen community life.
Have you chosen community life in order to for accomplish some mission entrusted to you by the same community? Have you chosen community life just to fulfil certain commitment that you are supposed to accomplish in the future? Have you chosen your community life just because of your parents’s vow that they have made for you before years?
If those intentions are not your reasons for community life then you need to find your real purpose of your commitment in religious life. I do not suggest anything here, because
2. The Ultimate Purpose of your life.
Each one has his own purpose in his life. You might have heard saying : find out the purpose of your life” Actually speaking no one can identify or recognize your life purpose. You can only recognize your life purpose because your life purpose comes from within you and not from outside.
By seeing outside movements and behavior one could easily understand the life pattern of a person. That is what we call psychology, but dealing within one’s own life is called spirituality and when spirituality moves you, your are moved within yourself to find out your ultimate life purpose.
The ultimate purpose of your life always comes from within you and not from outside. You have chosen a community life, leaving the world and its ways of life behind, to spend much time to go within yourself is listen to your real call of life purpose.
3. Earthly mission is not your ultimate purpose of your life.
I always hear people saying that we are called for a mission and I have being doing so. Whoever comes to this planet should do some mission or work till he leaves this planet.
It is always good to go for a mission with the intention of helping others spiritually and intellectually. The problem comes when we guide others spiritually and intellectually though in reality we don’t know who we are . Do you remember the words of Jesus? Then Jesus gave the following illustration: “Can one blind person lead another? Won’t they both fall into a ditch?”. Luke 6:39
Before you start a mission of your life in this world, pay more attention to find out who you really are and liberate your self from all the worldly bondages.
“There two or three are gathered in my name I am there in their midst.” This familiar line from the gospels is at the heart of my experience of community life. When I entered my congregation, I wasn’t sure what community life would be like, but I had a gut feeling that I could live this way. I observed how the sisters related to each other, and I was struck by their sincere hospitality and the love they showed others and one another.
4. Learning to live within and with yourself
Before you learn to live with others, first thing you should learn how to live with yourself, and within yourself. If you do not know how to live with you peacefully, you do not definitely know how to live with others.
The art of living peacefully with yourself is the art of living with others. Being available for yourself is being available to all. Being merciful to yourself is showing mercy to others. Giving life to yourself is giving life to others. Anything what you do to yourself is doing to others.
Community life always begins from within you and not from outside.