Villa La Paz Newsletter March 2017
Posted on March 1, 2017
Filed Under Villa La Paz Newsletters
Community: the condition of living with others; friendly association; fellowship
Webster’s New World Dictionary
Third College Edition
The word community has many connotations, some positive, some negative. Community can make us think of a safe togetherness, shared meals, common goals and joyful celebrations. It also can call forth images of sectarian exclusivity, in-group language, self-satisfied isolation, and romantic naiveté. However, community is first of all a quality of the heart. It grows from the spiritual knowledge that we are alive not for ourselves but for one another. Community is the fruit of our capacity to make the interests of others more important than our own (see Philippians 2:4). The question, therefore, is not “How can we make community?” but “How can we develop and nurture giving hearts?”
When we give up our desires to be outstanding or different, when we let go of our need to have our own special niches in life, when our main concern is to be the same and to live out this sameness in solidarity, we are then able to see each other’s unique gifts. Gathered together in common vulnerability, we discover how much we have to give each other.
Henri J.M. Nouwen
The concept of community is the bedrock of all civilizations. Without community we are islands drifting on a sea of individualism. Without community we isolate ourselves, depend on our own resources and not the gifts and talents of others and withhold our own gifts and talents from the commonweal. In such a situation compassion cannot exist since compassion (com-, together + pati, to suffer) recognizes the interrelatedness of one another. If we are interrelated we “suffer with” another during times of his/her adversity and “celebrate with” him/her during times of joy. A world without community and the compassion and love it generates is what we are experiencing now. Ethnic strife, closing our borders to persons fleeing persecution and genocide, indifference to the suffering of the poor all derive from a loss of the communal life, a life in which we live for others, care for the needs of others, and reject our false selves and enter into the Inner Source of our true selves.
The prime example of community is God Who is a community of 3 persons, who interpenetrate one another, freely giving of themselves to one another in a dance of divine love, a dance of infinite outpouring and infinite receiving. Only when we follow the Trinitarian paradigm and embrace the communal life and enter into community with one another will this world at last know peace. Only when we freely embrace compassion and love for one another will we experience the joys of heaven on earth since Our Lord has said several times in His discourses, “The kingdom of God is among you.”
I thank God for the communal spirit of our home for children. As any of our volunteers can tell you there is a mutual compassion, a mutual desire to help among the children. Despite their disabilities and pain, they are attentive to the needs of others. All is not roses, of course, as there are arguments and tension at times but by and large these give way to apologies and forgiveness and within a short time the two would-be adversaries are relating to one another. The world would do well to learn from children who mirror the unconditional love and compassion of our God.
Little children follow and obey their father. They love their mother. They know nothing of covetousness, ill will, bad temper, arrogance, and lying. This state of mind opens the road to heaven. To imitate our Lord’s own humility we must return to the simplicity of God’s little ones.
St. Hilary of Poitiers
The great man is he who has not lost the heart of a child.
We thank you for your support of our children. We love you and wish you God’s peace.