Community: It will baffle you


Dear me,

Being a part of a community will be difficult and you will be tempted to abandon the project of community participation. You will discover that you are not as patient as you think you are, not as motivated to connect with different people than you think you are, not as memorable as you believe yourself to be. In community you will discover that you are valuable and loved, but also the community can exist long after you are gone. You cannot control the community, and when you think you can be aware that you are manipulating not participating. 

Being in community will teach you that you are not the center of the world and that things move slower than you like. You will discover that just as you have difficultly with some people, there will be some people who have difficulty with you! You will discover you are just as weird and broken as the next person, but you will hesitate sharing that with them. Please resist this hesitation. The only way to participate in community is to participate - otherwise you are observing and we both know how you tend to judge people at a distance...

So, in these parting words, consider the wisdom of Carlo Carretto:

How baffling you are, oh Church, and yet how I love you! How you have made me suffer, and yet how much I owe you! I would like to see you destroyed, and yet I need your presence. You have given me so much scandal and yet you have made me understand what sanctity is. I have seen nothing in the world more devoted to obscurity, more compromised, more false, and yet I have touched nothing more pure, more generous, more beautiful. How often I have wanted to shut the doors of my soul in your face, and how often I have prayed to die in the safety of your arms. No, I cannot free myself from you, because I am you, though not completely. And besides, where would I go? Would I establish another? I would not be able to establish it without the same faults, for they are the same faults I carry in me. And if I did establish another, it would be my Church, not the Church of Christ. I am old enough to know that I am no better than anyone else.

Love, your future self