It is through your life of gospel witness
lived in community with others
that God desires to manifest
care and compassionate love
to those who are separated and estranged,
not only from their neighbors,
but also from their own uniqueness;
to those who suffer
from want, neglect, and injustice:
the poor, the weak, and the oppressed
of this world.
They too are called
the love of God with the world
through their own giftedness.
To me, Christian community, at its best, promotes healthy human development, strengthens and nurtures our relationships with one another and with God and responds to the challenge of the Gospel to love and care for one another and all people, especially those in most need.
In my life, I have been formed by such communities in varying degrees through family, friends, in school and parish. As a Xaverian Brother, I have had a wide variety of community experiences with other Brothers in groups ranging from as many as one hundred and twenty-five down to two. Of course, some of these experiences of community were more formative than others. I have also experienced community in the schools and offices where I have been called to minister. In these various Christian communities we responded to the Gospel call to meet the needs of the poor, the sick, homeless, and the victims of tragedies both near and far. We participated in fundraisers, selling candy and Christmas cards, making donations to “dress down” and sponsoring people in road races. We volunteered in soup kitchens, nursing homes and escorted groups of young people to distant places to assist those in dire need. We continue to be challenged to respond even more generously.
The passage from the Fundamental Principles above, I believe, suggests that we adjust our focus to include those with whom we live and work, those with whom we strive to extend the compassionate love of Christ to others. They too may be experiencing estrangement and marginalization, quietly dealing with mental or physical illnesses and handicaps, fractured relationships, depression, and loneliness. Might more opportunities to love one another be closer to us that we realize?
Let us, as “A Description of the Xaverian Charism” says, “try our utmost to be approachable and available, as true brothers and sisters who welcome others and accompany them in the joys and sorrows of their lives.”
~Brother Paul Murray
1. Are there people you may take for granted, but who are in need of more care and compassionate love from you?
2. What are the obstacles that tend to hold you back?