Almost all monastic communities, and yes the Passionist Community take a vow of poverty. In an earlier blog I referred to Sister Maureen Fiedler’s article in the National Catholic Reporter June 15 titled Traditional Vows redefined for the 21st Century. In this article she says:
“So what might a 21st-century vow look like? There are, of course, many possible answers. Someone today might embrace a “vow of sharing” (with other community members or the world at large), or a “vow to live simply” in a world overstuffed with commodities.”
Remembering that article I offer a moment of simple delight by clicking on the above Youtube video. Enjoy!
This is the first of a number of blogs looking into monasteries. Why monasteries? Not just because the Passionists live in monasteries, but more importantly, monasteries have a long history dating back thousands of years. A monastery according to Wikipedia “denotes the building or complex of buildings, comprising the domestic quarters and workplace(s) of monastics…living in community or alone (hermits). “
That of course is little reason to look into monasteries. But Pope Francis gives us a hint why this might be a valuable avenue of investigation in his visit this past week to a monastery in Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis. He says in the above video “To live in contemplation with Jesus, God and man and to lead a life in community with a great heart enduring and forgiving…to treat one another with patience which often requires understanding…the monastery is a family even with all its problems.”
I wonder if life would be much different if we lived that way in our families and communities?
Many of us appreciate art. With its reliance on beauty, art can convey a message that other media cannot match. For this reason art has played a major role in the history of the church. The famous Vatican Museum in Rome has gathered together some of the great art produced over the ages, especially paintings by some of the great masters. Do any of us have a favorite kind of art, or, an art piece that depicts a certain religious scene or scenario? Would it correspond to what are undoubtedly the favorite religious scenarios that have attracted the attention of artists down the centuries? Surely two of these favorites are The Crucifixion scene, and the Madonna and Child. Which of these two, in your estimation, has captured the most artistic attention? And which is your favorite? Why might that be so?
Thank you Kevin for your honesty and sharing. I have a number of friends who suffer like you do from depression and I must admit, I’m not much of a help. I’ve heard it said that depression is anger turned inward. Well, I usually turn my anger outward, I attack. I don’t advise this, I’m just admitting that is my first reaction, I want to attack. It almost doesn’t matter who’s around either, but whoever is, they will probably receive the brunt of my anger.
I believe we must learn to deal with anger. Thich Nhat Hanh has written a book called “Anger”. In this book he gives us a number of ways on how to deal with anger. One is compassion. This may be difficult to arrive at, but I find when I am able to stop, stand back and shut up (practice the 3 s’s) I then have enough time to think that the other person must be suffering too. I am not the only one who suffers. This simple compassionate action actually stops the escalating nature of anger and brings it to an end.
OATS (see previous blogs) built community. In the 70’s we that believed witnessing to community was more important than preaching about community. We did not teach any particular doctrine but we did have a method for building community. That method was to practice the following steps.
Step 1—Hello how are you: At each meeting and every event we made it a point to welcome not only new members, but current ones as well.
Step 2—Function together: The heart and core of community building is doing something together. It really doesn’t matter what you do, but you must do something, like eating together, planning an outing or service ministry, having a discussion on a topic of interest, watching a video or whatever.
Step 3—Sharing: The heart and core of creating and keeping the community spirit going is sharing. Sharing cannot be forced or planned. The community leaders must be good at picking out real sharing when it occurs and fostering that. Leaders can help make sharing happen by creating an environment that is “safe” and “supportive”. If participants feel they are respected for whom they are, they will share.
So there you have it, how to build community in 3 easy steps.