Joan Chittister on community

“In community we work out our connectedness to God, to one another, and to ourselves.  It is in community where we find out who we really are. It is life with another that shows my impatience and life with another that demonstrates my possessiveness and life with another that gives notice to my nagging devotion to the self.  Life with someone else, in other words, doesn’t show me nearly as much about his or her shortcomings as it does about my own. In human relationships I learn how to soften my hard spots and how to reconcile and how to care for someone else besides myself. In human relationships I learn that theory is not substitute for love. It is easy to talk about the love of God; it is another thing to practice.

That’s how relationships sanctify me. They show me where holiness is for me. That’s how relationships develop me. They show me where growth is for me. If I’m the passive-victim type, then assertiveness may have something to do with coming to wholeness. If I’m the domineering character in every group, then a willingness to listen and to be led may be my call to life.  Alone, I am what I am, but in community I have the chance to become everything that I can be.”

Joan Chittister, Wisdom Distilled from The Daily