Community has been on my mind recently, probably because we can finally start gathering again. There is a special dynamic within the seminary and the priesthood of living community life, whether its in the seminary environment or rectory life. Family life, of course, is a community unique to each household, and the parish is a necessary community for all Catholics. The strength of each of these communities is ultimately dependent on their devotion and dependence on Christ. If Christ is the center and the desire for each person of the community, then common ground can be had with any member of these various communities coming together. As the seminarian enters seminary, then enters the presbyterate at his ordination, then gets placed at his parish, and as he shepherds each family, it is knowing and loving Christ that creates the perfect bridge between all the various communities he will encounter.
Each of us enter community life, whether in the home or in the parish, with all of our strengths and weaknesses, oddities and rarities. We can shrug these off as annoying, or we can recognize that Christ calls us to love, patience and seek understanding of the other person’s best traits and less greater traits. That is the school of community, learning to step outside of myself in order to learn how to love someone. Christ unites us and He also guides us; pray then about the less greater traits of another person, asking Jesus to teach you how to love them as He loves them.