Today I received a remarkable fundraising letter. It came from Holy Cross Monastery, a community of Episcopal Benedictine monks that Marguerite and I have been close to for more than 40 years.
The letter is remarkable for its intimacy and for the splendid way it captures the essence of the enlightenment members of the community have found together. Guests get it when they visit by experiencing the energy of those who live there in community with one another.
Read it for yourself here:HCM-on-Community
Organized religion and the practice of communal faith are on the wane in the United States. Spirituality in the form of individual practices like meditation is very popular. Still, individual spirituality doesn’t confer the benefits of a community of seekers with a lively mutual interest in spiritual and personal growth.
Covid-19 forced us into isolation. Many of the ordinary ways we experienced community were put on hold. Brother Robert alludes to this in his opening paragraph and shares how the monks gathered for their annual meeting spent time in small groups to recapture what was lost for three years. As in a marriage, living in an intimate community is work. He observes, “The soul proceeds by expansion and inclusion.” One’s spirit is diminished by isolation.
There is much wisdom packed into these seven paragraphs. I’m prompted to ask, “How do the communities that I participate in feed my soul and nurture my well-being?” And how do I reciprocate?