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The Breaking of Bread (Luke 24)
A recent survey, taken in a school for upper-middle-class American children, surfaced a startling statistic.
A Community of Nations?
A visit to the United Nations stimulates reflections and emotions regarding humanity's striving for community. Approaching the U.N. complex from 46th Street and First Avenue, you see the flags of the 185 member nations flying at the same height, placed in the alphabetical order of their country's names. The sight speaks of equality—the Stars and Stripes of the world's superpower is number 175 in this even row of national banners.
Stepping from the sidewalk onto U.N. property, you learn that technically you have left the United States and now stand on international soil. The scene around you changes dramatically (or is this one's imagination?). It seems that most of those entering the U.N. building are people of color, a visual reminder of global population realities. Clearly the human community comes in all shades of black, brown, yellow, and white.
A guided tour of the United Nations calls to mind the significant moments in humanity's quest for community as represented in the 51-year history of this organization. From the dark days of World War II, when the Allied nations foresaw international collaboration in the service of peace, to the actual Charter of the United Nations and its ratification in the spring and fall of 1945, to the first General Assembly of the then-51 member states in January 1946, you get a sense of early gropings toward the "one world" that those pioneers envisioned.
The list of secretaries-general recalls the names that have become identified with the innumerable issues, dialogues, dramatics, and sheer boredom that have characterized this five-decade pursuit of a truly global community: Trygve Lie (Norway), Dag Hammarskjold (Sweden), U Thant (Burma), Kurt Waldheim (Austria), Javier Perez de Cuellar (Peru), and Boutros Boutros-Ghali (Egypt). Each name speaks eloquently of humanity's yearning that "all may be one."
A Community's Embrace
When the reporter asked, Why do you believe Sister Diannas story? I replied without hesitation.
The International Community
Catholic religious congregations these days find themselves in uncharted waters as they increasingly move toward internationalizing their communities.
An Open Circle of Love
One can only marvel at couples who successfully manage life in community alongside their own needs as spouses.
Back Yard Community
Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller once criticized Little League baseball for its interference in children's spontaneous play.
The Long Loneliness
AS THE AUTHOR of Sojourners' "Life in Community" column, I must take exception to Ed Spivey's remarks about my lifestyle in his January-February 1996 "H'rumphs."
The Choice of God's People
Sojourners has invaded cyberspace. Or perhaps it's the other way around.
A Unifying Purpose
Clans and Clubs
From Peru to Oklahoma
Keeping the Vision Alive: Franciscan Lessons
What's In It For Me?
In the Face of Evil: The Strength of Community
Three American soldiers committed suicide in the first few months after U.S. forces arrived in Haiti in September 1994.
Seeds of Community
Raised in Community: Extending the
The value of a faith-based community in childrens lives cannot be overestimated.
Pastoring Those Excluded by the Pope
Never have I written on a more difficult subject than the pope’s recent letter on women’s ordination in the Catholic Church. As the product of an Irish-Catholic family, the church I share with John Paul II is my roots, my home, my tradition. In addition I have had the joy of being a member of the Franciscan order for more than 40 years. In the ceremony of admission to that religious institute, we pledge obedience to the rule of life set out by St. Francis himself, part of which prescribes obedience to the pope.
Over the several decades of my life as a priest, I have had occasion to glory in some wonderful expressions of Catholicism. For example, I was a direct beneficiary of the Latin American church’s conversion moment at Medellin, Colombia, in 1968. There our bishops spoke of the "institutionalized sin" that afflicted and oppressed the majority of our people, and they called the whole church to a preferential option for the poor.
Working for the most part as a pastor since my ordination, I have consistently endeavored to help people encounter the Lord Jesus in and through, despite and beyond, the necessary rules and regulations of our worldwide body. This has sometimes proven most difficult, but I believe I can say honestly that I have remained faithful to that ideal.
It is this pastoral preoccupation that makes the present moment in Catholicism so difficult. In the face of Pope John Paul’s letter forbidding women’s ordination in our church, we are left with pastoral concerns that seem overwhelming.
Finding Renewal in Rest
Spending a night together helps strengthen the bonds of community. Somehow the psychological impact of knowing that the group will stay the night and not have to "rush back," that you will rise in the morning and take those first drowsy steps together into a new day, that your initial encounters will take place over juice and coffee—these very ordinary details of life go far to build the cohesiveness that is so necessary for community. For that reason above all, successful communities include overnight retreats in their annual plans.
Of course, other considerations go into the need for regular retreats. The community needs, in Jesus’ words, to "come aside and rest awhile." Getting away as a group is good for the spirit and body of each and all. People on retreat tend to be more their true, good selves, and in that sort of climate the members renew their reasons for having come together in the first place. The common vision is brushed up; shared ideals get focused.
The setting for a retreat generally lends itself to tension-free hours. Our times have been gifted with numerous places for "active relaxation." It’s as if the killing pace of late 20th-century life has taught us the need for a refuge, sanctuary, or haven, where we can breathe deeply, sleep soundly, and interact calmly. Such locations exist in virtually every part of our country and must be counted as some of God’s choicest graces.
Retreat-goers have learned the value of free time, or better stated, time for personal solitude and reflection. There was a time when going on a retreat meant an effort to fill up every waking—and some non-waking—hour with activities. Within such a mindset the very word "retreat" becomes a misnomer. Fortunately we have moved away from that counterproductive era of frantic "retreats."
The Quiet Center
Every successful community relies on the member who is its heart. This is true for communities that live together and for those that live apart but gather regularly.
Worship at the Heart: The Pax Community celebrates 25 years
Worship at the Heart: The PAX Community Celebrates 25 Years