Sunday, April 12, 2009

Some musings on community life

If one asks about the difference between diocesan and religious clergy, one of the most common answers is community life. Religious thrive in communities; on the other hand, a diocesan priest lives in a parish all by his lonesome.

Sure thing, your idea of what a Salesian community is is different from what we Salesians know. This is not because it's explicitly inscribed in our Constitutions, nor because we devoted one whole month to discuss the subject once upon a time in our year of novitiate.

But more than anything else, we Salesians concretely experience community life on a ‘24/7’ basis. To live and work together is for us Salesians a fundamental requirement and a sure way of fulfilling our vocation (C49).

It is queer to realize that in this age of individualism, which tends to emphasize the value of independence and self-reliance and puts a premium on achieving one’s personal goal than to work towards collective development, there are still individuals who profess to live in a community ‘where their love for each other leads them to share all they have in a family spirit, and so create communion between person and person’ (C49).

As we celebrate our community day today, we also give due reverence and love to the leader of our community who has been an efficient father, teacher and spiritual guide for each of us.

I am aware that the past year was not an easy one for our community. I say this as a young Salesian barely crawling towards my first year in the congregation. But amidst the challenges we encountered, our beloved Fr. Rey did not only share with us courage and principled leadership, but also led us to the path of charity in accepting possibilities which might go against our liking.