Community as a Monastic Calling

In yesterday's post I shared a quip I offered my son Aidan:

"The crucible of your irritation is the arena of your moral perfection."

I went on to speak about family life as a "domestic monastery," the intimate sphere where we pursue holiness in the hard work of living with and getting along together. It's in the irritations and frustrations and tedium of family life where we struggle toward sanctification. Family life is a monastic calling.

But really, it's not just family life. Any community will do. The irritations at work or at church all become the crucibles where we strive toward moral perfection. I'm reminded of one of my favorite quotes from Jean Vanier:
Community is the place where our limitations, our fears and our egotism are revealed to us. We discover our poverty and our weaknesses, our inability to get on with some people, our mental and emotional blocks, our affective and sexual disturbances, our seemingly insatiable desires, our frustrations and jealousies, our hatred and our wish to destroy. While we are alone, we could believe we loved everyone. Now that we are with others, living with them all the time, we realise how incapable we are of loving, how much we deny to others, how closed in on ourselves we are.
In this sense, community itself--any community--is a monastic calling, the crucibles where holiness is pursued and formed.

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