15th February 2016 Joys of Community Life After A Month in the Seminary

 

It has been slightly over a month since I joined the Seminary, and it has been joyful overall. I can experience some of the joys like the Psalmist in the following verse,

Psalm 133:1 “How good, how delightful it is to live as brothers all together!”

Community living is not an easy phase in life; no doubt National Service, School and Workplace, as well as family life may help in some way. However, coming from different family backgrounds, ministry and community involvement, differences in talents, abilities, fields of tertiary studies and work environments, as well as different behaviours and personalities may possibly create tensions in any community or situation people interact.

Personally, I admit that I enjoy the Community Life in the Seminary, because it builds on my past Consolations from the Lord that I experienced in different Ministries and Communities at Church of St. Vincent de Paul and Church of the Holy Spirit here in Singapore, as well as at the University of Queensland and St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Brisbane, Australia.

The Lord Jesus Christ, God the Father and the Holy Spirit have a key role in any community and ministry; the central focus should be our relationship with God translated in our relationships with our brothers and sisters, as well as with self.

That is why prayer at the level as the Universal Catholic Church in the form of the Liturgy in the Mass and the Divine Office play a key part, as well as Community prayers and personal prayer. Prayer helps us to be in tune with God, and changes us for the better and helps us to love and forgive, to accept others and also ourselves for who we are. This is reflected in the following verses taken from St. Paul’s epistles to the early Church communities at Colossae and Ephesus,

Colossians 3:13 “Bear with one another; forgive each other if one of you has a complaint against another. The Lord has forgiven you; now you must do the same.”

Ephesians 4:2 “With all humility and gentleness, and with patience, support each other in love.”

To be honest, when I was much younger, I did not enjoy the idea of community. I saw task- orientated ministry and work as the modus operandi of social interactions, until I was living mostly alone for about three years. Then I felt how impersonal it was, and how contrary to the ways of the Lord shown in St. John’s Gospel in the Lord’s prayer for us to the Father:

John 17:21 “May they all be one, just as, Father, you are in me and I am in you, so that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me.”

The challenges ahead may be plentiful both in Formation and life, because of my personal sins, weaknesses and “blind spots.  However, the truth is God’s grace can sustain us to face them, as St. Paul tells the early Church community in Corinth,

2 Corinthians 12:9 “but he has answered me, ‘My grace is enough for you: for power is at full stretch in weakness.’ It is, then, about my weaknesses that I am happiest of all to boast, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me;”

To live in the love of God, as Christ lives – this is what I hope to be able to achieve this Lent.

 

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