“…and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (IB Hebrews 10:24-25). This is a quote from Hebrews about the undeniable importance of community.
Over the course of my growing up years, I have developed many friendships with siblings, relatives, friends, good men, priests and others who have been role models to me and have encouraged me in all aspects of life. These people have shaped me into the person standing before you today.
In my years at Christiana, the same thing has happened: formation through communion. Whether it be elephant tooth paste explosions with my classmates in chemistry or having a rigorous conversation on theology in Great Books, these experiences with friends, teachers, and other role models have helped me know more about others, about myself, and about God. And ultimately, the relationships I have had with others have taught me how to love. While it may be great to learn about Utopian ideals or Plato’s perfect Republic, they do not compare with real examples of holy and fruitful communities among men and women. Over the 13 years that I have attended Christiana, I have been largely a beneficiary of these kinds of communities.
However, I am not meant to be a mere recipient of love and support, but a giver of them as well. After all, as we learned from St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, the Spousal meaning of the body is both 100% receiving and 100% gift of self. I have found that God desires this relationship with all of us. And if with Him, then also with our brothers and sisters throughout the world.
So while my involvement in the world in the next stages of my life may not solve any world class issues like the spread of terrorism and acts of hatred, violence, and destruction, I know that no matter how fast these evils spread, acts and messages of love and hope through community can spread all the faster. People these days are too experienced at pointing out the faults in others, in the world, and in themselves, myself included. Instead, we need to be role models of love, faith, and hope for others.
Albus Dumbledore at one point says to Harry Potter, “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” This message is not just for Harry Potter; it is for all of us. Dreams are useful only so much as they lead us to action. I am steadily realizing this truth in my life. This is why it is time to wake up from our slumbers, from our wishful thinking. It is time to break out of the walls we have created for ourselves thinking they would keep us safe. It is time to be a people that is after God’s own heart. But, we cannot do this alone. I have found that we must look to Jesus who will lead us out of a stagnant life and bring us into communion with the Father; and, both will send down on us the Holy Spirit anew. Let us also look to the Holy Trinity to model for us the perfect community of love, and let us strive to have such communities in the world. Thank you.