Create Community This Advent

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Dorothy Day
I went on a retreat this past weekend with Indy Catholic. I went looking for a break from my usual life. I was hoping for quiet time by myself to pray and think about the future. My plan was to meet Christ on my own, probably as I journaled by a fire. God in His goodness knew better than me. I did find Christ at the retreat, but it wasn’t by my own effort or striving. Christ shared himself with me through the strangers who also came seeking communion with Him and a break from life. We quickly became community despite my intentions to go it alone.

The quick bonds of sisterhood began as we offered each other extra blankets and fuzzy socks even though we’d never met. In small groups we shared honestly about our lives. We recognized our basic struggle to maintain faith and our often cynical responses to God’s voice and the loneliness that’s a product of pain. We reflected on Scripture together and listened as we shared what the Holy Spirit had inspired in each of our hearts. It was just for a weekend, but we showed up as witnesses for each other. We need solitude sometimes, but there is grace in being seen and heard as you journey with Christ.

Join a community this month. Become an official parishioner at your local parish, they need you and you need them. Look for a small group in your archdiocese. Decide on a ministry to give your time to once a week. We can encounter Christ on our own, but we more often find Him in community life. I found Christ in my sisters at the retreat, and they confirmed that He also lives in me.

Beth Kelleher