Crucible of Love
You think you’re a good person until you live in community… Then you realize you are the most selfish, vain, conceited creature on the face of the planet.
Community life in missions is really nothing short of miraculous: grown adults, from various parts of the U.S. (and sometimes the world) and from vastly different families, decide to live together in a foreign country for the sake of the Gospel and for the love of Christ. I’m giggling to myself now at just how crazy and slightly idiotic this situation sounds, but that is the reality! And honestly, it only works because of the love of Christ – “For love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8.
Why is it that we choose to live this way? First, it is how the disciples lived with Jesus: a seemingly random bunch of zealots and tax collectors and fishermen attempting to live together because of Christ. Also, we live this way because we have been called to this life, and currently this is our path to holiness and sainthood.
Would life be easier if I didn’t live in community? Absolutely. But living in community fulfills some deep part of me that yearns to be known and called on to holiness. At this time in my life, I am in between living with my family and have yet to create my own… What am I to do? I’ve lived with roommates; I could live alone (the pure bliss and yet I know I would be lonely after about 5 hours of not seeing anyone); and I’ve lived with my family after college. These situations were great for an extrovert like me, but community is more — it is intentional. I desired to surround myself with young people who were in the pursuit of beauty, goodness, and Truth. I yearned for a life filled with prayer and service, and others who wanted the same.
Community is truly the crucible of love. You feel the strain, the burn, the tension, and the melting away of impurities in the depth of your being. To continually die to yourself and to choose LOVE. To grit your teeth and swallow those bitter words you want to spew in anger and instead chant to yourself, “This is good for me. Thisisgoodforme. THISISGOODFORME.” Purify me, Lord! Burn away what is of the world and fill me with you.
I am a better person for having lived in an intentional community, and feel unworthy of such a tremendous gift that I have received in my brothers and sisters. They love me day in and day out despite my weakness and failings; they encourage and see the good when all I can see is ugliness and broken pieces; and they have enriched my life beyond words. They have taught me to give without counting the cost, to be a gracious servant, to readily forgive, and above all to love — raw, messy, beautiful, difficult, and yet, always the best choice.
At this point I have nothing left,
but I still have my heart and with that I can always love.
–Bl. Chiara “Luce” Badano–