In Chapters 5 & 6 of the Rule of Saint John the Evangelist, we study The Challenges of Life in Community and The Spirit of Poverty. The following are excerpts from these chapters:
Community life can be a work institution, a church, a family or even two people in a relationship. Every Christian is called to live in community, but we are not just formed by the natural affinity of like-minded people, but instead we accept that God has called us together. By abiding in Him we can unite in a mutual love, which goes deeper than just personal attraction. Mutual acceptance and love call us to value our differences of background, temperament, gifts, personality and style. Only when we recognize them as sources of vitality are we able to let go of competitiveness and jealousy.
Our diversity and our brokenness mean that tensions and friction are inevitably woven into the fabric of everyday life. They are not to be regarded as signs of failure, but instead Christ uses them for our conversion as we learn to let go of the pride that drives us to control and reform our brothers and sisters on our own terms.
On The Spirit of Poverty, more and more we will come to know that we were all baptized into Christ to be set free from self-centeredness.
We must stay soberly aware of the essential difference between the deprivation of those whose poverty is forced upon them, and the way of life we choose. We continue to be privileged by our education, our access to power, and our material security. Nevertheless, the Spirit has many ways of making us poor and we are in no doubt that they will be costly to accept.
Every day we will be called to grow in reliance on grace alone and to surrender those inner and outer riches that hold us back from risking all for Christ, who risked and gave all for us.
Blessings, my friend,
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