A Conclusion for Now
We have an advantage as Norbertines. Living a life of stability in place gives us the opportunity to journey throughout a lifetime with the same men watching and experiencing the same developments of Our Savior within each of them day in and day out, year after year. It allows for deeper and deeper levels of vulnerability and trust to develop. It is in this way that our community truly is the central focus of our lives and by doing this, Christ becomes the heart of who we are and what we do.
This journey so far has been far from easy, and even farther from perfect. It has been, however, after one year very much worth it. I can also say that it is, at least for me, a sure path to holiness and an ability to enter into and mimic the kenotic love of Christ. Unity is possible in and through Christ. Unity does not mean uniformity. Our hearts and minds can be in the same place or at the very least headed to the same destination even if they are not thinking or feeling the same things.
The intellectual debates may rage, as they due, in community. They are, by my estimation, healthy. They, in and of themselves, do not bring us unity. Life in the spirit does as it did on Pentecost when the Holy Spirit brought great unity from the multiplicity and plurality of the crowds through the singular message of the Apostles.
If we can come to love each other well, a little more every day (especially the ones who chew with their mouthes open, or who tend to curse a little much for my taste, or don’t wipe the counter after they spill crumbs everywhere), then we will love God in that unity and we will be on the path to living our Christian and Norbertine vocations. From this our ministries will thrive as they do, and people will continue to be drawn to our way of life as they have been for nine centuries.
So now you are wondering, “where is that fifth Gospel?” It is the life of the community. It is our ability to encounter, relate to, grow from and see the love of Christ in the lives of those with whom we live and to whom we serve. It is the text of our lives together as a living, breathing Christian community. It is in that way we can come to more deeply love God and our neighbor as we grow in unity as one heart and one mind on our way into God.
In future reflections I hope to touch on other aspects that build our unity in community and love for God and neighbor in the lived experience of the Norbertine Tradition.