“Simplicity before others, guilelessness, mutual love, joy and humility of every kind, must be laid down as the foundation of the community. Otherwise, disparaging others or grumbling about them, we make our labor profitless.”
St Symeon Metaphrastis
Paraphrase of the Homilies
Of St. Makarios of Egypt
The PhilokaliaVolume 3
Recently, a church member shared a message from Richard Rohr, noted 21st century contemplative, where he discussed how community is forged through relationship. He says “We come to know who God is through exchanges of mutual knowing and loving. God’s basic method of communicating God’s self is not the “saved” individual, the rightly informed believer, or even a person with a career in ministry, but the journey and bonding process that God initiates in community”. Richard Rohr speaks to the heart of what binds us together as people. Our common bond to the creator and our love for one another guides our relationships. However, it is not that simple because these relationships demand our whole self which is every feeling, thought, and action. St. Makarios is speaking to the fact that we must be humble to know that we do not have it all figured out and seek out true authentic relationships as a way to know ourselves and God more deeply. In community, this means we must go to those who have wronged us and have a conversation sharing our feelings. This also means that we must have the courage to bring our whole self to the table as well; all those things that make us quirky and unique that we often want to hide from the world. It is here that we begin to see God at work in our lives and in the lives of those around us. We also start to see our common bonds to our fellow created humans as stronger than any other worldly system. God made us and God made them. This is the foundation of community which demands our attention.