A few weeks ago, my son and I spent the majority of our Saturday watching 6th grade basketball games. I was proud of him for sitting through 3 out of 4 quarters and then was startled and pleased to watch him play with the gentlemen sitting in front of us or the woman beside us. We were seated right in the middle of our St. Regis fans and I was so touched by how gracious everyone was to my squirmy toddler. But then on the drive home, it struck me... we were part of a community. A real brick-and-mortar, bone-and-blood community of people. And I don't think this is a feeling many of us experience any more.
We seek out community in online spaces like groups of Facebook, feeds on Twitter, and through other platforms like Instagram and SnapChat that make us feel like we're really there seeing (while also making us feel terrible because we're missing it). Although social media has its time and place, it cannot replace the deeply rooted need we have has humans to seek and create community. We were not designed to function alone; God created us to be communal and understood that about us intrinsically when Jesus was sent to institute a new church, focused on love rather than laws.
Amidst a time of crisis in our universal Church, I can see no better remedy than to seek out and develop deeper, more rooted communities within our home churches. This is not a time to pull further away from the Church (despite disillusion with the clergy and other leadership); it is time for the lay people to reinvest in their communities. Our parish priests will come and go but we are our parish, not the just man saying Mass on Sundays.
I won't claim to have all the answers because truthfully, I'm not the best at making friends quickly (but really, are any of us?) I can tell you this though... in every situation you feel awkward, uncomfortable, or left out, odds are there is another woman feeling just like you or worse. Bearing that in mind, I want to encourage you today to be bold in the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, and intentionally seek out those who, just like you, are starving for holy friendships, iron that sharpens iron, that will feed will help you feel connected and loved, all while returning to the Father. Don't fall for the tricks of the Evil One, taunting you with your own insecurities and flaws. Boldly, bravely, walk up to the woman also sitting on the edge and hold your hand out to her, just like Jesus did for His beloved friend, Peter time and time again.
You got this, sister. God did not intend for us to go through life alone. We've been blessed with a community of believers because God knows so well through the experiences of Jesus, that humanity needs one another's support and love to make this difficult life that much better.
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