"The Stuff of Lasallian Community Living"
Time is flying by, and I can't believe it's 2004. I've been a Lasallian Volunteer with the Phillips Community for six months already. You're probably wondering how a house functions with five adults and two small children, all running in different directions, but united in trying to live out the vision of St. John Baptist de La Salle.
Just as in a family setting, our community members all pitch in to help around the house. Each adult has four household duties to perform each week. I sweep and mop three flights of stairs, the entryway, and the main hallway; vacuum the living-room rug; and dust the furniture. We each cook once a week for the household. My night is Monday. My mom made me a book of family recipes that have been passed down for years. My friends also send me simple and delicious recipes that I enjoy trying. I must say, my cooking abilities have grown from these weekly challenges.
On the day we are assigned to cook, we lead the community in prayer and reflection. We also rotate turns in preparing two morning prayer times. Once a month we put aside our busy schedules to spend a day or two together as a community. We've walked to raise money for children with Down's Syndrome and helped the Franciscan Brothers put presents together for families that are less fortunate then we are. We've traveled to Duluth, at the western tip of Lake Superior, to spend a relaxing fun-filled weekend playing games, hiking, and visiting the zoo. We've also celebrated by hosting a Lasallian Volunteer reunion. Lasallians from the past and present gathered in our home for an evening of memories, conversation, and a great meal. All of these activities have helped us to get to know each other, and they've strengthened our fellowship.
To me, the greatest gift of living in a community is the ability to break bread alongside seven other individuals and to share and celebrate our differences. Through our meals, adventures, and shared experiences, we realize more and more how in need we are of each other. We found through our conversations at the table that we come from different parts of the country, which makes us different in our cultures and traditions. This is very noticeable when we take turns cooking and baking on our assigned nights.
We also recognize that we are a medical doctor, social worker, teacher, youth minister, and a lawmaker. Our occupations and educational degrees vary, and we see and know that our lifetime goals are different. These differences enrich our conversations and broaden our knowledge, and they are a source of mutual respect and appreciation for each other. This respect and appreciation flows out into the bigger community in which we all serve.
The apostle Paul told the believers in Philippi to "stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel" (Phil.1: 27, 2:3-4). With the celebration of our meal each day, we join hands and hearts offering one another encouragement and hope in becoming more faithful to God's will. I wish all of you my prayer of hope and encouragement for the New Year.
To learn more about the Lasallian Volunteer program, visit http://www.cbconf.org.
Previous Diary Entries
* "Lessons at Homecoming" - Fall 2003
* "From Moraga to Minneapolis" - Summer 2003