Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Community Laughter

Last week, our Sisters met together at Saint Benedict's Monastery for our annual Community Day. We begin the day with Morning Prayer in Sacred Heart Chapel. During the service, we commit to serve in the role assigned to us for the following year by the prioress. Next on the agenda is discussion of a topic that's important to us. This year the history, present state and future of some of our ministries was on the agenda. We all learned a lot.

The afternoon ended with three groups of Sisters performing skits about imaginary future developments in the monastery. And did we have laugh? Yes, we did! Just look at the photograph by S. Karen Streveler.

That brings me to the "serious" point of my blog. Laughing together is one of the best ways to bond as a community. We all acknowledged it afterwards. Sharing humor and enjoying one another through it, made us feel close and harmonious.

The power of humor is not a new idea. Basil Hume, the English Benedictine monk who became Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, was once asked what he thought were the three most important qualities in a monastic. He replied, "Humor, humility and humanity." When pressed about which he thought was the most significant of these three, he chose humor. I can understand why. Humility is about understanding who we are and accepting ourselves as we are; humanity is about being able to connect and sympathize with others through our shared human-ness; humor is about being able to see our own absurdity in the light of eternity. It includes both humility and humanity; we see ourselves as we are and our ability to laugh at our faults, failures and striving is a sign that we can accept them and love ourselves despite them - which is just how God loves us.

Karen Rose, OSB

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