Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Intergenerational Life

It is a well known fact that one of our Sunday presiders, Father Jim, gives a great homily. Each week that he celebrates with us, he provides us with thought-provoking insights into not just the gospel reading, but each of the three Scripture readings for the week. (In fact, it is not only Jim who does this--we are quite blessed with our celebrants.)

Today though, really stuck out for me into terms of "homilies I needed to hear." (We all know what they feel like!) Jim reminded us that we already heard the gospel of the Transfiguration during this liturgical cycle, way back in our Lenten journey. But, this time, he explained, the context is different in light of the other gospels we've heard leading up to it.

The past few weeks have been about the Kingdom of God, but rather than focusing on the exterior reign, he reminded us of the utter importance of transforming our inner lives. It happens through all those tried and true ways: prayer, spiritual direction, and immersion in our daily lives here and now.

I feel like I have a bit of an advantage on that last one--immersion in the daily life--through living in community. I was reminded of that in a recent article by Courtney Martin on the On Being blog.

She writes about the value of intergenerational living and the gift that it brings us in terms of wisdom and energy. I have yet to encounter any other way to gain such wisdom and energy in one space. And while I would never trade my peer group, the joy and strength that I've gained through wise mentors have been essential to my journey. (And any one of my same-aged friends would tell you that about me in a second! It didn't surprise any of them that I wanted to enter this community.)

Yet, the question I still get asked most often about my choice to enter has to do with the age gap. Most of the time I just want to respond by saying that my sisters are actually the ones who give me energy. I truly, truly believe in the value of intergenerational living and the power of shared wisdom. Benedict even writes about it in the Rule, in the chapter on Tools for Good Works: "Respect the elders and love the young."

This weekend provided me a tangible experience of this, as I was accepted to make first profession in the community. Saturday morning was a beautiful time of joy. As I embraced each of my sisters, I took in all their love and wisdom that they share with me so freely, and not just on special occasions.

I have no doubt that intergenerational living daily nurtures my inner transfiguration.

Let us walk in the holy presence.