The doorbell rings and we welcome women who are discerning their vocational call, or Sisters, parishioners, relatives, Associate candidates, an immigrant mother and son, and other friends.
From my perspective as a member of this local welcoming community, I hear the ring of the bell as an invitation to greet one and all to experience the union and communion that Richard Rohr names as “the goal of what God is doing here on Earth.” (What the Mystics Know p. 99)
It is union that characterizes what happens daily as we pray or as we rejoice together in times of celebration such as a task completed, a Jubilee, a birthday, or a holiday, as well as in times of the simple joys of each day. Laughter quickly bubbles up, rolls around, and runs through the house a dozen times daily. It usually starts in the kitchen but is not excluded from any room. It is also union we experience in the sharing of our personal challenges or struggles both exterior and interior. Being listened to, having another receive more than the words we speak encourages and supports us in ways that promote understanding and acceptance, which in turn deepen unity among us.
Because of our experiences of unity we have become deeply bonded in community; a community open to the diversity among us and to that of those who ring the bell. We have six members from six different cultural backgrounds, are of different generations across 5 decades of life, and six different ministries. The list could go on. This diversity gets expressed in planting and tending the gardens of herbs, tomatoes, squash, peppers (mild and hot), lettuce, and flowers; in the languages of songs sung as dishes are washed; in ways of decorating our common spaces, and in the choices of summer music or drama performances attended on “The Green.” Of course it also gets expressed in different preferences about the correct way to fill the dishwasher, and where in the cupboards particular items should be stored.
By the grace of God consistent, honest communication and a deep sense of communion with one another make living in this community a place of blessing, a place of unity in mind and heart.
Come, ring the bell.