Written by: Bro. Brian Poulin
October 1, 2022 – Memorial of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus
The human journey toward wholeness is one that requires the hard work of healing. My current living situation allows me ample opportunities to reflect on this reality as we six Marist Brothers here in Massachusetts do our best to support each other through our own respective processes, each with our own respective limitations. Without infringing on anybody’s privacy, I can state in general terms that some of us are dealing with the challenges of aging, some of us face observable health concerns, and some of us are still working to resolve personal wounds from long ago. Each of us have lost at least one person over the past year who was very dear to us.
Of course, every human person carries their own kaleidoscope of woundedness. Basic wellness then does not imply complete freedom from our respective pains and scars but rather that we stay on a path that allows for gradual healing to occur. When we are taking care of ourselves, much of this healing may take place on the unconscious level without our awareness, just as naturally as the minor scrapes and bruises of youth. The remarkable thing in my current community though is the extent to which we are conscious of our own struggles and the ways in which we seek to meaningfully support and accompany one another in our distinct processes.
This is not always an easy setting for any of us—after all, living with other people is tough. It is nonetheless beautiful. Here we open ourselves up to Christ the Healer who asks whether we want to be well, and we also open ourselves up to each other, each in our own way. Words of gratitude are common.
There’s something about the vulnerability we share that lends us a peculiar strength. It’s not as if we are on some kind of endless retreat together. Nor do we spend hours upon hours in deliberate prayer. Nonetheless, there is a way in which this does feel like a house of prayer, as indeed all of our Marist houses are meant to be. Houses of prayer, houses of laughter, houses of warmth.
This is certainly the oldest community I’ve lived in as a Marist Brother, and I do hope to once more live with younger brothers and those closer to my own age. In the meanwhile though, this present community is a source of many blessings indeed.
This month’s ‘ear candy’ is not a song that I expect to hear blasted in our community living room. Coolio just died however, and it doesn’t take much effort to hear in the lyrics of this song a cry for healing that reverberates throughout many of our cities. These cries can only be heard though if one is willing to listen to another’s experience. The ‘brain food’ is comes from a Baptist pastor who grew up Catholic and often suffered because of her own experience of people neither listening to her nor respecting her Catholic upbringing.
Ear Candy: “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio
Brain Food: “The Goal of Church Isn’t to Keep People in the Pews” by Rev. Aurelia Dávila Pratt
Come back on the first Saturday of next month for a new post!