Personal Relationship?

Another article, which caught my eye today…

Just because we exist in community, does that mean that we don’t have a personal relationship with each member of that community?  And does the fact that it is Jesus make a difference?

I would certainly agree with the author that a faith which is just about each individual and Jesus, and excludes all others, is not a full faith, but I think that is different from presenting it as an either or alternative.

Perhaps we are not that far apart, as I love these quotes from Joan Chittister in her commentary on the Rule of Benedict:

It is so easy to love the God we do not see but it is so much more sanctifying to serve the God we learn to see in others.

In Benedict’s mind, apparently, the spiritual life is not a collection of asceticisms, it is a way of being in the world that is open to God and open to others. We struggle, of course, with temptations to separate the two. It is so easy to tell ourselves that we overlooked the needs of others because we were attending to the needs of God. It is so easy to go to church instead of going to a friend whose depression depresses us. It is so easy to want silence rather than the demands of the children. It is so much easier to read a book about religion than it is to listen to a husband talk about his job or a wife talk about her loneliness. It is so much easier to practice the privatized religion of prayers and penances than it is to make fools out of ourselves for the Christian religion of globalism and peace.