Fr. Mark Miller, Companion Ruth Mather, and Fr. Jim Betzen
by Central Missouri Companion Ruth Mather
In reading the latest issue of The Cup of the New Covenant, two comments among the articles spoke to me as we move toward a New Creation in the United States. This particular publication is rich in articles about Precious Blood spirituality and how we are all brothers and sisters. These are the words that got me thinking about how well we know each other:
“…a society where differences coexist, complementing, enriching, and reciprocally illuminating one another, even amid disagreements and reservations. Each of us can learn something from others.”—Alois Schlachter, C.PP.S., “Fratelli Tutti and the Community of the Precious Blood”, The Cup of the New Covenant, No. 50, June 2021.
“…it’s pretty hard to love your neighbor if you don’t know your neighbor.”—Matt Link, C.PP.S., “Living God’s Inclusive Love,” The Cup of the New Covenant, No. 50, June 2021.
It’s not just members not knowing Companions or Companions not knowing members. It is also members not knowing members and Companions not knowing Companions. I may know many of you by name and some more than others, but I do not know you all. And there is always something of value for each of us to learn from the others. The more we know,—at least a little—about each other, the less apprehensive the future will seem. How do we do that? Conversation is key.
How many opportunities do we have to get to know our community better? As our world slowly comes out of the pandemic restrictions, what are ways we can get to know each other?
Impromptu conversations at gatherings, Assemblies, retreats, days of reflection, workshops, and celebrations. Attending member retreats and Companion retreats. And while there are a few members that sometimes join in Companion retreats, what about a more inclusive concept of Community retreats?
All are welcome at area Companion gatherings too. When other community members/Companions are in the area, please join us. I have attended and been welcomed at other Companion gatherings here in Missouri and other states. Area members, not just sponsors, often join in these gatherings as well. It’s not only a good way to meet and converse with others in our community, it is interesting to see how other Companion gatherings are held. I can honestly say I have taken something new and/or different from each experience.
If within a local commuting distance, get together for coffee, brunch, dinner, or drinks. This can be spontaneous or planned well in advance, between just two or three, or larger groups.
Except for last year (2020), I have visited St. Charles Center in Ohio at least once each year since I made my first covenant as a Precious Blood Companion. I have had many conversations with the members living there. Each year there are new residents. Of course, there are some I miss seeing because they have moved to the infirmary or passed away. But I am always welcomed and enjoy a variety of conversations. The members at St. Charles have a wealth of interesting stories and experiences. I have come to greatly appreciate their perspectives on many subjects and the fact that they share them with me.
As I continue to contemplate what the New Creation will be like, I know not everyone will be on the same page. This is expected and should be all right. But understanding differences and having conversations about why one sees things differently is important. If we understand the reasoning and/or cause behind differences, instead of conflict and apprehension, diversity and appreciation for other points of view can be embraced.
Again, conversation is key. But meaningful conversation is a challenge if we don’t know each other. We need the opportunity to step out of our comfort zones and participate in those conversations. Each of us should be looking for ways to enter into the dialogue, participate, share thoughts and ideas. We come from diverse backgrounds, have a variety of talents and experiences. Sharing these with the community widens possibilities and strengthens a relationship.
If as a community, we come together in this New Creation and collectively embrace our future, anticipation will replace apprehension. Let’s get to know one another better. We can start by watching for opportunities to have a simple conversation with those in our Precious Blood Community that we do not know as well as others. The more we know about each other, the stronger and more viable our community can be.