Sunday, October 28, 2007

spirit and structures

"It is no easier to live in community after twenty years than it was at the start; on the contrary, in fact. People are always a little naive when they enter community; they have many illusions and they also have the grace they need to pull them away from an individual and egotistical life. People who have been traveling for twenty years in community know that it isn't easy. They are very conscious of their own limitations and those of others. They know the full weight of their own egoism. The essence of the challenge to a growing community is to adapt its structures so that they go on enabling the growth of individuals and do not simply conserve a tradition, still less a form of authority and a prestige. These days, we tend to see spirit and structures as being in opposition to each other. The challenge is to create structures which serve the spirit and the growth of people and which are themselves nourishing. There is a way of exercising authority, of discerning and even of running the finances which is in the spirit of the Gospel and the Beatitudes and so makes these tasks sources of life.

-Jean Vanier

Community and Growth, pp. 107-108A

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