It is easy to witness your faith in Lourdes. Young and old are happy to pray together, to come together in friendship and community and to live our faith by the kindness shown in so many different ways. But sadly that time in Lourdes comes to an end and we have to return to our homes and then witness to our faith can be a lonely business.
But in order to sustain our faith – this is where community comes into its own because we need the support of the community. A Christian community is not made up of perfect people. The little community of disciples that Jesus prayed for was made up of people who were, timid, weak and fearful.
Jean Vanier talks about ‘the fellowship of the weak’ and says that greater solidarity can result from the sharing of weakness and the sharing of strength. This might seem a contradiction but if you take a bunch of reeds for example, individual reeds are weak and easily broken. But tie a bunch of reeds together and they are almost unbreakable – and so it is with people.
Great strength comes from togetherness especially for weak people. There is a hidden strength and this is supported through prayer and worshipping together and by a loving service to one another and this is how we bring back from Lourdes all the wonderful gifts and love that we are so easily able to show and give to our communities back home. This is why community should be genuine and help work together.
It is too easy to walk away and join another community simply for our own selfish purposes. During the Last Supper Jesus prayed for the unity amongst his disciples: Father may they be one as we are one. This is our task as a community and it is a great challenge.