One of the essential aspects of being a brother in our congregation, is living in a community setting. Generally speaking, we do live in small groups, together with other brothers, and sometimes also with a few other people.
Our community is our ‘home’; in our community members we find our closest fellow brothers with whom we share our daily concerns, joys and worries. We meet each other at the table, welcome our guests together, read the Scriptures together and share our celebrations and prayer. We complement each other in our communities, support each other, and also encourage and challenge one another: at home we can relax and know that we are cared for and loved. Opting for a life as a religious brother also means opting for a life in community – together with others, constantly shaping and redefining our lives as Christians.
Our life and work starts in the community where we live. It is there that we give shape to our ideals of mercy and brotherhood. And it is from there that we go out to fulfil our mission in the world around us.
Vulnerable and precious
Living in community is one of the strongest aspects of living as a brother, but also one of the most vulnerable ones. As Brothers CMM we can be proud of our wonderful communities and our precious tradition of community life. We truly try to share the most important things together: not only our house and possessions, but also what motivates us. In that way we do our utmost to make the old biblical words “and they shared everything” once again a reality. Of course, that does not always happen, because life in community is indeed a challenge. In that context we also have to face our own shortcomings, in the same way as all other people who live together as a family or as a group under one roof. Shaping religious community life is not at all simple; it takes time to learn how to do it.
Many religious orders and congregations are currently having a hard time finding the best way to live in community. This is a problem that people have become aware of worldwide. Clearly, it is difficult to build up Christian community life in a context of a society that stands for quite other values and norms. The world in which we live is characterized by strong individualization, perhaps even more than we realize. Furthermore, community life often suffers from a strong work mentality, and intrusive media.
We strife to obtain a good balance between work, study and community life. We try to utilize the possibilities of the new media without becoming too occupied by them, and in general we try to maintain a style of life which is simple and credible and in accordance with our religious vows.
We feel that our vocation as a Brother CMM obliges us to show what the ideal of Christian community life can indeed mean in a world which is ruled by other values, and that it may give a credible signal of hope, faith and brotherhood. Even though we do not realize this ideal in all respects, we do try: together with others we want to give shape to living the Christian life each new day.