Church and Community

church congregation

The other day at Mass we sang a song that brings me back to my youth, a World Youth Day theme song called, “We Are One Body.” The song stuck in my head for hours afterward, leading me to consider more deeply what the song is really about, particularly in the context of my life right now.

The song is about community. When we sing it, we remember that we are in community with those in the pews singing along with us, and with the Church community all around the world.

The problem is, I haven’t really been in community lately. Yes, I admit it. This blogger was really more of a church skipper as of late. I had some reasonable rationalizations for this, but at the end of the day, all excuses aside, I just didn’t go to church much.

People sometimes tell me that they are still deeply spiritual, even devoutly Catholic, but they don’t go to Mass any more for a variety of reasons. Can we really be a part of the Body of Christ when we are not celebrating Communion and participating in our faith community? Our faith should be bringing us together in shared experience. Amid all the secular and social pressures, it becomes so easy when we are off on our own to slowly drift off track unnoticed. One Mass here, then another, and then slowly things that mattered somehow matter a little less. Everything just becomes more unclear and uncomfortable.

I got a bit lost these past few months. Thankfully, I have a great community of friends—and a spiritual director who didn’t give up on me—who gently helped me find my way back. I am finding that as I spend more time inside the walls of the church where I have found such joy and peace all my life, I feel a little more grounded. I don’t feel quite so alone in the other struggles and stresses I have in my life. It just feels right. I think St. Ignatius would call that consolation.

Church is about community. It’s how we support each other, journey together, and experience God in others. After all, as the song says, “we are one body in Christ, and we do not stand alone.”

About Cara Callbeck 46 Articles

Cara Callbeck holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree and works in the public sector as a human resources professional. Cara recently completed the Spiritual Exercises and has since felt quite drawn to Ignatian spirituality. She is now on a quest to learn more and grow and to incorporate Ignatian spirituality in her life as a professional, mother, and “woman for others.” Cara lives in the Canadian Prairies with the two greatest blessings in her life—her husband and daughter.

10 Comments on Church and Community

  1. I have switched churches a few times in my life in search of better community. When I moved to this new state I thought I had found it. The first time at mass I was astounded. Every one sang!!! Had not been in a church like that in years. To me it greatly helped to build that community. Then two years later a muscian moved in and took over. We now had a choir and they were singing some hymns the congregation did not even have the words to. I felt we were told ‘ just enjoy us we do it better than you.’ It became to me a show. Now at that church maybe half the people sing, how sad. Needless to say I moved to a different church.

    • Moved to CA from Alabama. As soon as we settled in, My wife and I went to the closest Roman Catholic Church in the neighborhood. It was a small Church by today’s standards but it had many people attend mass and especially the daily mass. The people were very friendly and everyone took part in receiving the Eucharist. At the end of mass, the priest said, “may we all become that which we have received.” I don’t shop for churches. God led me to this one and I am here to listen to His word. Oh the songs are nice too and many people say the rosary before mass. I am a reader and joined a men’s group. We are all family now.

  2. Oh my, Cara. This post touches me deeply. Thank you for sharing. II, too, have been adrift from Church for the past few months while keeping up with prayers and meditations. Yesterday, made arrangements to see a spiritual director. Hopefully will soon be anchored again.

  3. The purpose of the church is communion/community and through this we all lift each other up. Salvation is intimately involved with love of neighbor as well as love of God and self. Worshiping in church at Mass with the community is entirely different from personal prayer alone with the Lord. We need both of course but having friends and a spiritual advisor in themselves is testimony to the importance of a supportive community. We are each strengthened by community and our voices multiplied in praise and thanksgiving. Our witness to the world and outreach are made more visible as well. I believe when we can share our struggles, grief and joy together then we are church and most closely reflect ‘the human person truly alive.’

  4. Thanks for your transparency, yes it is easy to get diverted from community. Let us not forsake assemembly together as the scripture reminds us. I also agree it’s great to have mentors and friends that remind us of our calling. Blessings

  5. Thank you Cara. It’s not easy being a Christian, a number of people have said that to me and I know it from experience. Difficulties arise when we are not part of a Christian community. I hope to learn and grow with others.

  6. I grew up in the town I returned to many years ago(Unfortunately) I was always a practicing Catholic and member of choir all through my school years and later. On returning ,I was ignored mostly , later was asked to join the choir by Choir mistress (Who was also an “Outsider”) I have never felt part of this Church Community although have tried very hard to do so. Sometimes there is a glimmer of hope and some people are now friendly after my being back for the last 25 years. Funnily enough most of the clique were people who had come to this town while I was gone. My connections go back many generations. I don’t understand how people can be Christian (Or call themselves that) and still not be welcoming to others. No wonder people don’t go to Mass. I just try and concentrate on Jesus and why “I” am there and have got past being upset long ago. If we have God , that’s all we need!(St Therese of AVILA). Gets very lonely at times though! Being the human that I am.

  7. I am because God made me. I am here because it is his will. I pray for one favor from God, and that is to do His will or better yet, see his will be done through me. I suspect it’s regular people like me who attend church here, who will spend eternity with God in heaven. I want to meet with these folks here and greet them as friends in heaven.

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