To test Jesus, the Pharisees pose this question, “Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife.” But Jesus goes back to the beginning and reveals the mystery of communion: “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suited to him.” A communion of persons is possible only because of mutual help. We are not sufficient unto ourselves. We are dependent on others.
We are limited creatures, but God gives us helpers to help us bear our limitations and accept them. We see this clearly in married life but also in the common life of monks. Going one’s own way by refusing any dependence on others, is a recipe for disaster. Our Lord embraced his dependence – first, his dependence on Our Lady and Saint Joseph; then, on the companionship of his disciples, and above all, on his intimacy with his heavenly Father. We must do the same. Marriage is fruitful physically in the blessing of children but also fruitful spiritually in a partnership of life to the end. And the spiritual fruitfulness of monks is drawn out of the crucible of common life.
And so we recall a story from the Special Olympics. A group of youngsters with Down syndrome were lined up for the fifty-yard dash. Off they went, but half way down the track one of the children tripped and fell to the ground. After a few more yards, the others stopped, turned around, and went back to their fallen companion. They lifted him up, and locking arms, they all walked the rest of the way, crossing the finish line together with big grins on their faces. That is the communion of persons we will see in heaven – a communion of little children who realize their dependence, recognize the grace of God, and bear fruit in abundance. In the Eucharist we receive the greatest Helper of all, “bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh,” thanks to his mother Mary.
Photograph by Brother Brian. Excerpts from Father Vincent's Sunday Homily.