BY SISTER LAURETTA LEIPZIG
A wise sage sat each night and gazed thoughtfully at the stars that filled the skies a million-fold. Then, one day, he was observing a friend who was living what he thought a very selfish life, wanting only to serve himself. This person’s actions clearly displayed his desire to better himself, but sadly at the cost of others. In an honest conversation the sage confronted his friend. “If God wanted us to be alone,” the sage told his friend, “and not work with or care about others’ needs, God would have put each of us on our own individual star for there are millions of them in the heavens.”
Unfortunately we live in a society that encourages independence and self-sufficiency rules over all other virtues. So do we really need each other? Do others need us? We might begin by acknowledging that real love is impossible in isolation. Love needs interaction. When we live totally independently we are poorer because others’ benefits are lost to us. What we lack, we cannot or will not get. In order to receive the good things of our brothers and sisters we must interact with them. Similarly, if we are a “lone ranger” others are poorer because they are deprived of our gifts for them. C.S. Lewis termed this “one vast need.” 1 Corinthians, Chapter 12 is very clear on our need to understand the Body of Christ in addressing this situation. Paul tells us “there are different kinds of spiritual gifts, different forms of service, but the same Lord. To each individual the Spirit it given for some benefit.” He goes on to say that there are many parts to the Body…and there can be no division, but we must have the same concern for one another as the individual parts of a body have for the whole. In other words, we need each other.
The idea of selfish isolation and love are clearly in opposition. We – each of us and all of us – need to be stimulated to give our love to our brothers and sisters.. And we also need to encourage others to share their love with us and everyone else. It is absolutely necessary that, as church and as a community, we give others the gifts we have as well as receive from others the gifts God has given them for our benefit. If we are “one vast need” we cannot ever say that we are not needed or we don’t need others. God has created us to be in union with one another so that we can serve each other as one family. We need church. We need a community that upholds the gospel message and that calls us to express our faith in love and service. We are not and cannot ever be an individual living on our own star!