Last night, after our community evening meal, I ran into a sister who had been trying to help one of the Dominican Sisters who lives with us with her algebra homework. She looked a bit defeated as she explained to me that she just couldn’t figure out how to solve the word problem using the quadratic equation/formula. I immediately burst out with excited chatter trying to recall the formula. “Isn’t that x=b something, something, something?” Since I was somewhere in the neighborhood (or state) of the equation, she suggested that I go offer help with the math problem. With a puffed up ego, I headed downstairs to see if I could assist. As she opened the algebra book and handed it to me, I suddenly realized it had been a long time since I had an algebra class. I was determined that I would persevere until I had the answer. Long story short … an hour later I had the correct answer (to one problem).
That is what living in community as consecrated religious is about. We try to use our gifts to help one another out. Even if we don’t always succeed, we make the effort. On a larger scale, the Gospel calls us to look out for others. In the Gospel of Luke, 10:25-28, we read about the greatest commandment: There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” We go on to read the story of the Good Samaritan and we learn that our neighbor is anyone in need.
So, if I had to put mathematical terms on this Gospel directive, it would be something like this: Messianic Equation (1 cross + 3 nails) X resurrection = ∞
∞ = infinite happiness with God.
Are you called to spread the message of Good News to the ends of the earth? Living vowed life in community might just add up to the best way to share your gifts with others.