"Let him who cannot be alone beware of community. But the reverse is also true, let him who is not in community beware of being alone."The quote is from Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Life Together, published in 1976.
It jumped out at me because I remember writing something similar during my walk across the country. Then I said that walking alone for days teaches someone who is independent about his need for others, and that it teaches he who is overly needy of others something of his own independence.
Vanier prefaces a different quotation from someone named Therese by writing, "the availability of some single people could be a mysterious commitment."
Therese's writing was this prayer:
We who are not committed to you Jesus, in either a consecrated celibacy or marriage, we who are not committed to our brothers in a community, are coming to renew our covenant with you.That prayer feels right to me. I relate especially to the middle paragraph. Therese closes the prayer by thanking God for this road. That feels right, too.
We are still on the road to which you have called us, but whose name you haven't given us; we are carrying the poverty of not knowing where you are leading us.
On this road, there is the pain of not being chosen, not being loved, not being waited for, not being touched. There is the pain of not choosing, not loving, not waiting, not touching. We don't belong. Our house is not a home; we have nowhere to lay our head.
Even though we have become impatient and depressed when faced with the choice of others, unhappy when faced with their efficiency, we still say "yes" to our road. We believe that it is the road of our fecundity, the road we must take to grow in you.
Because our hearts are poor and empty, they are available. We make them a place of welcome for our brothers. Because our hearts are poor and empty, they are wounded. We let the cry of our thirst rise to you.