Together for good

The communion of saints—in heaven and on earth—constantly reminds us that we are all in this together, that each choice we make affects every other for good or ill, each increase of the good of our neighbor increases us, each diminishment of our neighbor diminishes us. And it is the love of Christ that empowers us for the good of all.

When we get to heaven, we are not going to be asked how much stuff we got done, but did we love one another. Getting stuff done is often easier and more convenient for, as Thoreau said, “he travels fastest who travels alone.”

Whether we want primarily the high and vertical mileage of getting lots of things done, or that more arduous horizontal mileage of loving one another depends, in the end, on what we are after.

This comes about in all sorts of sizes and choices, most of them very ordinary and ephemeral. Our kitchen is pretty small—get one person in front of the sink, one in front of the toaster, and one in front of the fridge at breakfast and it’s more than full, giving rise to a certain beautiful kitchen ballet with sticky substances and a few sharp objects. But there is no denying the choice that has to be made. Will it be convenience, or the particular shapes and actions of love necessary for good community life?

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