Art of Communion

May dawns gray. My screen dawns a dull white. I yearn for the sun and long for words transcendent. Words that commune as much as communicate.

I have most of the tools of communication at my disposal but what I need most is communion. I’m not alone.

Communication We are blessed with a broad spectrum of mediums. But we’re neophytes when it comes to recognizing and understanding this blessing. It almost seems that there is an inverse relationship between the number of methods of communication and true communion. We live in this place, over-turned, unaware, missing the forest for the trees, where communication either obscures or masquerades as communion.

Yesterday, a friend pointed out the difference between communion and communication, and how we often confuse the two. As a father, he had believed that when in conversation with his children he needed an outcome, and that without one there was a failure of communication, an opportunity was missed, a point of intimacy lost. He desired and aimed for communion, but got stuck at communication. A deep desire for communion’s intimacy was lost in a kind of forced communication. When we shine a light on the two, the difference between communication and communion becomes obvious enough. But in practice, we muddy them up. We fall prey to the illusion of utility. That is, we trust communication technique over the art of communion.

Perhaps it’s our culture, perhaps it’s our insecurities, our fear, our impatience. Perhaps we are bewitched by management and order. Communication is hailed as generative of outcomes and so we construct and manipulate and are left without that special kind of energy that enables us to release and wait–waiting being a particular kind of trust.

But the good news is that our adolescent infatuation with technique–the same technique that we also use to shield us from communion–can be transformed. We can grow up. We can awaken to the truth that all streams of media are handmaidens of communion. Beguiled no longer we can take back the end from the means. We can call…just to talk. We can try silence in the presence of friends. We can play, walk, breath, break bread, commune.

If we enter the art, we find that life has its own order. Ours is to trust life to lead us into communion. Ours is to listen to life, as St. Benedict exhorts, “with the ear of the heart.” And it’s here we find communion within time and play. Just so–in the middle of a spontaneous egg fight in the backyard with his son, my friend found communion.

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