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Q & A with Father Anthony



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How do you know if you are really fit to live in a communal environment?

Pearl asks:

Dear Fr Anthony,

I tend to be rather quiet and private. I have a few close friends and am close to my family but am not very social. I've been wondering if I am just not fit to live in a communal environment. How does one know if they are really fit to live in a communal environment? Thanks.

Dear Pearl,

There are several factors to take into account when wanting to know if you would fit in a community despite your reserve: the type of community it is; what there is behind your reserve, (its causes, the degree to which it affects normal living…), and also your motivation to overcome it. Naturally, a community in which the emphasis is on prayer and manual labor will place different demands on a person's temperament than one that is essentially apostolic (teaching, home visitation, etc...), with much more interaction between the members.
The root of an individual's reserve could be one or a combination of elements such as one's natural temperament, or a trauma suffered, or one's education, or external circumstances... Some of these will be easier to overcome than others. And also your motivation will be an enormous factor. Very often simple exposure to new circumstances and challenges is enough for a normal but reserved or shy person to begin to acquire more social skills, especially if he or she really wants to improve and really wants to go out and help others. I’ve seen it happen more often than you can imagine.

Usually the best way to find out is to visit the community you are interested in, and through your interaction with them and their advice you will most probably get a clearer answer to your question.

God bless,

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