In this year of Vincentian Family Collaboration, we rarely reflect on collaboration from a Eucharistic perspective.
The following reflection on what collaboration is and is not takes it a step further by rooting collaboration in our understanding of Eucharist.
Over a decade ago a meeting of representatives of various organizations heard these surprising words, “Don’t use the “c” word (collaboration) unless you know what it means. Rather, you should demonstrate by putting it into practice.” This led each of the participants to explore the real meaning of collaboration.
One of them wrote later…
- We learned by trial and error.
- Collaboration doesn’t mean that we do each other’s job together.
- It doesn’t mean that we implement each other’s programs and policies.
Collaboration is a journey of sharing thoughts and ideas, of walking with each other, sharing dreams and planning together.
- It is the process of learning each other’s systems of thinking and acting.
- It is learning when and what to contribute for the good of the whole.
- It is becoming okay with letting go of our “lust” for perfection as we perceive it.
- And yes, it is challenging, time-consuming, even frustrating, but, it is also trusting that our time together is well spent and that our efforts will produce new life.
At the heart of collaboration I find its true value and it is nothing short of Eucharist itself.
Christ offers new life to us through his dying and rising. Just as the bread and wine of Eucharist had to give up their individual properties to become something greater than a single grain or a single grape, so too we surrender our individual properties.
As we work together, we learn how to die to self and to our ways of doing things. We experience the power of God at work in our midst, slowly transforming us into His own Body and Blood.
This is the value of collaboration. May all your collaborative efforts lead to transformation!
The above is an adaptation with the permission of the author, Bonnie LeMelle Abadie, of an article in PATHWAYS (A publication of the Archdiocesan Catechetical Center, Archdiocese of San Antonio)
Volume 23, Issue No 2 September/October 2003 From the Director—FESTIVAL 2003: The Value of Collaboration
For a reflection on how Vincent and Louise demonstrated the collaboration described in the above source visit the recent reflection of Sr. Maggie Reynolds, DC. “Collaboration between two exceptional people“