By Kyle Cothern
My name is Kyle Cothern, and I am from Kokomo, Indiana. I am grateful for the time I have enjoyed so far in my commitment with the Norbertine Volunteer Community. One of the major lessons I have been learning in my service experiences is the practice of reflective listening. As a chaplain intern at the Brown County Jail, I visit one-on-one with inmates in need of support and encouragement as they work to make positive changes in their lives. After my first week, I was surprised to discover just how much energy I had spent in active listening—an attentive and non-judgmental approach to receiving communication from others. As a result, I have paid a little more attention to my own personal needs for rest and contemplative prayer in order to sustain the public ministry of my volunteer work.
The vibrant atmosphere of intentional community is a true blessing, but it does have its challenges. I was intrigued recently by an idea presented in Matthew Kelly’s Rediscover Catholicism, a book our volunteer community is reading together, about problems in Christian communities. Even if all of one’s current problems are solved today, it is inevitable that more problems will come along the next day, just as Jesus says to his disciples, “tomorrow will bring worries of its own” (Mt 6:34). Kelly asserts that the responsibility of the Christian is to deal with these problems while trying to connect them to one’s essential purpose: to learn to find contentment in the love of God. Such trust in Divine Providence is part of a lifelong journey of faith, and I am happy to be walking this road right now in such good company.