I live in quite a large local/mission community of religious women. It is such a blessing. Today I was really thinking about the small beauty of everyday together and how grateful I am to God for the gift of my sisters. Sometimes it is hard to live with twenty other women but it also gives God's grace a chance to work in the mini-world of the convent.
In my community weekends are a little more relaxed - sisters who work as DRE's in the parish need to be at certain Masses, sisters who work with different language groups must be at their Masses, and those of us who are signed up as lectors, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, or cantors have to be at the Masses for which we have been scheduled. I went to the Saturday evening Mass because I was reading. This morning when I woke up, naturally (what a treat!), I went downstairs to get a cup of coffee and a little breakfast. When I walked into the kitchen there were sisters in various stages of getting ready for the day - some had already been out food shopping, some were about to leave for Mass, some were just getting home from Mass, and some were on their way to get some things done in school. The atmosphere was so beautiful though. There was a joy on each of our faces that showed that we were happy to be where we were doing whatever we were doing to serve God's people this day.
Someone was making bacon and eggs and another her specialty pancakes and as soon as I, the youngest of us all, walked in I was offered any of those possibilities and more in the charity of my sisters! I opted for toast and cereal, but I was so grateful for my sisters for their warmth and love.
When I was a brand new postulant my directress told me that the way we show our love for our sisters is through anticipating their needs and serving them. I have found this to be true of every sister I have met and every community in which I have lived.
I believe, after careful observation, that the way we anticipate and serve is where our holiness is. Each person is called to a different path of holiness, for example St. Therese and her little way, St. Francis de Sales and joy, St. Bernadette and suffering and healing, St. Maria Faustina and Divine Mercy... Some things that other sisters anticipate, I would never even think of! The same goes for me. We each have a unique way of showing our love through anticipating each others needs and serving one another.
They say humility is being honest about ourselves. In the spirit of humility I must say that I am a wonderful cleaner. I will clean anything and everything. There isn't a squeamish bone in my body. Today I had many opportunities to anticipate the needs of my sisters and serve by pitching in to clean! What I am absolutely hopeless at is cooking! I wouldn't know how to cook a piece of chicken if it flew in and gave me the directions! Thank God that there is a wonderful sister who has taken responsibility for the meals and preparing the food out of love for me. Otherwise, I would eat cereal for every meal!
When I checked my mail "cubby" this morning, there was a pretty flowered envelope with stickers in it for school. Whoever put it there didn't sign their name or leave a note but she anticipated a need of mine (the kids, no matter how old they are, LOVE stickers) and she provided out of her poverty, a special, encouraging gift for me. This small act left me feeling grateful and close to the love of God all day long. We can never underestimate the goodness of our actions and the way they will touch the heart of another.
Today was a lesson for me on the community of the entire world and how we can show one another the love of God through our anticipation of one anothers' needs and serve each other out of our own poverty. Thank you Jesus for this message of love.
“What a great favor God does to those He places in the company of good people!”
-St. Teresa of Avila