Recently I moved to a city that I knew very little about. It’s truly been a seamless transition, and I’ve actually forgotten that I’ve lived here for such a short time. What has made it such a seamless and easy transition, you ask? I have been welcomed with open arms.
One great source of welcome has been my new parish community. I’d heard a lot about this parish from other people in my age bracket. I went there and saw for myself how welcoming and kind the people were. At a recent event, a woman found out I was new to the parish and quickly made sure that I knew where she was sitting and that I was welcome to sit there, and introduced me to the people she was sitting with. On Donut Sundays, I know that can I sit at any table and find new friends. (By the way, I think every church should have an opportunity for fellowship after Mass or the Sunday service. Why is it not like this? That’s how community is built!)
Lately I’ve been reflecting on how this experience is bringing me closer to Christ. By experiencing His love through the kindness of others, I am coming to know in a greater way Who He is.
The chilling truth is that many people have left the Church because they didn’t feel welcomed.Any person who is new to a church should find smiling faces and people ready to talk to them and bring them into community.It is up to us, the Body of Christ, to witness to Christ’s love.When a person is welcomed to a church, they will begin to grasp in a greater way Who Christ is. They will be more open to learning about Him. We’re called to make disciples of every nation. Let’s start in our own churches!
All I can say is that this has been a rough week. Sunday I sat in the car shop for 6 hours after church and paid over $300, a very unanticipated expense. Another unexpected event happened that evening that knocked me off balance and involved a dear friend. Not to mention I am perpetually feeling [very] stretched with my new schedule of working full-time and being a student, as well as trying to do all the basic things that life requires. It was a week where many things just seemed to go wrong from the start.
However, I thank Jesus that He extended His love through others. Many blessings were present in the midst of the setbacks of the week.
On Valentine’s Day, my roommate gifted my single self with a card & a few items to pamper myself with.
One night, I had a child care job taking care of a delightful and very intelligent 4-year old.
Today, I called in sick to work. Most of the day was spent in bed. This evening, a friend was unexpectedly in the area, a friend I hadn’t seen in months. My friend bought me a bowl of pho. It was so healing to talk over good food with a friend about what had been going on in my life and hear about the very exciting events recently happening in his life.
The pho was nourishment for my tired body. The kindness was healing for my bruised heart.
Don’t underestimate the power of kindness! The Lord can work through your actions to bring much healing.
I walked into find this on my desk one morning this week.
All of a sudden I felt a boost of strength. I felt keenly the love of not only my coworker, but also God’s love. Knowing that someone took extra time out of their morning to stop, buy me some tea, and to write Bible verses touched me deeply. Reading the verses and message on the cup also gave me strength for the day ahead, after weeks when I felt like nothing had gone right. It was a touch from my Father in Heaven, giving me a push to be what I needed to be for those I am put in place to serve. The problems melted away and I remembered that my Father and I were in this together–it was going to be alright for me and for my clients.
Sometimes we shrug off an inspiration to say something nice or feel “too busy” to do a small act of kindness. We may not do these acts because we think that they won’t mean much. The fact is, you never know what it could mean to someone. The small things really aren’t that small. They can mean a lot and make a huge impression on someone.
Step out and do the “small things.”
What are some small ways you show you care about those around you?
Recently I received word that a friend’s family member passed away unexpectedly. The news came as a shock. I had just seen her a few months ago, and we’d spent a delightful time together. She treated me as a family member from the first day I met her. Whenever I went to visit my friend, I knew that her smile and hug would be there to greet me as well. Yet in an instant, her earthly life was gone. A surgery went wrong and it was over. She went to her eternal home with Jesus.
Though she left this earth so soon, she left a great legacy. I remember her kindness and gentleness toward all. She was constantly generous. In each moment, she radiated joy and love. She left a mark on me, one of goodness. When I recall her life, I recall only good.
We, too, are leaving legacies. It is happening at each moment, though we do not realize it. Our legacy is in our action and inactions, the words we speak and those we do not say. Our legacy begins in the small. everyday moments.
There are times when we focus so much on serving others that we neglect ourselves. Jesus never told us to serve others and forget about ourselves. How can you show love to others if you don’t love yourself? If your “tank” is empty, how can you fill others?
Guard your time with God and make sure no day passes by without it.
Forgive yourself when you make mistakes. Ask God for the grace to move forward and to do better next time.
Let your body rest when you need to.
Don’t be afraid to say “no” sometimes.
Give yourself time to heal from emotional hurts.
Take time for you and to cultivate those interests that God has given you.
Recognize your own goodness and that you are a child of God.
Once we learn to love ourselves and glimpse ourselves the way God does, we will be able to love and serve our neighbors even better.
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.”~Luke 6:31 (The Golden Rule)
Together journeying toward the Creator and becoming the creations we were meant to be.