Six months ago I arrived in Salvador da Bahia, to discern the Emmanuel Community, the past several months have been filled with many graces. Particularly, discerning the Emmanuel Community graces of Adoration, Compassion and Evangelization have been especially helpful with growth in my interior life by granting me greater clarity.
Initially, I was eager to discern a state of life (life-long) vocation but after the first several months here, I began to sense a clear and strong call within my heart to focus on my baptismal consecration, my call to holiness as a child of God. This invitation, to really dive more into my baptismal adoption of being unconditionally loved, accepted, and elevated by God the Father, was really amplified by living the Emmanuel Community way of life.
The particular call to the mission of serving our neighborhood, with all it’s poverty and demands, brought with it a deeper desire and capacity within myself for compassion. While in the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament every day, I found myself receiving a greater capacity for patience, understanding, and a growing ability to love more unconditionally.
These fruits and virtues from the Holy Spirit were so needed as I sought to grow in my mission assignment last year: tutoring and mentoring neglected and abused street children from the neighborhood a few hours a week. These kids are often physically violent, emotionally estranged, and in many ways quite defiant in ways I have never personally witnessed within a classroom setting. My natural bewilderment to all these factors that contribute to their behavior was daunting, to say the least. The temptation of despair in the face of such poverty, a poverty of material goods, family life, care, and love, was so great. In the face of such realities, how can one serve and love these children with all of one’s personal limitations? Over time, I grew not only in having compassion for these children with all of their shortcomings, but I have also grown in receiving compassion for myself with all of my defects.
Written by: David (Brazil)