One of the graces of the community is the gift of welcoming others into our homes. I think anyone who has gotten to know the community well enough has experienced this either on the giving or receiving end.
I grew up in an environment where welcoming someone into our home was not really a spontaneous thing, but moreover something you planned and took time to organize. Perhaps it was the social perfectionism of my latin culture that implied that everything should be beautiful and perfect when welcoming someone into our home. Nonetheless, along the years, as I have grown within the community, I have learned to go beyond my comfort zone and open not only my home but my heart to beautiful experiences shared with brothers and sisters from throughout, literally, the world. This is the beauty of the universality of the Church and of our beloved Emmanuel Community.
Now there have been countless times I, myself and now along with my family, have opened our homes to brothers and sisters for either a meal or a longer stay. It has been a gift to share with them, on a more profound level. Brothers and sisters whom we would otherwise only see once or twice a year all of a sudden because a little bit closer because we are able to share on an even more intimate level.
The graces received, the conversations we have had and the laughs we have experienced have proven to be a great gift. We have also come to discover God’s love through this experience in that, just like God, when you open yourself up to others, you end up receiving more than you are asked to give. This is really a grace of the Church as a whole. We are brothers and sisters in Christ and when we share the deep bond of the love of Christ, all other barriers including culture, language and even customs disappear. What a joy!
This past week, it was such a blessing to receive our dear brother and sister, Patricia and Michal from Pennsylvania. It was a last minute, impromptu visit; a very short visit, but a very blessed visit indeed. We had a short time of praise and prayer and then we talked and shared about different things over a cup of tea. It was so simple, yet so beautiful. The Lord is showering us with guests as we await the visit of our brother and sister, Amy and Thomas and their children later this week. Another opportunity to give and yet, at the same time, receive so much.
So when you are traveling in the U.S. or abroad, don’t forget to take an afternoon or an evening to reach out to local brothers and sisters and just share some time and receive the graces the Lord wants to give you through this very beautiful gift of the Emmanuel Community and our Church.
Written by: Alejandra (MI)