Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The World Imagined

The World Imagined

The World
What a beautiful place it Could Be
A place where children can run around free
And parents can live with no worries
What a beautiful place it Would Be
If people
taught themselves a new vocabulary
So that hopefully
Every hurtful word is replace by words of positivity
The world Should Be a beautiful place
If we stop judging each other by religion, sexual orientation, gender or race
We should learn to welcome those differences with warm embrace
We should learn to co exist
Can you Imagine a world like that?
How about we stop imagining
And change the words Could Be, Would Be, Should Be
To just the word IS
Let us start making the changes within ourselves
So we can change this world.

The celebration of Christmas offers us an opportunity to celebrate God who is already present within us, to wait joyfully for God’s second arrival, and to revel in the mystery of life. It is a time of many good memories: “the simple joy that we find in decorating the Christmas tree, the multiple and colorful ornaments and the stories that goes with each one, the fireplace, the little pleasures from the taste of eggnog and cookies, and the chatter…  Friendship, family, community, peace, love, happiness, and togetherness…” All of these and more I have been gifted with this year while celebrating Christmas with the Benedictine Sisters of Virginia. In this snapshot of a moment, I am reminded of the world that God created. I am also reminded, as sharers of that creation of our responsibility to bring forth happiness, love, compassion, and kindness to those that we encounter.
We started our Christmas celebration with a party while decorating the tree. Then, right after evening prayer, we went into the community room and exchange presents. Throughout Advent, each of us had an Advent Angel, all of us praying for one another. During Advent, I enjoyed going to my mailbox everyday to find a prayer, a thought, a quote, a poem, telling me that someone is thinking of me and praying for me on that day. On Christmas Eve, we got to reveal ourselves to our Advent Angel and exchange presents. There was so much laughter in that room. We all guessed who our advent angel was, but many of us were wrong.  It was nice to finally put a face on that person who was praying for us and thank her.  Then, we went to dinner.  Many of us benefited from a nap after our meal.   As for me, I needed to get ready for midnight mass, which was really at midnight.  The mass was beautiful! After mass, we invited the community to share bread, coffee and tea with us.  After our late night, we got up early for Morning Prayer and mass. And again, we share a wonderful meal with each other.
Since I started with my work in Bristow, I saw so much despair: the broken families, the mistreatment of children, the abuse of women, homelessness, poverty, and all the challenges that one faces when she or he immigrates to another country. Yet, I have also seen courage, perseverance, and humility. Equally important, I have gain yet another family; a family that is teaching me balance, prayer, peace, love, patience, compassion and kindness with myself and those that I encounter. With the help of so many great role models, I do not believe that I am changing the world in any major way, but I do think that I am doing my part.
The mystic Meister Eckhart once said that we are all a seed of God, each called to be mother of God. During the Christmas season, once again we recognize that God is not coming down to earth another time to perform miracles in the face of so much despair.  The God we are worshipping does not seem to rescue us from “evildoers”. Instead, through the Holy Spirit, God has given us the knowledge of life and death, the knowledge and the ability to choose life in all of its diversity to transform God’s world.  Like Mary, we are called to compassion, to connection with our brothers and sisters, to love one another, to share each other’s hurt and to offer kindness, to recognize that no matter how seemingly different we are from each other, we are all intricately connected, and like the South African proverb says, Ubuntu, I am because you are. In other words, with all our differences, we make up a community. Who and where is God in that community? The answer lies within us. God is present when we recognize the other’s pain, when we are not blind to the other’s sufferings, when we offer kindness, a listening ear, and a helping hand to those around us. God is present when we realize that we are part of the other, and the other is part of us, that we are not so different after all.

I pray that the good memories of this Christmas Season carry forth to the New Year and may each one of you be richly blessed this new year!


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