Since Rosy’s homily on June 12, 2016, I’ve been pondering the meaning of the incarnation. The Rule of Benedict teaches us to see Christ in one another and to receive one another as Christ. It takes a lifetime to explore what it means to us that God came to us in the flesh. This past month I have had occasions to notice the significance of the incarnation in everyday life.
Missionary Benedictine Sister Marie Songmun from the Daegu priory in South Korea visited us for a week in June. I feel a special kinship with her because she arrived here the same month I did in 1998. She and I shared the common experience of being new to the monastery. She stayed with us four months while she learned English before going on to study Scripture at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. Six other Korean sisters were here at the time also learning English.
Sister Marie Songmun is now superior in the Missionary Benedictine community in Los Angeles. She cherishes those months with us and considers Holy Wisdom her home away from home while she is in the United States. On this visit, she expressed her gratitude and deep affection for our community and the time she spent here. Her gratitude and appreciation strengthens me for extending hospitality to those who come to the monastery. The gifts we receive are mutual. We come to be Christ for each other.
Sister Joanne and I had a conversation recently about how important it was to her to have one of us sisters with her while she was in the hospital and when she first came home. She said having someone who loves her and who is bringing Christ’s love to her gave her the strength to persevere in the difficult process of healing. We couldn’t do anything to take away the pain or the difficulty of recovery. Nevertheless, our presence was encouraging and healing. Our being present was more important than anything we could do. Through us and through the cards, prayers and well-wishes of oblates, friends and members of Sunday Assembly, Joanne experienced the healing presence of Christ.
Living in community or in families, we can easily take each other’s presence for granted. In reality, it is our presence to each other that brings life and grace and peace. I am glad to have had these recent reminders of what it means that God comes to us in the flesh. May we know the presence of Christ in those around us and may we be the presence of Christ to them.
Read other posts in Sister Lynne Smith’s series: Building community