Sisters and guests seated around the dinner table

Being Christ to each other

Lynne Smith, OSB Building Community, Living in Community 6 Comments

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.

Sisters and guests seated around the dinner table

Enjoying a Korean meal with guests on Sunday, June 26, 2016, prepared by Sister Marie Songmun and Sister Lumen from the Missionary Benedictine priory in Daegu, Korea. From left to right: Sister Lumen, Denise West, Sister Marie Songmun, Sister Joanne, Paz Vital, Sister Mary David, Liz Morris. Sister Rosy was at St. John’s School of Theology and Sister Lynne took the picture.

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.

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Read other posts in Sister Lynne Smith’s series:  Building community

Comments 6

  1. Sr.Lynne, My life is so wonderfully enriched by the posts from those of you at Holy Wisdom Monastery. This topic is one that has been a laser focus in my life for a while now for so many reasons. Thank you for the message, and to each of you for the continued Benedictine witness that flows like a river of life from the community at Holy Wisdom.

    Blessings,
    Will Byrd, osb
    New Benedictine Community

    1. Will, thank you for your good words. May you be blessed as you find Christ in other person and in yourself.

  2. Thank you Srs. Lynn and Rosie. I feel the same thing with this community at the Sarah Community. Joining with the staff and with my “men’s club” in participating in this community is a privilege.

    I would change the wording of one piece you wrote: “it is our presence to each other that brings life and grace and peace.” I would say our presence WITH each other. The community then has life, grace and peace. Thank you again. I so glad to be connected to HWM. Pray with me as I do with you, Marcia

    1. Marcia, I like the change you suggest. It is with each other that we find Christ. Our prayers join yours for grace and peace.

  3. Thanks Lynne! Experiencing the presence of Christ in another really helps in being attentive and aware of the presence of God. And yes, it’s a lifetime effort to undertake.

    May the God in me, see the God in you. May the God in you see the God in me.

    Blessings

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