Sunday, 28 March 2021 16:10

The joy of the moment present in my life

groupeAt the end of a beautiful day last September, while sitting in front of my window, I see two young women with backpacks pass by. They are probably heading for the campsite 5 minutes from my home. Feeling a sudden urge, I bounce to the door to greet them. A third person immediately joins them. While respecting distancing, we introduce each other – a chance meeting that will have an interesting outcome. Catherine, the eldest of the trio is an agricultural engineer, Marie-Sophie, a nurse of Haitian origin and the youngest, Virginie, a medical student. They got to know each other along the way; they were hiking with the same objective: to experience in the Appalachian Trails in Gaspésie! Their project for the next day was to climb the mountain behind my house where they would spend the night at a shelter.

I spontaneously invite them to have breakfast with me next morning; pancakes on the menu! Surprised, they tell me that they will leave early, around 7:00 a.m. and don't want to wake me. Laughing, I tell them I'm up at 5:55 a.m. Why 5:55 a.m., they wonder? My answer is simple: "I'll explain this to you at breakfast tomorrow morning." This ten minute encounter, called, “living in the present moment,” will have an impact on each of us. Our founder, Father Parent, often told us to be attentive and faithful to the Holy Spirit in the present moment. "The present moment," he says, "is a door to eternity which opens us to a dimension of God, like welcoming our bread for the day"!

Next morning, having prayed and had my breakfast, everything is ready to welcome my guests at 7:30. Seated in the “summer kitchen”, they start their breakfast while I make the pancakes in the “main kitchen” where they come to help themselves. They invite me to join them; they question me about my personal life. It is now the time to answer their question about why I get up early. This is an opportunity to talk about the spirituality of the 555s and my Oblate commitment. They learn that lay people can live consecrated in the midst of the world. What a revelation for them! As they are about to leave, they expressed their appreciation: “Thank you for welcoming us for breakfast and for sharing beautiful thoughts with us; I have lived a moment of grace; your sincere love of humanity inspires me to become a better person.” Then came the moment to take off our masks for a souvenir photo and to express final thanks before they head for the rue de la montagne (Mountain Street).

Throughout their journey in Gaspésie, the three hikers give me news. One, on her return to her part of the country, wrote me a long touching letter of gratitude for my spontaneous welcome. At Christmas her greeting card expressed emotion and sincerity: “Your kindness, your generosity and your human warmth continue to touch me and I have very happy memories of my time at the Anse-Pleureuse (Weeping Cove). May you to continue to witness according to your faith and beliefs. ” Another said: “I am filled with gratitude that our paths have crossed. You sparked profound reflection within me. Your prayers have carried me far and made my steps and my heart light. May you to continue to make great encounters and to illuminate the path of those you meet. ”

These are the fruits of fidelity to the present moment when I answered an interior call to “go forth to the peripheries” near my very home. Isn't it our vocation to be attentive to small gestures of love: to reach out to people hungry to hear resonate within them words of hope in their life!

Elise B.
February 2021

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