God is Here.

During a reflective time in college, I made the vow that I was going to go to Daily Mass in order to spend more time with God and to be fed by the Eucharist. In sharing this with my Deacon, he challenged me with a pointed question:

What happens when you can’t go to Mass? How are you going to experience the Eucharist then?

It was a trick question. I thought I had to go to the physical building in order to pray. I thought I had to escape humanity to focus and find God. I never thought about getting strength outside of the Mass context.

Through my deacon I learned that we as a people are also the Body of Christ and we experience the Eucharist in encounters with one another because God is in each of us.
Our religion is not dependent on a building. It is dependent on Love. Our God is a God present in our lives; not separate from them.

Instead of seeking out more Church time, he challenged me to seek out more Christ time. And I pass that challenge to you.

At Brothers and Sisters of Love we encounter the Kingdom of God breaking into human suffering all the time. Where there is life, there is God. Where there is love, God’s presence becomes known. We have the opportunity to encounter Christ each day. I see Christ in the strength and love of overwhelmed mothers and the laughter and joy of their troubled sons; in the light still found in the inmates and the hope still found in grieving families. God is everywhere.

I was reminded of this when we brought a family to visit their dying relative. This middle-aged woman was unable to breathe on her own, and barely responsive…until we showed up. Her sister held her hand and her eyes struggled to open. The look of pain was erased and in its place a tear-filled smile broke through. She still could not speak, but communicated through her eyes. She showed she was still doing okay by moving in the hospital bed. Her mother grabbed her hand, saying “That’s right! Shake what your momma gave you!” She beamed and danced in the hospital bed. We all erupted in laughter and joy abounded in the room. Christ was in that hospital bed, showing us that joy overcomes suffering. Because of Christ, suffering never has the last word.

When you read the news reports or hear mention of poverty in Chicago and the horrific conditions of the streets, it is only a partial account. The poor–who are at worst resented and at best pitied—these are BS/L’s cherished friends, and they teach us about the power of God and God’s grace every single encounter.

Yes, the reality is harsh. But this is still God’s sacred ground! Shouldn’t we bring love back to the streets to illuminate that reality?

When we pray with our friends, Brother Jim begins his prayers “When two or three are gathered in your name, Lord, you are in our midst.” May it be so, and may others be aware of that joyful presence through us, because human encounter is indeed something divine.

–Megan Sherrier, BSL
Donate today via Paypal: http://www.brothersandsistersoflove.com

**(Originally published BSL Newsletter, Lent 2012)

About Brothers and Sisters of Love

The Mission of Brothers and Sisters of Love is to be a visible sign of Jesus’ Love, Peace, and Presence to the poor in gang-infested neighborhoods in Chicago and to be a bridge between gangs & the poor with the Church. This is done by: 1. Loving everyone 2. Trusting in God 3. Forgiving everyone everything 4. Never being afraid.
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