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unity,love and harmony by Jerrika ShiThe weekend just past was for me a time of great blessings. On Friday we welcomed a group of people – mostly new to us – who came for a workshop offered by our friend, Brigitte, here at our home. I met one of our guests, Patty, at the bus station. Patty lives in Manhattan and as we fell into easy conversation, I began to see our small town through her big city eyes. She was very interested in everything. From all reports, everyone at the workshop came and/or left very happy at all they found here. I was on the road, however, by 9:00 Saturday morning.

Saturday was full of joy in Syracuse (80 miles north) at the golden jubilee celebration of one of my companions in community for the past 50 years. By mid-afternoon I was back in the car for a glorious 2 1/2 hour ride to our Motherhouse near Albany where the energy was high. I arrived mid-stream of the annual Commitment Weekend for our lay Associates. I was happy to participate for the first commitment of four women, one of whom is a treasured member of our growing “Wisdom network.” I would think that anyone driving along the New York State Thruway during the weekend would have felt the intensity of loving, spiritual communion reaching from West to East!

Today’s lectionary readings include the gospel from Matthew, chapter 5 where Jesus preaches what we call the Beatitudes, often seen as the rule of life for Christians. Sister Mary Ellen chose this gospel reading for her jubilee celebration on Saturday as a text that has guided her living, but then she spoke of a new set of blessings given by Pope Francis as he celebrated the feast of All Saints last November in Sweden. He said on that occasion that the Beatitudes of Jesus given during the Sermon on the Mount are “the identity card” for the saints but then added that “new situations require new energy and new commitment,” and offered a new set of Beatitudes for modern Christians. Perhaps one or another or all of these will touch your heart and become a way of life and blessing for you.

– Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others and forgive them from their heart.

– Blessed are those who look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalized and show them their closeness.

– Blessed are those who see God in every person and strive to make others also discover him.

– Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home.

– Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others.

– Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians.

“All these are messengers of God’s mercy and tenderness,” Pope Francis said. I would suggest just one change to his writing. I would suggest that we not stop at praying for Christian unity but rather pray and work for the unity of all people on earth, living in harmony in this, our common home.

Have a blessed day!