The gospel tonight is centered around the meeting of Elizabeth and Mary. When
Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb and Elizabeth cried out,
“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” Two joy- and
spirit-filled women immediately felt the presence of the Spirit within each other.
As I prayed with this gospel, the feeling I was drawn to was that of “presence.” How
important it is to take time to see and feel the presence of God in each other?
I remember when I was a postulant and the sisters were asked if they supported my
entrance to the novitiate. After Sr. Irmina wrote her letter, she approached me and said,
“I support you 100%, but I would like to share with you one thing that I want you to
recognize in yourself. Often when you walk down the hallways, you seem to be focused
on your goal that lies ahead, and you don’t even recognize the people in your
presence.” She was so right; what a lesson to learn.
I will never forget Sr. Irmina’s observation. Her words have led me to look deeper into
my own heart and into the hearts of others. To take that extra moment to feel “present”
is truly a gift.
The awareness of the importance of being present to all those I meet is
overwhelming at times. However, the sense of peace I feel within when distributing
communion is a special time for me. To give the gift of Christ is a transforming moment
for me. This gift is challenged by the reaction I receive when the Christ in me touches
the Christ in you.
Just a couple of Sundays ago, after receiving communion, I started to go toward Sr.
Frances Yarc. I heard Sr. Agnes Helgenberger say to Sr. Frances, “Sister, Jesus is coming!
Jesus is coming!” Frances was asleep, and Agnes didn’t want her to miss receiving the
Body of Christ. That to me is the meaning of presence — to be aware of those around
you when the presence of Christ is in our midst.
How, like Mary and Elizabeth, are you present to the life around you? How present is
our community to the needs of those who visit us? How present is our community to
the church and the world? And as Sr. Agnes alerted Sr. Frances, how aware are we of
Christ’s presence so we can alert each other so we don’t miss it?


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    Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica
    801 South 8th Street
    Atchison, KS 66002
    (913) 360-6200