Today we celebrate the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary—that beautiful feast that images the joyful scene when Mary and Elizabeth share the gift of their enthusiasm and love as they "meet" one another's child for the first time. It's here in this unexpected encounter that they both give and receive the generous gift of hospitality, the gift of presence.
This mutual giving and receiving reminds me of the gift we at Emmaus House have recently enjoyed.
Emmaus has recently been privileged to welcome and host some of the Children of the Oakridge Neighborhood and their tutors. Every Wednesday afternoon the house was filled with the sounds of laughter and the busyness of kindergarten through 4th grade children, all who live in the neighborhood immediately east of Emmaus and have been in this country less than a year. As the Emmaus doors opened and we greeted one another, the children spilled throughout the downstairs where their tutors coached them in reading, math, and English language skills.
This ordinary action of meeting and greeting, of offering presence to one another, is as sacred a moment as was the feast that we celebrate. As we opened and shared the physical space of Emmaus House for which the children might be present, the presence of these children offered us opportunity for greater space within us.
The Gift of Presence, Emmaus House and the Children of Oakridge; what amazing,unexpected gift to one another.