Emmanual: God is (personally) with us

By Sister Catherine Cleary, OSB

ADVENT 1st Sunday, 2013: Ist Reading –Is. – 7:10-14; 2nd Reading – Rom 1:1-7; Gospel – Mt 1:18-24

Along with our wonderful health care nurses, I assist my younger sister, who has Alzheimer’s.

To me, Audrey is charming and precious and loving despite the ravishing diagnosis.

She is the personification of Emmanuel, “God with us.”

She, who, upon waking one morning said, “I do not know my name or where I am. Why would I want to get up?” has to be profoundly filled with the Holy Spirit.

Audrey is God among us. How else can we account for her grace and delightful disposition?  How else can we explain her surprising comments? “It’s a miracle,” she said, when she was introduced to the man who took her to the senior prom in high school. And “Oh my gosh!” at the sunrise or a dandelion or a rabbit on our daily walks to the lake.

Audrey is “God with us” when I pray to St. Scholastica for rain and she points her finger at the statue exclaiming, “You can do it.”

It is clear to me that Audrey belongs to Jesus Christ; she is called to be holy as Paul reminds us in the week’s second reading.

She is “God with us,” as she reminds people who complain about the church, “We are the church!”

I challenge you this Advent to recognize the graces and the Spirit of God in the people you meet daily. Recognize the seconds, the minutes, the times when you, too, surprise yourself with gracious words, kind deeds and a forgiving word.  You, too, with the grace of God, are God’s spirit among us.

3 thoughts on “Emmanual: God is (personally) with us

  1. God is good


  2. Hello Sister Catherine,

    I was fortunate to meet both you and Sister Audrey a couple of years ago when I came to St Mary’s for a retreat that included a trip to the Women and Spirit Exhibit. While I enjoyed meeting you both, meeting Sister Audrey was such a gift. Watching you take care of your “Sister-Sister” was very touching – the love of the Community for Sister Audrey was palpable – we were able to greet each other for 3 mornings, Sister Audrey could not remember me and we had lovely new greetings each day. Since Sister Audrey is no longer able to filter her feeling/speech she was totally honest and I could feel the love and compassion she offered.

    Visiting the St Mary’s FB page is part of my morning ritual. Please know that I think of you both on a regular basis.

    I wish you all a Merry Christmas.


  3. Ingrid,
    Thank you for your kind words. Yes, Audrey is filled with the spirit and especially loves to greet people. As a toddler she greeted us from the high chair as we all descended the staircase each morning.
    I remember you and I remember that you attended the Sisters Exhibit. Blessings on your life and I am grateful that our little reflections bring God’s peace and blessings to you. Come and visit us again. Sr. Catherine Cleary


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