(Morning Prayer offered by three students on the public address system —Wednesday, 11, September 2013)
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.
Take a minute to think of your favorite thing. Is it an electronic device, maybe a game you play constantly like Candy Crush? Maybe it’s your car or a pair of shoes. This summer 14 students accompanied by Mr. Daly and Mrs. Misiaszek traveled to Kingston, Jamaica, to work with the orphans at Mustard Seed Communities, and these residents of Mustard Seed shared with us some of their favorite things.
Latoya loves sunglasses. After receiving a pair, Latoya ran around, smiling from ear to ear, showing everyone her new glasses, going to each person and asking if they liked them. “YOU LIKE EH THE GLASSES? I LIKE EH THE GLASSES!” But don’t worry, she’d be back in a few minutes to ask you again.
Natty loved picture books. He especially loved the book about the solar system. His whole face would light up as you brought the book over. With each turn of the page, he would jump up with excitement in his chair. Just the simple act of reading a book about the solar system – which still included Pluto – was enough to fill him with so much joy. One couldn’t help but be filled with that same joy.
The teenage mothers at Mary’s Child love painting nails. Though they can’t do their own nails because of their chores like cooking and washing dishes, they loved painting our nails and hearing about our favorite pop stars. Aliya’s favorite color to paint was neon green. She made sure all the boys had at least one of their hands done in that color.
Takiesha loves bracelets, and hearing everyone’s gossip, especially if it has to do with the boys. She could not contribute to the conversation, but she could listen intently from her chair and giggle if the person you were talking about walked by. But don’t worry, she wouldn’t blow your cover. If a boy came in, suspicious that you were telling stories about him, she’d just grab his hand and distract him with her beautiful bead bracelets.
Paul loves his big literature text book. Even though he is only about 6 or 7 and can’t read or say anything himself, he loves sitting on your lap, nestled under your chin, listening to the stories in the book. After a while he’d fall asleep and you’d have to carry him, with the book, back to his cottage for a nap.
Mary loves food. Being one of the tallest and most active residents, Mary eats much more than the others. While eating her huge bowl of bread and water, she has to stop after every bite to sing and clap. Even though it could get tiring feeding her bite by bite, you can’t help but smile and laugh along with her. Mary was so happy and so genuinely enjoyed every second that one couldn’t help but feel the same way, couldn’t help but smile and sing with her. It would take more than a half an hour, but once the bowl was completely finished, you would ache all over—your arms from holding up the bowl and spoon for so long, and your cheeks from smiling and laughing with this girl who had love radiating out from her.
Tyrone loves soccer. He can’t run around and score goals with you, but he can kick the ball from his chair like a pro. I spent hours over the course of the week tossing him the ball, then catching it as he kicked it straight back to me. He was so excited every time someone came by to watch. His enthusiasm is just so contagious.
Cedric loves helping out and holding hands. As I walked down one of the dirt paths, he was carrying a bucket, going to the pump to fill it with water. He saw me walking alone and immediately took hold of my hand and brought me on his errand with him. We couldn’t have a conversation during our walk, but sometimes the quiet says more than words ever could.
The kids at Mustard Seed Communities love, and they don’t just love their toys, books, or songs. They loved us. They taught us how to love all the gifts God gives us, no matter how big or small, and how to love one another. They taught us to see people for all that is good within them, and how important they are in our lives.
There is a quote that says, “This person holds within them an angel—one sent to you for some higher purpose; to teach you an important lesson or to help you in a perilous time.” The children of Mustard Seed had God within them, and showed us how God is present in all of us. They were our angels for a week, and now we must follow their example and be angels for others, hold God within us, and make Him visible in everyone we meet.
Let us pray. Dear Lord, help us to see the goodness and gifts with which you have blessed us. Help us to find the angels in our lives, and to love and care for others as we wish to be loved.
Saint John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts forever.
Afternoon Reflection: What angels have you encountered today? Did you try to be an angel for somebody else? In whom did you see and feel God’s love?