By Sister Ann Carmen Barone, OSF
I woke up today with joyful expectation. I looked at my calendar and actually smiled as I gave thanks for the amazing people that were part of this week and would be filling up my tomorrows.
And then I began humming a song from the musical, Brigadoon.
What a day this has been, what a rare mood I’m in,
Why, it’s almost like being in love.
There’s a smile on my face for the whole human race.
Why, it’s almost like being in love
Yes, love changes everything. Believing that God’s love for us is boundless, merciful and creative changes everything and brings me back to one of my favorite reflections. I’ve discovered that God has a sense of humor when teaching me life lessons.
That you may practice charity in action and in will, I in my providence did not give to any one person or to each individually the knowledge for doing everything necessary for human life. No, I gave something to one, something else to another, so that each one’s need would be a reason to have recourse to the other. So though you may lose your will for charity because of your wickedness, you will at least be forced by your own need to practice it in action.
Thus, you see the artisan turn to the worker and the worker to the artisan: Each has need of the other because neither knows how to do what the other does. So also, the cleric and the religious have need of the layperson and the layperson of the religious; neither can get along without the other. … Could I not have given everyone everything? Of course. But in my providence, I wanted to make each of you dependent on the others, so that you would be forced to exercise charity in action and will at once. …Yet, unless you do it for love of me, it is worth nothing to you in the realm of grace. (Taken from Catherine of Siena: The Dialogue p. 311, 312, 38)
There was a smile on my face as Sister Magdala, Sister Fidelis and I were present in Columbus for the portrait dedication ceremony of the Honorable Judith Ann Lanzinger,150th Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio. The portrait does capture our classmate, Judy, whose talents, integrity and impact touched and transformed so many lives. It also reveals the woman who acknowledged the help, support and lessons she learned from colleagues, mentors, family and staff. She has chosen to depend on the goodness of others.
There is a smile on my face for my brother, Joe who took us directly to the event from his home and picked us up after the ceremony. In addition, the smile continued as we waited for him. One of the security guards worked in Toledo and shared his story. Another, Jason, entertained us and had his cohorts asking us to pray for him. The officer glued to the cameras assured me that he would be able to see my brother pull up. They took their responsibilities seriously but they also cared enough to make us feel welcome. It was clear that they trusted and depended on each other to do the whole job successfully.
How can we bring a smile to the whole human race? What will we do to help each person feel valued and free to use his/her gifts? How can we get beyond cultural, religious, economic and national differences to live as children of God, sisters and brothers? How do our words, questions, choices and actions move us beyond need to a charity that flows from our love of God?