This morning we did a final reflection and wrap-up. I was delighted by how deeply our young people were affected by this Mexico experience and how they were passionate about bringing their new found knowledge and experience to their lives in Alberta.
The staff here was wonderful in helping us integrate and process what happened over the past week and a half.
This has been a very valuable trip. One that should be repeated for our young people as they try to engage the world's suffering, joys, and challenges with their tremendous faithfulness.
We closed with Holy Communion using a tortilla and local wine. Many folks here associate the tortilla, the basis of the Mexican diet, with daily eucharist. We talked together about how God is asking us to be a healing, compassionate, community. The bible reading was about how the disciples healed people and shared good news with them, walking two-by-two carrying nothing but a walking stick and the power of God. I read a passage from a book about the Virgin of Guadalupe, and the type of temple or home she wants Juan Diego and the bishop to build:
The Mother of God wants a home where all will be welcomed, where all who come receive her recognition, love, and affection. Here, everyone will be heard; all will be free to speak in their own way. Her very eyes show that she recognizes the presence of the one who comes to her. Her very gaze lets those who are looking at her know she is ready and willing to listen to them. She is not cold, distant, and haughty, but tender, close, and friendly. She does not want her children threatened, she wants them protected. She does not want them humbled and dehumanized; she wants them self-confident and joyful.
Her house is to become what every church should be: a center of recognition, listening, love, compassion, healing, and protection. This will not be a center of rules and regulations, but of flowers and songs. It will not be a sad church, but a festive one wherein the joy of God will uplift the downtrodden of the earth. The humanizing and liberating beauty of the divine experience will draw people into it freely and joyfully. Here everyone will be someone special, experiencing their inner dignity, infinite worth, and personal mission of building the temple of the new and truly egalitarian society. This is what every church should be. So her temple is to be a model of what every Christian temple should be, a model, that few, even today, emulate.
This passage encapsulates what we learned and who we feel God is asking us to be. may God give us strength and mercy to live as people of compassion, joy, and healing.