Guests are always very important to me. It’s important to be attentive to your guests and make sure they are well taken care of. Hospitality is something that I find to be a key part of our Christian and Marist life. I think that hospitality is one of the ways that Marist family spirit comes alive for many people.
Being a guest, and a guest for a long time, is a very different experience. You become the guest who is attended to and looked after. My time here in Medellín is long. I’ve been here since September 3rd and will return at the end of October. So I am not just a guest. I live here and I’m a part of the community. The first couple weeks that I was here, however, I really felt a welcome and care that was and still is very touching.
Attention and care for a guest is called hospitality in English. In Spanish, the word is “hospitalidad”. As I got used to the schedule, or remembered that I needed something that I hadn’t brought with me, a brother would immediately help me. Different brothers would also ask me “Did you understand all that?” or “How are you feeling after a week?” In chapel, someone would always make sure I had the translation of any prayer we were saying, so that I could participate. This reception and care was warm and fraternal. It was what we in Spanish would call “cariño”. This means particular or special attention, and usually warm and loving.
When you start a new leg of your journey or transition into a new space, those moments of contact are so important. It becomes easy to put these moments to the side in favor of what makes you most comfortable in the moment, or isolating yourself. In the past month and a half I entered the novitiate, moved into a new home, and I’m in Colombia. I’d say transitions abound in my life!
Thankfully, I have really felt the presence of Jesus saying to me “You’re fine. Take it one step at a time. Don’t forget to be here for the experience.” Each meal, each prayer, each adventure into town is a very real reminder that we can experience God in community and in our relationships. Cleaning up, cooking, sports, or TV are all spaces of encounter. Each time I get to connect with friends and family back home via phone or messaging, I also feel that care and support.
To receive that is a gift. Offering that hospitality, that “cariño” to someone else, is also a gift. How can we invite others into our lives? How can we better show care and support? Who is Jesus calling me to care for?
Yo creo que los invitados a una casa son muy importantes. Cuando hay invitados, es importante ser atento a las necesidades que tienen para hacerlos sentir como en casa. Hospitalidad es una parte clave de la vida Cristiana y la vida Marista. Yo creo que en esto, podemos ver al espíritu de familia que practicamos.
Siendo un invitado, y un invitado por mucho tiempo, es algo diferente. La comunidad te da mucha atención y una acogida muy fraterno. Mi tiempo aquí en Medellín is largo. Por este tiempo, vivo aquí y soy parte de la comunidad. Las primeras semanas que estuve aqui, los hermanos me recibieron con una acogida muy linda.
En inglés usamos la palabra hospitalidad para hablar de la acogida que se da a un invitado. Cuando estuve acostumbrandome al horario, o cuando yo necesitaba algo, un hermano siempre me ayudaba inmediatamente. Diferentes hermanos me preguntaban “¿Entendiste eso?” o “¿Como te sientes después de una semana?” En la capilla, siempre me daban las traducciones de las oraciones, para que yo pudiera participar. La acogida fue especialmente fraterno. Eso lo llamamos en espanol “cariño”. Cariño es distinto a hospitalidad. Cariño implica un amor, un sencillez, y una conexión.
Cuando está en medio de una transición, estos momentos de contacto son importantes. Puede ser fácil ignorar estos momentos en favor de algo que te hace sentir más cómodo. Es fácil aislarse, pero eso no ayuda. En el mes y medio pasado yo entré al noviciado, me mudé a una nueva comunidad, y ahora estoy en Colombia por casi un mes y medio. ¡Las transiciones son abundante en mi vida!
Yo he sentido la presencia de Jesús diciendo “Estas bien. Haz todo paso a paso. No te olvides de ser presente durante la experiencia.” Los momentos de compartir en torno a la mesa, las oraciones, y las aventuras en Medellín son recuerdos que Dios está presente en la comunidad. Limpiando, cocinando, jugando baloncesto, o viendo televisión… todos son espacios de encuentro. Yo siento este encuentro también cuando me comunico con familia y amigos de mi país
El recibir cariño es un regalo. Ofreciendo cariño a otros también puede ser un regalo. ¿Cómo podemos invitar a otros a compartir en nuestras vidas? ¿Cómo podemos mejorar nuestro capacidad de dar apoyo? ¿Quienes son los que Jesús me llama a dar cariño?
Welcome is something that people experience in a lot of different ways. Someone might invite you over for dinner. They might strike up a conversation on the first day back to work. Maybe a door was held for you. The simplest gestures can be welcoming.
To receive welcome is a gift. To be welcoming is even more important.
In the past year I have experienced both sides is this wonderful gift. Beginning with my entrance into the postulancy (period of discernment and formation living in a religious community) and continuing into my novitiate experience (further period of discernment and study of religious life and religious vowed commitment).
What kept coming up for me during the year was “Something more…”. That is what was being asked of me, and still is being asked of me. That something more wasn’t entering a religious institute. I think that is the vehicle God is using to lead me toward the “something more”!
The past year has helped me understand myself much more deeply, as well as what it means to be a disciple. I also enjoyed time to study prayer and practice it in different ways. To characterize the year I would call it a year of learning to welcome Christ into my life. Does that sound odd? Christ continually calls us through people, situations, and asks us to join him in his work. In relationship with him, don’t we need to be well disposed and welcome him too?
I write this very short post to introduce you to what this online space is for. Our hope is that this blog and website will be a way to share what our Marist community experiences in the coming years. To share what the “something more” might be, and continue to discover that. Welcome!