Emmanuel – God with us


Matthew 1:18-24

Welcome, is one of the most wonderful words to hear when entering a home, a new job or a new place. This sampler hangs on my guest room wall, made by my husband’s cousin Marion, born in the time of the horse and buggy. She and her sister were kind and smart and loved to invite us for lunch. Now, neither Marion nor her sister liked to use the telephone. So, a letter would arrive saying, “please come to lunch on Sunday at 1pm”. The fact that we lived three hours away or might have had plans, and had a toddler didn’t deter them from inviting us to lunch. When the letter would arrive, it felt like an official summons and I’d scurry around, looking for the calendar and inevitably say, “Oh, no, we are expected in two days!” Not long enough to reply by mail. Like Joseph, they trusted. They expected us to accept and arrive on time.  It was a treat to visit Marion and her sister at their Victorian farmhouse for a glimpse of life in an earlier time. Their house was filled with furniture from previous decades. The sisters were in their super senior years and they spent hours deciding who in the family would receive each item they owned upon their death. So, they labeled everything from oak dressers to letter openers. The sampler with the handwritten label with my husband’s full name taped to the back continues to make us smile.

Just like the time consuming and detailed work of making this sampler, adjusting to unexpected news is hard, especially painful news. Have you ever encountered an angel? I believe, I have. Many of us, have received unwanted news, perhaps it was a diagnosis of an illness or a tragedy of another kind. Processing the news and coming to terms with the new reality, takes time and we are often mentally and emotionally in an altered state for a while. So, one day after receiving unsettling news, I was sitting outside on a bench and a woman sat down next to me and unexpectedly shared a story with me. She was an angel in my mind and it became very clear to me that God was with me. Her presence gave me hope and kept me going.

Next time, you are in a rush, awaiting news or worried, try saying a breath prayer: breathe in, saying, “Emmanuel” and breathe out, saying, “God is with me”.

A few questions to ponder this week:

  • Who are the people in your life who need to hear that God is with them?
  • What is your “go to breath prayer” in times of need?

Anne Nester Pidcock

Oblate, Emmanuel Monastery

Lutherville, Maryland

Author: 3osb

We are Sisters and Oblates of three Benedictine Monasteries who work together on communicating the Benedictine charism: Emmanuel Monastery, Lutherville, MD St. Gertrude Monastery, Ridgely, MD St. Benedict Monastery, Bristow, VA

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