The elderly Sister was giving me advice on my new duties as sacristan for the chapel by reflecting on her own experiences.
“After mass was over, I always go to the altar to see if Father dropped any crumbs on the altar cloth, and I would consume them.”
It reminded me of a time long ago in another church. When I approached the front of the communion line, I received the host, and then stepped toward the cup to sip the precious blood. What the communion minister handed me was a cup with a single drop left. I consumed it like a woman who had not been fed or drank in a long time. I believed that if Jesus had shed only a single drop of blood, it still would have been enough to save the world.
I think about this every time I have a slice of gluten free toasted bread, or finish a cup of tea or coffee. I consume the crumbs, the last drop, not because they satiate my hunger or thirst more than if I had not. It is fully savoring the gift that is before me, and everything is gift from God.
I try to remember this every time I visit patients as chaplain. Faithfulness to my relationship with God means setting aside anything – things, assumptions, beliefs – that blocks the way to God’s heart and prevent me from loving God in the people I serve. I sit with patience, openness and humility as I listen to their story and share in their tears and struggles. Like scrapping up the last crumbs of bread “blessed, broken and shared” with me, receiving their entire sacred story facilitates the development of a trusting relationship that is truly supportive.
Every small thing, every hidden act, every moment, is an opportunity to draw closer to God by loving and thanking God for what is, no matter how small, by accepting and receiving it. Every drop, every crumb, every seemingly inconsequential or coincidental moment of life brings the presence of Jesus as well as enormous peace and joy.
Sister Ann Marie Wainright
Sister Ann Marie Wainright is a Benedictine Sister of St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth, Minnesota. Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, she worked as a CPA for many years before earning dual masters degrees in counseling and pastoral studies. Sister Ann Marie is interested how people encounter God in their daily lives and how they use their faith and spirituality in meeting difficult challenges.