Thank you for your prayers and support while Father Carmichael, myself, and the St. Ann by the Sea Missionaries were in NJ last week serving the victims of Hurricane Sandy. We were honored to work on a family home, who since the storm, had lived in deplorable conditions before being rescued by the St. Bernard Project and its AmeriCorps members. We met new friends at the Keansburg, NJ house, as our site supervisors, Max and Chris, were the most respectful, patient and kind young men. We also were able to spend time with old friends, such as Paige, who supervised our mission house last year. What a joyful reunion it was for all the teens and adults, when Paige visited and worked with us on Thursday morning at our mission site. Our mission work is not done independently, it takes teamwork and a shared love for neighbor. St. Thomas Aquinas tells us how Charity is really a state of friendship between man and God, and that love, based on this friendship is Charity. He goes on to explain that when we love a friend, we love the friend for his own sake and not just for the fact that he is useful or provides us with some kind of pleasure or service. We rejoice in our friend’s existence, want to be with him, and wish the best for him and those dear to him. Not only do we wish him well — we take actions for his good benefit to express that love. God, our Creator of the universe, has extended his deepest friendship to each of us as an expression of His joy and love for us. The principal act of Charity is love; first received from God and then extended to each other in a variety of ways and networks.

When we are open to God, His love allows us to be open to others, and helps us to understand life, not as drudgery, but as a joyful task in solidarity with our neighbors.

Our mission work is this very act of Charity. We share of ourselves physically, spiritually, and emotionally as we work for the good of those we may never know or meet. Again, thank you for what can only be described as an amazing week.