Rachel and Maureen have one degree of separation. I'm the one degree.
They don't know each other, but I know them. They live in two different Iowa towns and attend two parishes in separate deaneries. They both offered to let me stay with them during my speaking trip in Iowa.
If you haven't read the March 2011 Catholic by Grace column, you may not know that I have a slight anxiety about going to new places and meeting new people. But the gift of conversion is a gift that must be shared. The gift completely eclipses the fear. And so, I go and I share the amazing, on-going gift I have been given. The joy of being Catholic.
Today - on this first day back home - I am thinking about the trip and the two women who shared their homes with me.
They were so gifted in hospitality - knowing when I needed something, even knowing when I needed a quiet retreat in order to regroup - that I encountered moments of grace in their homes. I left Iowa with the sense that I was being healed just a little bit because these two women had become Christ's hands and feet to me. Not strangers. But Christ to me. Amazing, really.
I also spent two nights in hotels. As great as the Comfort Inn and Days Inn staff were, they didn't come close to the ministry of hospitality that I experienced in the private homes of faithful parishioners.
I've said it before... Catholics know how to live out the faith.
They know how to be Christ.
So really, there's no degree of separation between them at all. They are, in fact, Christ. They are one - in this Body of Christ.