What is the lived experience of truly encountering the Church?
It is an experience of being loved unconditionally by a group of people who draw an unknown strength from their relationship together in the name of Jesus Christ. It is an experience of coming home, of finding one’s place in the universe and in one’s own skin. It is what we have always looked for without knowing it. It is the delight and pain of being accepted by those who can see through us and know us better than we know ourselves. It is the realization that we can be who we are because we are called by the experience itself to become who we are. We can accept ourselves and everything that has happened to us and every thing we have done and not done.
Thus, a Christian community is a group of people who seek to love one another as Jesus loves: incarnated unconditional love - mercy. But true mercy only exists when we truly confront the sin and evil within us, calling it by name and helping each other to know truth about ourselves. It is by sharing that unconditional life-giving love that the Church announces Jesus Christ to the world.
- Martha Driscoll, OSCO (from the Gethsemani Visitors Center)