Editor’s Note: In the fourth and final installment of her “Beams of Love” series, missioner Amanda Ceraldi shares that her time on mission in Guatemala has allowed her to create a space to live out her call to build relationships and accompany those she encounters.

“We are put on earth for a little space that we might learn to bear the beams of love.” -William Blake

What an incredible feeling it is when our wants and our needs become one in the same, and even more amazing when that is our lived experience. I think this is what happens when we begin to recognize that the love we have to give is infinite and thus, when we “learn to bear the beams of love.”

During my time at the hospital with Maria, Grace, and the other kids I met, I discovered a new understanding of love. Those hours of fear, laughter, pain, and hope allowed me to learn how to bear the beams of love. In each moment and experience, there were manifestations of these beams of love.

Upon my return from the hospital, I began to reflect on what it really means to bear the beams of love. How could I take this unexpectedly fruitful experience and continue to make it grow? How could I try and bear these beams in my everyday life? How could I bear the beams of love on the days when I fall a little bit short for my students?

All of these questions made me feel like I couldn’t do it; I wouldn’t be able to bear the beams of love in my daily life. However, God usually has special ways of letting us know when we are wrong.

About a week after my experience at the hospital, during one of our monthly family visit days, I had the opportunity to spend some time talking with Maria’s mom. We began chatting about Maria’s stay in the hospital, the strength she had to endure that experience, and how I was so happy to have been there for Maria. At that, Maria’s mom began to cry tears that were a mixture of sadness and joy.

She then explained to me that she works multiple jobs for very little money and wasn’t able to take off work to stay with Maria without compromising her jobs or risking not making enough money for their family to live on. She hugged me and expressed her gratitude for my willingness to “give up” my time for Maria. I smiled, hugged her, and said I was thankful for the opportunity and that I hadn’t “given up” anything. With tears in her eyes, she said I’d always be in her heart and a part of their family.

This is exactly why I need to be on mission. On mission, I am being given the opportunity to build relationships that make bearing the beams of love a natural part of my everyday life. These relationships, not only with the kids at Valley, but their families as well, are what allows these beams to continue to shine farther than I could have ever thought possible.

Amanda with her students from Valley of the Angels

Amanda with her students from Valley of the Angels

Creating my little space here at Valley and in Guatemala is why I want to be here, why I need to be here, and why I am grateful that my wants and needs have joined together to become my reality.

Reflection Questions: Do your wants and needs join together to form your reality? If not, is there something you can change, even if it’s something minor?

Featured image: adaptation of “Beams of Love” prayer card by artist Mary Southard, CSJ.