“You are good.” “You are important.” “You are accepted.” “You are loved.” These are the words that people do NOT always hear but are so significant that whenever they hear it, and believed it, everything changes.

One of my favorite things is to see and talk to these elderly women who stay along the street to beg for alms. They are women who chose to age in the street and not be a burden to their families. One day, one of them recounted, “Sister, there are so many people passing by, but it’s you who notice us. We always feel happy to see you.” That remark made my day. It was a very normal and routine day. A day spent in an office, in front of a computer, with papers and calls—a day spent with frustration, with discouragement, with nostalgia, with boredom, and with meaninglessness—I needed that remark. I needed that assurance that there’s still meaning, not merely because of the things I do but because of who I am. What we do is an expression of who we are. And they knew it very well. I knew they always lacked necessities—food, shelter, and clothing, for example. But I realized they have so much to give. It was not I who was giving them attention; it was they who truly noticed me.

Blessed Francisco Palau was a lover of the Church. He knew that the love he felt so ardently was for something greater. He searched for the object of his love, and when he finally found her, he noticed her and offered his whole being to her. “At last, I have found you now. The least I can offer you is my life, to correspond with your love.” As the daughter of Palau, her mission is at heart. It is the very essence of our existence. Indeed, it is a great challenge to not simply do, perform, and excel in things but to give them meaning. It is not even necessary to go far away, but to notice those closest. It is not even had to be so great, but in simplicity, in looking at the eyes, in hearing the voice, in touching the heart.

As Carmelitas Misioneras Teresianas, we are called to live in the Palautian charism and recognize and live as Church, God and neighbor. The Church that is alive, with eyes and hands, and feet, and heart. The Church that is beautiful and lovable. The Church that is also wounded, persecuted, and mocked. The Church whose beauty and dignity is veiled in so many ways.

“You are good.” “You are important.” “You are accepted.” “You are loved.” These are the truths that must resound in every place. First, in me, and second, to them. I hear it and believe it. I am the Church.