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Do you ever feel inspired by the Holy Spirit to act on an idea you have but hesitated to do so? Moving forward in faith when you have a new idea is not always easy. I would like to share the following true story in the hope that it will encourage you to act on an idea you have and walk in faith.

Before 2018 and the creation of “Neighbors Matter”, most of us living on our block had never had a meaningful conversation, nor did we know much about each other. I would guess this may be all too common. For nearly twenty years, many of us knew our neighbors who lived right across the street or next door to us but had no idea who our neighbors were down the street.

For quite some time, I pondered the idea of bringing our neighbors together to foster a greater sense of community. It was an idea in my head.

I was aware that I could not change the world, but I could help make a difference on our block and the way neighbors related to one another.

With the encouragement of a neighbor, I carried out my idea, asking each neighbor if they would be interested in being part of a "Neighbors Matter" group that would meet once or twice a year. To my surprise, most neighbors responded "yes," and the first "Neighbors Matter" meeting took place in our driveway in February 2018.

Since then, some of the fruits of “Neighbors Matter” can be observed: a doctor who helped a neighbor’s sister in need of medical attention, a piano teacher gave lessons to one of the young children on our block, neighbors with a green thumb who share their pineapples, onions, and other vegetables they grow in their yards, baked goods placed on our front porch during Christmas time by those who enjoy baking, and someone who got help with a car that needed a jump or a computer problem solved.

When our dear neighbors across the street sold their house and planned to move out of state, a farewell party was organized. Each family was given a card with a hot air balloon on it to write a farewell wish or message, which was given to the neighbors at the party. Some neighbors donated money toward the cost of the pizza and cake, which was decorated with a hot air balloon. Before the creation of “Neighbors Matter,” anyone moving away would not have received a farewell like this.

About one and a half hours into our party, I sat down in a corner of the room to observe. I saw a non-sacramental ‘holy communion.’ I saw our neighbors, God’s children, having a great time laughing, sharing, and spending time together as a family would. I imagined God contemplating this gathering of people of different ages, states of life, religious traditions, cultures, professions, and lifestyles and all being pleased.

I imagined this gathering of "Neighbors Matters" as a microcosm of how the world at large should be: people of different ages, beliefs, ideas, values, and talents living together and enjoying life.

Little did I know that when “Neighbors Matter” started six years ago, it would mean as much as it does today in our world, so divided and seemingly intolerant of those who are different.

Following the party, a neighbor texted me: “I imagine Jim and Roberta could feel our love.” And they have felt the love of their neighbors. Isn’t that what God tells us to do, to love our neighbor? When we love our neighbor, we love God. I pray that we will continue to accept and be friendly to one another and all new neighbors.

Catherine of Sienna tells us “He gave us blood out of love, and it is with this love that He asks us for a drink. I mean that Jesus, who loves, is asking to be loved and served…This is how we give our Creator a drink, when we give Him love for love. Because we cannot give it to Him through any service, we render Him. NO, we must give it to Him in the person of our neighbor.” (Novena to Catherine of Sienna from Discerning Hearts)

Have you ever considered that your idea may be an idea that will help renew the face of the earth and make our world a better place to live in? We call upon the Holy Spirit to renew the face of the earth, but He requires our participation.

What idea have you been pondering? Could it be an idea that brings goodness, truth, beauty or love to your home, your community or our world? Do you feel called to create a “Neighbors Matter” where you live to bring people together and build community? You never know who may be feeling isolated.

Why not move forward in faith with your idea and see what happens? 

Comments from readers

Paulette D'Angelo Vitale - 07/10/2024 05:46 PM
It's always nice to see your beautiful smile. Your convictions are inspiring as always. I am still working at St David with retirement in May of 2025 approaching. I shared your blog with a few of the Visitation and Madonna "girls". Paulette
Kathy Werthman - 07/09/2024 01:33 PM
Beautiful story; glad you acted on your idea!
Rafael María Calvo Forte - 07/09/2024 09:16 AM
Felicidades. Siempre he pensado en eso y, en la idiosincrasia de este país me parecía impenetrable esta idea. Sin embargo, al leer su testimonio, haré oración para ver cómo y cuándo me lanzo a proponer esta idea entre mis vecinos. Gracias.

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