“God gives faith equally to everyone, and he invites all of us to develop this faith” (the Word among us, August 2008, p. 16). Faith is both “an attitude of heart” (p. 15) that grows through prayer and “an inner conviction that comes from the Holy Spirit” (p. 17).
On our way back home Saturday morning, Steven drove us to Kerrville. Never having been there, our first impression turned into wondering if we could make it our home. We looked for a Catholic church, easily found Notre Dame, and stopped for a visit. How perfect to find open doors leading to a simplistically elegant spaciousness warmly lit through stained glass windows in the open truss ceiling.
Within moments, a woman arrived, smiled at us, and knelt to pray. In no time, she joined us in quiet meditation before the Blessed Sacrament.
“Where two or more are gathered” (Matthew 18:20) came to mind. Were we meant to pray together? I wondered.
As we stood by the choir section, a very humble, elderly Hispanic man came up to me. Without speaking, he insistently, almost urgently, handed me a church envelope.
Puzzled, I wanted to say “but we’re not from here” or “we’re not staying for Mass.” But, realizing it was his weekly offering, I thanked him and looked around for a receptacle in which to deposit the padded envelope.
Some churches have metal boxes by the statues or by the candles; but, seeing none, I turned back to the man who was then kneeling on the floor.
Even before genuflecting he’d already been deeply in prayer. He didn’t hear me thank him two more times. His attire made me wonder if his work in the fields or with livestock would keep him from attending Mass the following day (Sunday), too.
I wanted to bless him in Spanish, but the words eluded me.
A woman with a small child had entered and was in prayer facing the statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe not far from us. I thought to ask her for help.
I turned again to the man, but he was gone. I wondered, Is this the reason God called us here today?
The woman with the little girl disappeared into the room in the back, so I couldn’t ask for directions to the rectory.
We exited through the side door we’d first entered and walked around to the front. Those doors were unlocked.
On going in, we again found the woman and her child. I spoke to her in Spanish when I noticed she was having difficulty speaking English. I explained our dilemma regarding the man’s envelope.
After introductions, we exchanged bits and pieces of our Catholic journey within our respective parishes.
Gloria shared her excitement about the Cursillo movement and enthusiastically invited us to be part of the experience on our return visit. Gloria’s face lit up as she told us about her family. The three oldest daughters attend school and love to learn; her youngest, Rosibel, will attend Head Start after she turns four in November. Gloria wants to look for work once her little one’s in school.
When I told her about our church website, she asked that I write down the information for them. Since her husband is arthritic, the family lives on a meager Social Security income. They can’t afford the Internet, but she wants to stay in touch through her daughters who can email from the library.
Despite her family’s economic struggles, Gloria continues to walk in faith the way her mother taught her in Coahuila. She’s lived in Kerrville for nineteen years and is thoroughly excited about God’s love, goodness, and mercy.
Listening to her, I wondered, Was Gloria’s need to share so great that You made our meeting possible, that You made her part of the solution to our dilemma regarding Agustin’s church offering?
We conversed as if we’d been long-lost friends.
Gloria told us that Notre Dame is the only Catholic church in town, “one among many, many of the other churches.” She gave us her telephone number so that the next time we’re in town, we can call her and attend Mass together.
Steven and I came away with a connectedness to the four parishioners at Notre Dame, and I’ve since kept my word to Gloria. I placed the names of those we met and their family members in the two little baskets— one for petitions, the other for thanksgiving and praise— before the Holy Infant of Prague here at home.
“Remember that faith is a gift and a disposition, not a set of rules and tasks that one must accomplish” (the Word among us, p. 18). When we make the time to discover God’s “treasures in secret places” (Is. 45:3), we unwittingly practice our faith.
December 10, 2014
“Faith is the art of holding on to things in spite of your changing moods and circumstances” (C. S. Lewis).
June 3, 2015
“But when you take the leap to look at the world through the eyes of faith, you start seeing God’s fingerprints everywhere, creating connections so subtle, so delicate, they might pass unseen” (Cari Donaldson, Pope Awesome & other stories).
August 28, 2015
Faith is the first light, the heralding light, the foundation placed in us of what in its final perfection will be the beatific vision of God. It is the beginning of the eternal ways in us, the commencement of our union with God (William Ullathorne, 1806-1889, Patience and Humility).
October 29, 2015
When faith grows weak, all virtues are weakened. When faith is lost, all virtues are lost (St. Alphonsus Liguori).
November 6, 2015
“Prayer is nothing else than being on terms of friendship with God” (St. Teresa of Ávila).
January 15, 2016
Holiness is not something for some privileged few. God calls everyone. From everyone he waits for love: from everyone, wherever they may be; from everyone, whatever may be their state in life, profession, or occupation
(St. Josemaría Escrivá).
June 18, 2016
“Faith furnishes prayer with wings, without which it cannot soar to heaven” (St. John Climacus).
June 22, 2016
“The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest” (St. Thomas More).
July 25, 2016
“Faith … if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:17).
November 4, 2016
“Such is the nature of faith that the greater are the obstacles it encounters, the more ardent it becomes” (St. Charles Borromeo).
January 2, 2017
The gift of faith, which comes to us from God, is a sublime grace. But we are not intended to keep it to ourselves— in effect, to bury it in the ground. The apostolic fishermen were ordained to be fishers of souls and not custodians of an aquarium (Fr. George W. Rutler, Hints of Heaven).
Links of interest… Beatific vision of God: heaven / seeing face to face / what is… Can we endure the light… Creating a space for Jesus in the midst of duty & anxiety… Don’t compartmentalize your faith (audio)… Faith connected to everything / in the gospels / through love / what is… Hear God speaking to you… Hope born of prayer & purification / proper place… Introduction to the devout life: ebook (St. Francis de Sales)… Little book of holy gratitude / litany of Thanksgiving… Notre Dame Church (Mass times)… Patron saint of missing socks, pray for us… Stir the flame of faith… What is Cursillo… Visits to Jesus in the tabernacle: Hours and half-hours of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament: e-book… the Word among us…
WP posts… Angels all around… Angels keeping watch… Mary’s miraculous medal… Mary’s seven joys… May flowers… Notre Dame revisited… Our Lady… Sorrowful redemption… St. Agnes Church… Sweet Jesus… Two angels