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The question is not, “Who can I persuade to fill this vacancy?” The question is, “Who has God put in my
For discussion:In your own faith:
- Can you recall a “before” and “after” time in your life, when you became a true disciple of Jesus Christ? I know that I keep trying, but it is a two steps forward, one step back type of thing. I wish I could be stapled into place and not wander, but I am a person who constantly says to God, "Now what?" I have known God to answer all my prayers. Every single one. I have known and watched as our lives were rewritten before our eyes. My son didn't get into Saint Martin's school for kindergarten. We were a family of four, my husband, myself, William and Bonnie. It suddenly became important to me, that my children receive a Catholic education. It became vital in my head and my heart. We'd been denied.
- A woman pulled me aside after mass --we were a two to three week a month drifting from Parish to Parish according to mass times and desire to go family, and told me if I wanted my kids in the school, I had to be involved. The pastor had to know my name. Impulsively, I signed up for Parish Council that weekend. Then I got the call, I could be on, but it was a three year commitment of three Monday nights a month and I'd have to be in charge of a committee. God's subtle way of saying, "Do you really want this?" and I said yes. We started going to mass more often because I had to sell donuts after them once a month and check to see that the other groups showed. We got to know the Pastor, we became more regular and more involved. My son got into the school, and we were pulled deeper and deeper in...that to me is how it always happens, we say yes and God floods the world with opportunities to answer that yes if we really mean it. It did change us. We sometimes struggle with praying and the hardness of the labor of the yes, but we did mean it. We said yes, and we have to go on saying yes, to go on proving by our commitment of time and our lives, that this is something we very much want, to have our children know their faith, live their faith, love their faith.
- Have you ever witnessed that change in someone else?
- Yes. One of my favorite stories about my oldest son, is how he saved a life of a person he's never really known. Being lonely and stuck at home and not coping with it very well that first year, I pushed his stroller all around the hot streets of Houston, desperate for company. I made friends with the drycleaner, the photo lady, the pharmacist at the more expensive place which meant I wouldn't use the cheaper one because this woman knew my name, and the receptionist at my apartment complex. Every day around lunch, she'd see me pushing the beautiful blue perambulator my in-laws had given us about the grounds. She'd wave me in and coo at my son. One day, I walked by and she didn't wave me in, she was crying.
- I went in to see what was wrong. She explained she'd just broken up with her boyfriend and then discovered she was pregnant. Friends had offered her a ride to the abortion clinic but seeing my little baby every day, she just couldn't do it. She looked at my son and the tears came again. I wasn't an expert on any of this, I was a first time mom who was fighting tooth and nail the boredom of being home alone and not comfortable with my own self and my new role that seemed so limited and stifling. But I put my arm around her and began asking questions that to this day, I know were Holy Spirit directed, because they weren't what I would have thought to ask.
- Does your boyfriend know? Answer: No. I told her he needed to know because this was his child too. Even if you have broken up, he should know, he has a child, he's the father. She nodded, "Okay."
- Do you have family who can help you, like your parents? This is their grandbaby. She nodded again, "I'll tell them first." I said no, tell your boyfriend first, he has a right to know. She admitted she worried he would counsel an abortion.
- Long story short, we talked, I hugged her, fished a bit of chocolate I had with me out of my purse, the very thing that undermined my walks, and I went home worried and praying, really praying for my friend.
- The next few days, I didn't see her, though I took my walk daily and worried.
- The following Monday, she waved me in from my normal routine. "You've got to come in!" she beamed, "I told him. I told him and we are trying to work it out, to get back together." she said. We hugged. She told me she'd moved in with her parents, they were supportive and that they were going to her first obgyn appointment next week. Hugs and kisses, joy all around. We moved from Texas and I lost track of my friend until we came back for a visit and stopped in to see our old home in Houston.
- She ran out to greet me, to hug me. She and her now husband had two children, a boy and a girl. It was a hug that said so much in the few seconds we had together, of a life transformed by the loneliness of one woman, and a little boy only 4 months old in his pram, who smiled with his whole body every time anyone picked him up. It was a transformation of not just one but many lives, by the Holy Spirit.