When the Rubber Meets the Road

It’s one thing to come to church on Sunday to check the task off our to-do lists.  (“First one out of the parking lot wins!”) It’s another thing altogether to LIVE our faith when times are especially tough, when our hearts are breaking, when our plans are dashed, or when God seems to be distant and even cruel. Those are the times when our faith can disintegrate OR when every gift we’ve accepted and absorbed at the altar can come to our rescue – strengthening our relationship with God – if we allow it.  I’ve been blessed to witness many folks deeply allowing it over the past few weeks….

  • A mild, humble man insisting repeatedly how blessed he is: “I’m good, I’m really good,” as he recounts the imprisonment and health problems of his daughter, the terminal diseases of his dad and sister, his current unemployment, and – oh, yeah – the scars?  They’re from back when he got hit by a train.  “I’m good.  Really good.”
  • Seven people abandoning all their workday plans to spend hours helping one dehydrated, exhausted, homeless man find a way regain some health and dignity and to travel to a hospital and family
  • A new acquaintance describing her quest for mercy upon her husband and his new wife, despite the infidelity and the crushing anger and accusations directed her way by her former in-laws
  • A true gentleman who ‘didn’t get the job’ sharing his expertise with the person who did
  • Nine moms sitting around a restaurant table, laughing, crying, and sharing stories about the parents, the two children, and the one other mom from “their group” who have already gone to meet Jesus.  One of the moms recollected a time when her daughter was four and insisted that she not cry during a funeral procession because “It’s a parade to Heaven, Mom!  A parade to Heaven!”
  • A pastor delivering a heartfelt, clear, and funny homily at his own dad’s funeral
  • A classmate telling of her brother’s atheism and his more recent battle with a disease… and how she prayed to have the same disease so she could walk with him in it, and how God has granted that request which has helped to soften her brother’s heart
  • A daughter trusting the Lord as she struggles constantly to take good care of her parents who are no longer physically or mentally healthy, and who are blaming her for their current situation

These are all true stories, each one about people from our parish.  Not the kind of stories you might hear on the local news, but the kind that fit easily into The Good News.  How can we, too, be bearers and doers of the Gospel?  How can we come to truly own our faith rather than just pointing to it from a distance?  How can we KNOW the Lord, rather than just knowing about Him? I have five suggestions.  (1)  Boldly ask for and expect God’s help.  (2) Make silence. (3) Spend time in Eucharistic Adoration. (4) Forgive and seek forgiveness.  (5) Join up with all the others enjoying The Alpha Course by calling Regina Simony this week: 248-689-8380, ext. 120.

Your Pickle,

Marian Bart