God’s Little Sparrows
I was baptized as a baby in the Presbyterian Church. My mother’s Presbyterian faith had pulled her through her father’s death when she was fourteen. My father was baptized Presbyterian but he wasn’t a church-goer . He was into the “spirit of St. Andrews”. We four siblings and Mom mandatorily attended church and Sunday school.
In high school, I dated a Catholic boy who’d take me to Mass on Saturday nights. He kept an ear to Vatican II. I had no idea of the impact of this history-making event!
In college, I spent some time with a Catholic boy. He fell in love with a Baptist girl and attended church with her twice a week. I went to church with him one Sunday and a few of the congregation were speaking in tongues. He tearfully went forward to be healed. I was shocked at the transformation. What had pulled him away from his beliefs?
I married a Catholic in his parents’ parish.
He was a Vietnam combat veteran. Our first 7-8 years were very stressful. We moved to Omaha on a job transfer and became active in a young parish. During inquiry classes taught by a young priest, there was an older man who was one of the parish founders. The priest was discussing virgin births and said this was not an unusual phenomenon. It was attributed to nobility and anyone of high stature. This elderly gentleman left.
We had 2 children, a boy and girl. One October weekend after we had been to the school fund raiser, my husband was arrested on manslaughter charges. I decided after the media rape and police at our door, that I wouldn’t muddle in sorrow and self-pity. I had to get counseling and learn to Survive, and triumph in my own way.
A mothering neighbor invited me to a retreat sponsored by the Blue Army, held within the secured walls of a 80-year-old discalced Carmelite monastery in its main chapel. When the order diminished, the Franciscan Brothers revitalized it.
Weary from stress, I listened to Brother Francis. I looked at a large crucifix and felt shrouded in security. I bowed my head in very humble prayer, slipping into a reverie I’d never known.
In total silence I hear my name spoken calmly in a man’s voice. I squeezed my eyes tight, then opened them again! Brother Francis was still talking as if uninterrupted. The pews were filled with women, and Brother Francis didn’t know me from Adam.
We are a family again and we share a few etched-in-stone Bible paraphrases to get us through the tough times: “God takes care of his little sparrows”, and “where two or more of you are gathered in His name…”
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