Dear Parishioners, +JMJ
I am writing this letter in an airport, slowly making my way home from my course in Rome. The course was plenty of work, and I thank you all for the prayers for its fruitfulness. Many delays in flights on the way home – due to weather – made things particularly tedious today, but the Lord just gave me a nice gift to lighten things up.
A woman walked up to me as I closed the book I was reading (stuck in an airport for another couple unexpected hours) and said, “Father, can I talk to you for a minute? I’ve been watching you from a distance, and I finally got up the courage to approach you.” First, she had a rosary she wanted blessed. And in Rome I just purchased my first copy ever of a recently published book of rites called the Rituale Romanum. So I asked her if she minded if I did the blessing officially from that Latin version. (I told her that hers would be the first blessing performed from this book!) She loved it, and I loved getting to use that holy form for the first time.
Next, she asked if I would hear her confession, because “it has been a while”. I told her I’d like to put on my stole, because that is protocol, and she was fine with that. (I didn’t want to embarrass her by letting the whole world see we were doing something religious – I could theoretically hear a confession without a stole – but she was totally ok with it, thank the Lord!)
Next she told me about an uncle who was near death, and could we pray for him…. and then finally for a very specific situation in her marriage.
What a gift from the Lord to get to do some pastoral work in an airport, after hitting the books intensely for a week! I loved the academic work for the week, but I certainly love the pastoral work. And, amidst the frustrations of several flight delays that have plagued my travel all day long, the opportunity to be God’s instrument was refreshing.
Thank the Lord that he can use us whenever and wherever, if we are open to His initiative! It’s a blessing to others…. but it’s certainly a blessing even to believers who are His instruments.
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,