Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Bookstore sharing....Holy Spirit at work!

An unexpected evangelization moment in a bookstore....

I attended the noon Mass at a nearby parish (different diocese; our priests were mostly on retreat and Mass schedule was cut down) a couple of months ago.

I took a different route home, and drove by a (locally) renowned used bookstore. At the last second, I decided to stop in and look around (thanks God for the nearby parking spot in the rain). As I browsed, I found the Religious section, and the only other customer in the store was standing there as well: a young man in his mid-20s. I joked that it was funny that we were the only two in the store, and we both wanted the same section of books.  He laughed and smiled. He then mentioned that he had just read a good book about Martin Luther. I smiled and remarked that he was a very historical figure. I then told him, “I’m Catholic, so Martin Luther isn’t someone we really admire, although I'm sure he did have some very good contributions.” He laughed as well, and we started talking from there. I remarked that I had just left Mass, and he shared with me he had just had a meeting with his sponsor from AA, who is Catholic. He told me he attends a non-denominational, somewhat Baptist church nearby.

We talked, and soon I was sharing with him my story about the Holy Spirit from a few years back. He listened intently and was amazed at the story, but of course knew I was telling the truth. He then showed me the book in his hand; it was about the Holy Spirit. We continued to have a very long conversation, and he spoke of the Holy Spirit quite extensively. He also asked if I had been to an area Catholic retreat; he had attended with his sponsor, and met many wonderful people. He quoted Bible verses to me, and they were either some I had just read this week, or from a book I had started reading. We talked about the great Mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. I talk a lot, but I was able to listen. More than once, he commented on how frustrating it was that people would go to church or Mass, but then walk out and not live the faith, and continue sinning. I think that was the message the Lord was giving me from this young man: live your Faith. I try to do that, but could always improve. We had a great conversation, and I told him he should think about, pray about, becoming Catholic. (I've never asked ANYONE to consider becoming Catholic!) We shared many stories, thoughts. I remarked how we might never know the impact of us both being there and sharing with each other, but that it was where the Holy Spirit wanted us (his was a last second decision to come in as well); later, the store clerk who checked me out was wearing a shirt that said “Darwin” on the front.  Perhaps our words reached him or someone else who came in after us to consider Catholicism, or drawing closer to Jesus Christ.

After over an hour of sharing, and numerous signs from the Holy Spirit that showed both of us that we were where we were supposed to be, I departed. During our visit, we were talking about prayers.  For some reason, I began asking our Lord in my heart, if I was supposed to give this young man my new beautiful Rosary.  I said if that was what He wanted, I would, but I really loved the Rosary I had sought and found.  Within moments, and we were not discussing the Rosary at the time, Tanner volunteered out of nowhere that he had a Rosary at home.  Before I left, I gave him a laminated card of the Mysteries of the Rosary; he had remarked how much he loved all our prayers. I didn’t even know the card was in my purse! Thank you, Jesus! I then asked him if I could say a prayer with him. We held hands and bowed our heads. I had no idea what prayer was coming, but the Hail Mary poured out of me. I gave him a hug, and told him that I looked forward to seeing him again someday. I told him if I made any sense, or touched him in any way, all Glory is to God, and if I didn’t make sense, that was all me. I ask your prayers for my young friend, Tanner, that he may continue to grow in the Lord, and perhaps, be Catholic. Pray that he is able to stand strong against his previous addictions. During our hour together, we praised Him, shared His word, were humbled before Him, and shared love for Him.

As Catholics are not known for evangelizing, or knowing the Bible scriptures, the Lord provided me with the information ahead of time, and I was able to quote a few other places as well. I have never asked someone to pray with me in public before, and I’m thankful to live in a country where I can do that. I have a bad habit of sometimes interrupting people as they talk (I am trying to learn not to do that), but not once did I interrupt. As we spoke, I could still feel the Body of Christ in my throat the whole time. The words I spoke were His. Thank you Lord for the blessing of Tanner today, and for Your Guidance and Love. Part of me is left wondering...perhaps he was an angel sent for me, whether in flesh of a real man, or appearing to me. What a great gift, and I hope that everyone can experience this, daily!
Thanks for reading! To be continued............

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