Sunday, May 17, 2015

Evangelizing in the Church before Mass with a stranger

I've had need to go to Confession, and had some time on my business trip to do so, and attend Mass afterwards.  Preface: apparently, I was attending Mass in one of the areas that a large part of the homeless gather, the doors in the bathrooms at McDonald's are locked, and there was little to no parking.  (Denver-ites....the Cathedral)  I wondered why I was meant to be there that day, and just chalked it up to God would let me know if He wanted me to know, if it was more than doing as I was expected (Confession and Mass). (I have to do that a lot.)  I did it just over a week ago as well.

Anyway, after encountering more than a few people asking for help or money, and even being approached directly while eating, along with a few more adventures, I decided to see if the Church was open an hour before Confession and 2 before Mass. It was. YAY! I didn't have to sit in my car surrounded by strangers! (Not really afraid, but not completely comfortable either, given what I'd seen.)  I was one of the first to get in line after praying, and confessed my sins.  I then went to the 'side' near Mary's statues and pictures to pray.

I sat down shortly thereafter, and turned to face the main part of the Church, to enjoy the beauty and artwork, especially the stained glass of Mary (at Assumption?).  I felt someone's eyes on me, and turned to look.  A young man smiled shyly at me, and I smiled back.  This happened a couple times, and he then asked me if he could ask me a question.  I said of course, and moved back a few pews to him.  (He didn't seem to be homeless, but I could be wrong. Doesn't matter; was just giving background on the area I was in.)

He asked: "What is faith, to you?"  The only thing I could think of to respond was, "A gift from God, to believe in Him and to return to Him."  He was apparently satisfied with this answer.  He continued on with other questions, and somehow, God shut my mouth and opened my ears to hear both the young man and God.  For some reason, he reminded me of David from the Old Testament.  Not really sure why, but I shared this with him.  When things come to me like that at these times, God seems to let me know when to share and trust in Him and His Plan.  It's easier than arguing with God in my head; He always wins in these cases... ;)  Sometimes His 'win' is to let me win, which is pretty cool when it happens, but I know that was His Plan for me to get me way, as long as I give in to His Will.

I also had on, as always, my silver chain with a number of blessed medals on it.  I took it off, and for the first time (that I can remember, anyway), gave one of these medals to him.  I've given away extras, but never off my own chain.  It was my blessed Holy Spirit medal, which I love, but can be easily replaced.  We had kind of a deep discussion about God, whether or not God is 'He' or 'She', meditation versus praying, fear, and many other things.  He isn't sure if he believes in God, and seemed very tortured. I think he was afraid of giving in to that push from the Holy Spirit. I fought it hard when I was away from the Church too.  He wanted to know how we knew Jesus was real.  He wanted to talk about Heaven and Hell.  He claimed he wasn't religious, just spiritual, but I believe he'll be coming Home to the Faith soon. He asked how we could know who we are; he was worried about his life and direction.  He was carrying a wooden Rosary in a pristine white cloth. He said he didn't know why.

I asked "David" (his real name might have been Lawrence....) what brought him to Church that day, he told me didn't really know.  He just ended up there.  I smiled on the inside, because I knew that wasn't true........even if he didn't.  God brought him there, just as he brought me there, just as He has done many times before for me; He puts me where I can do His Work, when I turn my decision and acquiescence over to Him.

I really didn't expect to evangelize for over an hour before Mass (he did not stay). It was a good experience, and a reminder to carry extra medals and nice rosaries, along with booklets.  We did talk about using the Rosary to pray "Jesus, I love you." or something of the sort, while moving along the beads.

Please pray for "David", and all young men and women, especially those away from God, and the Faith.  He was a blessing to me, and I hope we meet again, and that his life gets better.

PS: How awesome is it, Denver, that y'all had 3 priests hearing Confessions, and it still went an hour, at least? :) Sooooo awesome!

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