This morning, 1/15/2008, I had a very emotionally explosive experience. I invite you all to spend a moment or two with me.
I do not want you to think that this is one of those "chain letter" type of stories. This is a true narration of an honest person's Christian encounter. I know the person who is telling the story. This is a catechist and a Bible Study Session Leader in our parish. This is a true story.
I would like to tell you what happened between me and my next door neighbor. We have been neighbors for more than 15 years now. We have always been civil and we have never had any untoward confrontations. We have come to know one another as neighbors and have always been rather friendly. I have told her that I am Catholic and she sees the kind of life that I and my husband lead. Naturally, I also see what kind of life she leads. She is a clean person. She has never called herself anything but "Christian", never anything but that. It has also been very evident that she allows any and all species of missionaries to come into her house. It mattered not whether they were Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons or other devoted missionaries. She and I never mentioned anything about our religious convictions other than to tell one another our labels; "Catholic", "Christian."
One day, some four months ago, one morning, my neighbor asked me, "Why have you never come to my door to ask me to talk about your religion?" All I could say was that I prayed for her every day and I was leaving our meeting about religion up to God.
She told me that she knew that I am a prayerful person. She said that she hoped that I was praying for her. She then asked me, "Would you come to my house and pray with me?"
I immediately said that I would. It has now been slightly more than three months that I have been going to her house for two hours, one day per week to pray the rosary (wow), to read the Scripture readings of the week as they are scheduled in the Catholic Liturgy and to exchange convictions about the meaning of the Sacred Scripture. I have noticed that I am now the only one going to her house. I am waiting for the day when she will ask me to accompany me to Mass.
I have never tried to force any belief on her, but she is full of questions. I only answer her from the bottom of my heart and from the pool of faith that I have. She always seems to be comfortable with my very personal answers. I think that she sees that they are soul answers and appreciates that. It makes me happy that after all these 15 years of words and lip service about God that my simple "from the heart" answers seem to carry more weight than those automatic lip service answers that she heard before.
It has only been slightly more than three months. I pray every day in anticipation of what God is going to ask of me next in this matter. Please pray for me so that I will be ready.
This is a true story. I heard it just today, 9 hours ago.
This loving disciple of Jesus doesn't need you to cry at her funeral. I've told you this story to let you know that you don't have to cry at my funeral, because after hearing this, I think that I have already died and gone to heaven.