Friday, October 28, 2016

Let the Children come to me

On a bright summer’s day a few years ago, I arrived at my friend Elaine’s garage sale to help her out with the crowd who usually turn out to garage sales in her neighborhood. She said it would take several volunteers as she had accumulated a lot of items in the last thirty years of her husband Marcus’s running a Christian Book and Gift store. She was trying to raise some money to keep the business going and pay for an additional employee since her husband Marcus was very ill and unable to work. Marcus was the backbone of the store as Elaine had another job and wasn’t at the store except on Saturdays. We all gathered in a prayer circle in the living room and joined hands before we opened the garage for the sale. We asked God to bless the sale with enough money to keep the business going until Marcus could return to work and of course send his angels to watch over us all during the sale. We knew it was going to be hectic, but never could we dreamed just how hectic it would become.  


Even though she had warned me there was a lot to sell, I was shocked at the sight of her three car garage which was completely packed from front to back with tables loaded down with items. It was such a tight fit we could not walk between the tables and closing and opening the garage doors was almost impossible. To add to the problem, the safety mechanism on her garage door opener was broken, so the door was a bit dangerous and would not stop if an item came in contact with it. It had to completely close and you had to hit the button again to get it back open. This would prove to be a danger beyond our imagining. In order to make it possible for people to shop, we had to move several tables out on the driveway and the lawn. And of course move the tables back in at the end of the day.



One of the volunteers was a neighbor of Elaine’s, who brought her two year old little girl Marcie with her. Marcie was a rather shy child and would not come to anyone. She clung to her mommy all day long and was pretty fussy. I tried several times to get Marcie interested in some of the toys we had at the sale, but she was not at all interested. It became quite a problem for her mother, but she valiantly tried to help even though she had her hands full with Marcie’s constant demands.  


As I was showing a garden statue of Christ to a prospective buyer, Marcie came running over to us and hugged the statue and began babbling and giggling. It was the first time all day long that she had done anything but cry and fuss. The statue was pretty battered up from years of being in Marcus and Elaine’s storage room, but Marcie seem to love it and spent the rest of the afternoon talking to it as though it were her best friend. We all got quite a giggle out of Marcie and her new found plaster friend which we deemed the best cure we had ever witnessed for the “Terrible Twos” stage of childhood. It certainly made the rest of the sale much easier since she now was entertaining herself and became content to let her Mother work undisturbed by crying fits.


On the second and last day of the sale, Marcie still did not want anything to do with anyone but her mother and the statue of Christ. She definitely was one of those children who would not come to strangers no matter how much we tried to entertain her. Thank goodness no one bought the statue as it was the only thing that kept her busy and out of harm’s way throughout the two day sale. By closing time on Saturday we were all elated that the sale had made enough money to help keep the store running for another few months and they could afford to hire another employee until Marcus could get back to work. After the sale we moved all the tables back into the garage and decided to order a pizza to celebrate.


Before the pizza arrived, I walked back into the garage from the kitchen to retrieve the one thing I had purchased…the battered statue of Christ. I decided that perhaps with a little paint it wouldn’t look so bad and would fit nicely in my small patio garden. Obviously no one who came to the sale wanted it except Marcie and her Mom said she was sure Marcie would soon forget all about it.


As I reached down to pick it up, I noticed that we had forgotten to close the garage doors and it had started to rain.  I hit the button to close them and in that instant I caught a glimpse of little Marcie as she came running up to the garage from the outside. Ice cold chills ran through me as I screamed desperately: “No, Marcy Go back!”


Instead to my horror, Marcie froze directly under the closing door. She had not obeyed one request from me since I met her and she was not going to start now. She stubbornly shook her head “no.”


As the door slowly moved down towards Marcie’s little body, I was in complete shock. The tables blocked me from getting to her and there was no time to run through the house and out the back door to snatch her from beneath the closing door. In anguish I cried out: “Jesus, help me!” and my knees buckled as I shook from sheer terror and helplessness.


As my knees hit the concrete in an almost prayer like position, I saw the most amazing answer to my prayer. Marcie was running towards me. She was so tiny she sprinted underneath the tables in a flash just before the garage door would have crushed her to death. She ran towards me with her arms opened wide as though to run into my embrace. By this time I was crying and shaking so hard, I could only utter, “Jesus, Jesus, praise you Jesus!” And as I cried out my praise and wonder, little Marcie ran right past me to hug the battered statue of Christ. She ran into Jesus arms and He had saved her.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Election Prayer

Election Prayer
by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Lord Jesus Christ, You told us to give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God. Enlighten the minds of our people [in] America. May we choose a President of the United States, and other government officials, according to Your Divine Will. Give our citizens the courage to choose leaders of our nation who respect the sanctity of unborn human life, the sanctity of marriage, the sanctity of marital relations, the sanctity of the family, and the sanctity of the aging. Grant us the wisdom to give You, what belongs to You, our God. If we do this, as a nation, we are confident You will give us an abundance of Your blessings through our elected leaders. Amen.
Composed by Father John Anthony Hardon, S.J.
Imprimatur: +Rene H. Gracida, Bishop of Corpus Christi, July 7, 1992