Little Offerings

During my time in RCIA, I started reading as much as I could about the Catholic faith and practice. Two of the best books I read were Matthew Kelly’s Rediscover Catholicism and The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic. Though I was in the process of discovering Catholicism (not rediscovering) through the formal RCIA process, I was impressed by many of the book’s claims about the important value of Catholicism in modern culture. Yet, the topic that stood out to me the most (and was touched on only very briefly), was the act of “offering it up.” Honestly, I can’t remember which book in which I encountered the idea of offering something for someone else. Yet, months later, I still remember it.

In a nutshell, Kelly claims that anything can be a prayer. He states that even if your job is but to collect garbage, you can “offer” that hour of work as a prayer for someone in need. In one way, these little acts of selflessness help us fulfill St. Paul’s instructions. After reading that particular section in Kelly’s book, I was floored. Never once in recent memory had I thought about my daily actions as a prayer to God.

For me, to pray without ceasing meant to pray in a traditional way, eyes closed and hand folded, at all times. For a prayer to “count,” you had to list all of your needs, wants, and thanks to God. It was my job to inform God of every little jot and tittle in my life. It’s no wonder I was usually exhausted trying to pray non-stop. Prayer had become a chore rather than a privilege.

Now, as I’ve matured in faith and age: prayer has taken on a new meaning. Now that I know I can “offer” up anything to the Lord as a prayer, the possibilities seem endless. For example, I may say the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and offer it for those who are hurting or discouraged. One night I may say it for a very specific intention. On other days, I may offer up my daily work for a group of people or a cause. I may attend an hour of

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Walking with Purpose

adoration for the intentions of a religious sister. And while I may not know the needs and specific intentions for those I am praying for, I know that God know. What a comfort!

Your little offerings may look different from mine, and that’s okay. Perhaps you like to recite the Morning Offering before you get out of bed, or maybe you set aside a few minutes of Bible study for someone’s needs. There is nothing too small that Our Lord won’t notice. St. Martin de Porres said that scraping vegetables, tending a garden, and cleaning a room can be a prayer as long as it’s offered to God. Simply, no act is too little.

This week, I challenge you think of an action, activity, or amount of time that you can offer up to the Lord. Think about who you can offer it for (or maybe for yourself!), and begin to pray without ceasing.

Pure love…knows that only one thing is needed to please God; to do even the smallest things out of great love – love, and always love. // St. Faustina

I offer You my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day for the intentions of the Sacred Heart…[and] for the intentions of all my relatives and friends. // from the Morning Offering

 

 

 

Media Friday #1: Litany of Trust

Good morning! Welcome to the weekend.

Each Friday, I want to share a form of media that is uplifting and encouraging. For the first Media Friday, I’d like to share with you the Litany of Trust, written by Sister Faustina Maria Pia, SV, of the Sisters of Life. This beautiful litany sheds light on the weakness of our human condition and invites Jesus in to bind our wounded hearts. The video below displays the text of the litany, accompanied with soothing music. As you pray along, may it bring you comfort on this rainy Friday.

Strive to be as holy as you can be. // St. Martin de Porres // Pray for us!

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

Lessons From a Ragpicker

Though I am well-acquainted with the geography and history of East Asia, I never encountered the word ragpicker in my studies or travels. This changed when I read Fr. Paul Glynn’s The Smile of a Ragpicker: The Life of Satoko Kitahara, Convert and Servant of the Slums of Tokyo

At the heart of this biography, Satoko Kitahara is born and raised by her well-to-do Japanese family. She enjoys an education, and cultivates a love of poetry and fine art. However, the Second World War decimates the Japanese landscape and morale. Satoko, who once believed that Japan was the crown of the world, now sees her fellow countrymen defeated and in despair. After the war, day-by-day she drops her sister off at a local foreign, convent school. There, Satoko meets the Mercedarian sisters and develops an interest in Christianity. Sataoko, convinced of the truth of Christ (and to her parent’s dismay), converts to Catholicism.

Because of her new-found faith, Satoko  becomes interested in the people living in the local slums (called Ants Town because the people who lived there “worked like ants”).

Ven. Satoko Kitahara // catholicherald.co.uk

She visits Ants Town to volunteer a few hours per week, but soon, she realizes this is not enough. Satoko wants to mirror Christ who took on our humanity and also became poor. Because of her strong conviction, she eventually becomes a “ragpicker,” someone who sifts through garbage for scraps to sell. Leaving behind a life of wealth, comfort, and security, Satoko plunges into Tokyo’s most destitute neighborhood, only to die penniless and of tuberculosis at the young age of 28. Today, the young woman known as the “Dorothy Day of Tokyo” is on her way to sainthood, currently bearing the title Venerable Satoko Kitahara.

After reading Smile, I was left with many convictions churning in my heart. I thought for many days about God’s mercy and the mercy I offer to others. Often, as Christians, we are quick to say that “Yes, I show mercy to those who need it the most.” After all, it’s so easy to say we are merciful. We throw some coins in the can of a homeless person, we serve an hour a month at a soup kitchen, or we go to Mass regularly. We’ve gone on mission trips to other continents, painted walls, held children for a few hours, and then headed across the ocean to our own comforts.

I say this not to disparage volunteering in soup kitchens or participating in foreign missions, but rather to cast a light on how we think about mercy. In my personal experience, I’ve found that it’s much easier to show mercy to those with whom I don’t have a close relationship. For example, when I was in college, I went on a mission trip to Texas to conduct vacation Bible schools in low-income housing communities. It was easy for me to show mercy and “love on” those kids during that week because I didn’t have the baggage associated with them and their lives. In a similar vein, it’s easy to love kids in a slum living 5,000 miles away because, whether we want to admit it or not, we will eventually go back home to our normalcy.

But, it’s hard to love those who are closest to us. Simply put: We know too much about them. When you’re spouse is insufferable, it’s hard to love and show mercy to him or her. Perhaps there’s a co-worker who grinds your last gear, and you’d rather be sick than share an office space with him. Or maybe it’s your parents, who you think don’t listen to you enough or are maybe too overbearing. It looks like a brother or sister who takes advantage of you, or the family next door that has three kids who are just too loud. In these cases, mercy is very, very difficult.

When reading about Satoko’s life in Japan, I thought about how she served as a conduit of Jesus’ mercy to Tokyo’s most destitute. It would have been easy, effortless even, for her to ignore the plight of Ants Town. After all, she was educated and lived in a comfortable home. If she wanted to do good, Satoko could have easily went to a “proper” mission and sacrificed an hour or two a week.

But, she didn’t.

Rather, Satoko was wholly invested and merciful to those in her own backyard. While others in her elite neighborhood looked down on both her work and the citizens of Ants Town, Satoko gave her physical and spiritual life up for the most poor of Tokyo. But, though she was materially poor at the end of her life, Satoko experienced the richness of the many conversions to Catholic Christianity as a result of her witness. Ultimately, she was known as a “Japanese for the Japanese.”

I ask you: Today, to whom will you show mercy? Think about where you’re from and where you live. Will you be a Californian for Californians? Maybe you’ll be a brother to your sister, or a wife to your husband. A Canadian to Canadians. One does not need to venture very far to show mercy, or even to make an impact. Like Satoko, your ministry of mercy may be next door or down the street. Our Lord does not require a journey of thousands of miles to show His mercy  to others. Today, I pray that we may take the love that Christ has given us, and pass it along to those who are closest to our hearts.

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.  // Luke 6:36

O Font of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself upon us. //  The Chaplet of Divine Mercy

 

Three Tips for a Better Prayer Life

Candles, Church, Light, Lights, Prayer

Pixabay.com

If you’re involved with fellow Christians and you frequent social media, you’ve probably run into this familiar scene: a well-cropped photo with an alluring filter, an open Bible’s pages gently opened to an inspiring message, a highlighted line, a appropriately worn journal angled to the side, and a cup of coffee in the top corner. Yes, the Bible study picture. We’ve all witnessed it. Most of us have probably posted it. The likes and hearts validate us and our pursuit of faith.

Outside of the picture, though, how deliberate are our prayer lives? Do we spend more time curating the picture of the Bible and coffee than we do actually studying and praying? For the past month, I have taken steps to become more intentional in my prayer life. By intentional, I mean making prayer a priority, not just a passing breath as I roll out of bed or ready myself for sleep. But rather solid, uninterrupted time talking to the Lord.

Here are a few tips to help you cultivate your prayer life from passive to intentional:

1. Find a Companion Book. One of the best tools for prayer you can use is a book (or ebook). Personally, I prefer to use the daily Mass readings as a prayer support. I receive a dose of the Old Testament, the Psalms, a second reading from the New Testament (most days), and a message from the Gospels each day. While I highly recommend Abide in My Word for daily Bible readings, you can use any translation you’d like. I will read, and then pray for the needs on my heart based on the passages.

As of yesterday, I began reading the daily meditations in Rediscover Jesus by Matthew Kelly of the Dynamic Catholic Institute. It’s a 40-day devotional series designed for Lent, but it appropriate for anytime of the year. It’s already challenging how much I thought I knew about Christ and the Faith.

2. Timing is Everything. I’ve heard an old saying that says “People have money for the things they want.” I believe this phrase is appropriate for our time: We have time for the things we want time for. We have time for the gym, to go out with our friends, and to watch our favorite television shows. But when it comes to intentional prayer, it’s “Sorry Lord, I just don’t have the time!”

How can we beat this trend? Simple: Find a time and stick to it. What works best for you? For me, it’s the morning. I set my alarm a few minutes early so I can pray and read without feeling rushed. Often, once I’m in the thick of prayer, I don’t miss those few minutes of sleep. I keep this timing consistent each day, even if it’s a day when I sleep in.

For you, mornings may not be the best timing. You may work nights, so the afternoon may be more applicable. Yet, I would still argue for the benefits of morning prayer time. You’ll find that when you start your mornings talking to the King of the Universe, the day flows with much more grace.

3. Use Technology. You thought I would tell you to hide your phone during prayer time, right? Partially. Technology can be a distraction during prayer time, but it can also be a great help to enriching your intentional time with God. Thankfully, there are many apps that can help you find your way to better prayer.

First, Catholics often get a bad rap for “vain repetitions” and scripted prayers as if we don’t pray from the heart (Spoiler alert: The book of Psalms is written prayers). I have found that the use of written prayers has helped me tremendously, and I am able to voice praises and concerns I wouldn’t have thought of on my own. With that in mind, my favorite app is Laudate. You can find it in the Apple Store and Google Play. One of my favorite prayers to pray using the app is the Litany to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. What a great way to pray and meditate on the heart and love of Our Lord!

Other apps I enjoy are Relevant Radio and Echo. Each of these apps connect me to audio prayer, interactive prayers, and prayer reminders.

If you’re looking to boost your prayer life, don’t wait. Start today! Jesus is waiting for you to talk to Him, and when you choose to be deliberate in His presence, you won’t find disappointment. May God bless you as you begin (or recharge) your routine.

A Very Good Body: Romans 12 and Weight Loss

I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship.

Romans 12:1

Since this summer, I have dropped a significant amount of weight with the assistance of bariatric surgery. The decision to undergo a major, body-altering operation came after years of frustration: multiple stints at Weight Watchers, a round with inner ear staple acupuncture, visiting nutritionists, flip-flopping between gyms, and simply abstaining from food for a set period of time.  I was tired, and I knew something had to be done. I couldn’t climb the steps at my office without losing my breath. My body and my mind couldn’t take it anymore.

From my surgery date, I’ve dropped nearly 60 pounds. I’m at my lowest weight in nearly 15 years. In 40 more pounds, I’ll be at my ideal weight for my height. This is very, very good news for my mental and physical health.

In today’s second reading in the Mass, we read a small part of Paul’s letter to the Romans. As seen in the quote above, Paul exhorts the Romans to offer their bodies as “living sacrifices” to God. This also ties into today’s Gospel reading where Jesus tells his disciples that in order to follow Him, they must die to themselves first. However, in our culture, sacrifices and giving up anything is a foreign concept. Our culture promotes self-preservation and the promise of unlimited happiness if you buy enough of the right products.

Sacrifice is not a cultural value. Yet, over and over again we hear Jesus, and later Paul, admonish readers to die to self and to transform their minds and physical bodies for the sake of holy living. Upon hearing these parts of Holy Scripture, I ponder how the Physiotherapy, Weight Training, Dumbbellalteration of my body has led me to become more dependent on God for my daily nourishment.

Before the surgery, food was my primary coping mechanism. Not in times of doubt and negativity, but also in times of happiness and celebration. Food is everywhere, and unlike drugs and alcohol, is not illegal and can be found almost anywhere. Therefore, I relied heavily on food for my emotional and mental support. I would, of course, pray and read my Bible, but food was a much more pleasant and sensory experience.

Immediately after surgery, this all changed. I now have a stomach that can hold anywhere between two and five ounces of food when I eat a meal. As I am still in the recovery mode for the next week or so, my intake is still restricted. I eat soft foods in portions that would better suit a toddler. I can no longer binge eat because one, my stomach can’t hold it and two, my stomach can’t handle it.

Yet, I still struggle with the infamous “head hunger” that haunts many patients of weight loss surgery. You may know the feeling: You’re full, but due to some external force, your brain still says you’re hungry. So, more often-than-not, you eat to satisfy the mental urge. This was me for many, many years. Now, with my surgery, while I could still cave in to the head hunger, I know it will provide physical side-effects that can be unpleasant or even painful. Ultimately, this has forced me to rely on God rather than food.

This switch, while beneficial, has sometimes wreaked a small amount of havoc in my life. For years, I knew food would be there for me. All I had to do was go through the drive-thru at a local fast food restaurant or stop by a gas station for my emotional fix. Now, I have to deliberately tell myself that I am not hungry and my body doesn’t need what I want to put in it. I also have to say “You’ve just eaten, you don’t want another thing. You’re at capacity. What you want is bad for you.”

Instead, I will find my first instinct after avoiding the urge to eat is to simply pray. Or, if I’m at home, I will read my Bible or other inspirational readings. Sometimes I will close my eyes and just think. Anything to reorient my body towards Christ, to live as a living sacrifice. As I’ve mentioned repeatedly, this is hard. It’s hard to be a living sacrifice in an imperfect body that’s trying to shed old, detrimental eating habits. Sometimes, I fail. And I remember, that there’s always tomorrow. And unlike the days of old when the tomorrow of new eating habits never came, I have many new tomorrows to reset my dietary routine.

Dying to self, living as a sacrifice is against our own nature. Refusing temptations such as abusing food, alcohol, and drugs (or illicit sex, lying, theft, and poor treatment of our neighbors, to name a few) is a difficult to overcome due to our original sin. Yet, in Christ, there is mercy, grace, and forgiveness. When we drop the ball as living sacrifices, when we abuse ourselves and others: Christ is there, time after time. Sometimes, we may have to rearrange our bodies physically (as I did) to understand this grace. And in our darkest instances, when we believe there is no other way to rearrange our lives and bodies, Christ shows up to teach us again how to walk and live in His blessed way.

 

 

Lace Revolutionary: Choosing to Veil at Mass

“When we go to Mass together, I’d like you to wear a veil. I think it would be a good witness to everyone, especially the other women in the parish.”

If you step into, say 95%, of Protestant or Catholic churches, you won’t find but a handful women wearing head coverings or lacy veil. Gone are the days when most women wore elaborate hats (save for Easter) or little girls a tiny doily for a crown. Unfortunately, I believe this is a long-standing Christian tradition that has been tossed by the wayside for the sake of modernity. So, when my boyfriend (now fiance) uttered the request quoted above, I knew I had to take the importance veiling under more serious consideration.

Shoes, Brautschuhe, White, ElegantAs a Catholic Christian, I believe that when a woman wears a veil to Mass, it is a visual reminder to both herself and those her around her that she is, first and foremost, submissive to God. I should add that I do not believe that the act of veiling is an issue of salvation. Just because I wear a veil to Mass does not mean I am automatically going to heaven, and because you don’t, it doesn’t mean you aren’t God-fearing or love the Lord. A woman can veil everyday of her life, and still not understand the truth of Christ in her heart.

I digress.

Though veiling is certainly foreign to most church-going women in the West, it wasn’t completely unknown to me. In high school, I sometimes wore hats to church. Often, I had read St. Paul’s advice to the women in Corinth, stating “But any woman who prophesies or prays with her head unveiled brings shame upon her head…” and also, because “of the angels” (1 Cor. 11:5; 10). If it was in the Bible, I knew it must be important. Ultimately, in the same chapter, Paul also issues the hierarchy of the Christian home, which for many, is a hard pill to swallow or even ponder. Yet, the foundation of families and Christian submission both mesh into the reason why many women veil on Sunday mornings or any time they enter a church building.

But, I’ve heard the detractors before, “A woman covering was a cultural thing, and now it doesn’t matter in our current age. Head coverings and family hierarchies are symbols of an old, misogynistic past.” But, what if we viewed Paul’s teachings as a way to publicly witness for Our Lord?

While I could express my own views about the power of the chapel veil in evangelization, I believe that Catholic family apostolate Veils By Lily offers a far superior explanation (bold emphasis mine):

In 1 Corinthians 11:7, St. Paul says, “A man, on the other hand, should not cover his head because he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man.”

Throughout the Bible, nuptial imagery is used to represent the love of God. In Ephesians 5:25, St. Paul says “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loves the Church” and this, taken in conjunction with 1 Corinthians 11:7 (and the rest of that passage), reveals this nuptial imagery: man is to Christ as woman is to the Church.

Since the Church is the “bride” of Christ, it makes sense that the bride should cover her head “as a sign of authority” (1 Cor 11:10) and submission to the bridegroom, Christ, whom men represent. The Church submits to Christ, not the other way around. It is a submission of love, not repression. Who wouldn’t submit to Him Who loves her unto death?

and

The veil is meant to be an external sign of a woman’s interior desire to
humble herself before God, truly present in the Blessed Sacrament. As
women, we are symbols of the Church – the Bride of Christ – and, as a
priest once said, “the veil is meant to be a visible reminder of the perfect
submission of the Church to the loving rule of Christ.”

“The veil is a visual sermon … a public proclamation before the Lord that He IS the Lord and that we love Him and that we are ready to obey him. It’s a totally counter-cultural statement proclaiming obedience in the midst of a culture that is totally permeated with this attitude of ‘I will not serve.‘”

The veil is also a sign of the great dignity inherent to a woman, who has the potential to receive life within herself… both human life and the supernatural life of God. This is an important message the world needs to hear, now more than ever!

As Christian women, Jesus gives such a beautiful and sacred sacred role in our lives. Just as in a home, men should represent Christ, women are tasked with the representing the role of Christ’s bride, the Church. We have the job of personifying God’s Church!

Nearly exclusively, the idea of submission goes against the grain of our modern society. Take a look in any bookstore. When perusing the selection for women, there are countless titles on how to be a boss in personal and professional life or how to achieve corporate success through aggression. Walk down the aisle further, and you’ll see dating books praising hookup culture. There are few books about the power of a quiet, gentle spirit.

When a woman wears a chapel veil or head covering, she says in a humble spirit to the world, “I am Christ’s and I am submissive to Him.” A woman need not be a married housewife living under the mission of a husband to practice this calling. Just as wives are called into Godly submission to their husbands (representing the submission of the Church to Christ), any woman can wear a veil and say that she is submissive first to Christ: Not to a secular idea or philosophy, not her career, not any other outside force.

When I veil, I believe I am displaying my commitment to Godly submission. I show the world that yes, I work a public career and I have other obligations. But first and foremost, I am living the virtue of submission to Christ. I show my respect, reverence, and awe of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. He is first: not my job, not my appointments, not my plans, and not even my fiance. Christ is King, and He is the ultimate ruler of my life. Finally, in the future when I am married, I pray that I can faithfully mirror the image of the Church in my relationship with my husband (who will reflect Christ in our home).

If you are a woman and thinking about the practice of veiling at Mass, I pray you will consider it. While veiling alone won’t take you to heaven, it can surely help you get there. I understand that for some ladies, it may feel awkward to be the only one with a veil. That’s totally normal, and I’ve felt the same way. Instead, look at veiling as a public witness for Christ that is humble, gentle, and ultimately revolutionary.

For more information about veiling or to purchase a veil, please visit Veils By Lily. If you’d like to chat with me more about veiling, check out my Connect With Me page. Finally, the video below is a wonderful testament to the practice of Christian head covering in the Mass.

 

 

 

 

Us and Them (or How Not to Evangelize)

I’ve always prided myself on inclusion. Perhaps that’s the first warning in this story, because pride is a very tricky (and sinful) thing.

Need somebody to teach English in the public schools? That’s me. Need another person to give up their college spring break to serve kids living in urban public housing? Hey, that’s me again. I’m there, with no prejudice attached.

We’re all God’s children, right? Sure.

Until I began RCIA and was received into the Catholic Church, I had no particular interest in evangelization. I knew I was supposed to tell people about the Good News of Jesus: that He took on humanity, lived among us, died for our sins, and resurrected to defeat death and sin three days later. Salvation, eternal life, and friendship with God, because of Jesus, is totally free. That’s wonderful news, but I possessed no real interest in telling anyone about it. I was born into a Christian family, the Gospel came pretty easy to me. I assumed it should come pretty easy to everyone else.

Fast forward to the present day, and I’ve experienced a change of heart. As it turns out, not everyone knows about Jesus. And for many, coming to faith isn’t that simple. There’s, unfortunately, often many circumstances that turn people away from the Gospel. Or simply, they may not want to accept it. But still, I want to share the Good News more now than ever.

Entrance: My pride.

Earlier this week, I ordered a stack of cards and a few brochures from the St. Paul Street Evangelization, a Catholic evangelization project that takes the Catholic faith to the literal streets. There’s no SPSE team where I live, but I was able to order the materials to give to acquaintances, leave with restaurant and service tips, and give to a stranger I may encounter.

As I would occasionally leave a Sacred Heart of Jesus card with my restaurant tips last week, I’d feel very good about myself.

“Ahh, spreading the Gospel has never been so easy!” I would think. “This could really set a chain reaction of events in someone’s life and bring countless souls to the Lord.” The satisfaction of a job well done.

So, one evening last week, as I walked through Walmart, I witnessed a familiar sight, one you may know yourself. There was a very overweight woman wearing high-cut jean shorts and a spaghetti-strap camisole for a shirt. There was nothing left to the imagination. With her were a couple of rambunctious kids (whom I assumed did not share the same father).

St Peter'S Basilica, Vatican, Catholic

The Lord hitting me with the truth. (pixabay.com)

 

Though I came in contact with the woman for less than one second, it’s as if the Lord asked in that moment, “Would you share the Gospel with her if I asked you to?”

I felt my stomach and psyche knot up.

“Lord,” I said. “I know I should, but maybe somebody else could do that. Now, if you need someone to report for duty in an exotic land or to volunteer to sweep the floor at a convent, You know I’m ready to go.”

Basically, I was telling Jesus that I didn’t want morbidly obese women who didn’t wear appropriate clothing and couldn’t control their loud kids in Heaven with me. I pushed the woman and the thought to the back of my mind, thinking of other things I deemed much more important.

The next morning, I attended Mass at a local parish close to my hotel. I settled in, did the standard look-around that comes with visiting a new church, and waited for the Mass to  begin. As I waited, I prayed that Jesus would show Himself to me during worship.

What a dangerous prayer for anyone to pray.

After the typical Catholic gymnastics, the ups and downs, it was time for the homily. Sunday’s Gospel reading was from Matthew 15:21-28, the story of the Canaanite woman and her demon-oppressed daughter.

In brief: The Canaanite woman asks Jesus to heal her daughter, but His disciples tell Jesus to “send [the woman] away.” The woman begs Jesus to heal her daughter, even after Jesus says that “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” The woman quickly responds: “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.” To this, Our Lord replies, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.”

In Jesus’s day, Canannites were a despised race, typically seen as the “other” in society. Rarely, did an Israelite want anything to do with the Canaanite, especially a Canaanite woman. As I listened, the parish priest speculated that Jesus may have played upon his disciples’ prejudices, only to turn the tables on them. Jesus’ disciples, it seemed, only wanted a certain type of person to experience Jesus’ healing and teachings. Yet, Jesus showed that His teachings were, and still are, applicable to everyone. With only her faith, the Canaanite woman’s daughter was healed and a miracle was performed. Race, sex, and social status was not a hindrance for Jesus.

As I listened, this message struck me between the eyes. Less than 24 hours earlier in Walmart, I was no better than Jesus’ disciples. Sure, I wanted salvation for everyone. I want everyone to know Jesus. But, when I was asked “Would you share the Gospel with her if I asked you to?,” I wasn’t about to abandon my neat, clean Christianity to minister to a woman who I assumed had no sense of common decency. During Mass, I prayed and I asked for forgiveness. I realized that when you ask Jesus to show Himself to you, it’s best to prepare for discomfort rather than nice platitudes.

And for this discomfort, I am grateful.