I’m a post-Vatican II Catholic, meaning that I grew up with this emphasis on community. I often ponder the fact that there seemed to have been more community before 1970 than after. You cannot manufacture community. It either exists or it doesn’t. The more you try to create it, the more elusive it is. But even when you try – there is a faith group.
My parish community has some core people in it who are very quiet, very steady and very faithful. One of those members died last week. She was also a neighbor. She was a simple person with a big heart. Before she became sick, she’d give us tomatoes out of her garden. She always seemed to have a bumper crop. She loved to garden and had a green thumb. Even as she was sick, she hung those upside down tomato plants and harvested many.
I am thinking and praying for her tonight. In thinking of her I am contemplating that you can have faith alone but communion with others is more meaningful. Giving, even silently, encouragement, a knowing glance, a shared understanding makes faith more lively. My neighbor lived her faith always, simply but passionately. In the hospital, she had her rosary wrapped around her wrist, holding it while sleeping. She was serene as she knew her end was coming. I found her to be a lovely, uplifting person.
I have been fortunate in my life to have known many women; wives, mothers, singles, who have inspired me in my faith life. Neighbors who extended friendship and kindness. Sinners who have forgiven me and mine as I hope I do others. Simply put they were Christians.
I don’t mean to make this a woman’s only message but tonight I am thinking and praying for all my women friends who have passed on. Some were very young. Some were old. Their lives and their passing reinforce my faith and I thank them.
I thank the others in my community, those I know and don’t know – male and female, young and old who have and will share their faith journey with me. I thank the Lord that He never leaves us alone.