Tuesday, June 24, 2008
As we enter week three
Yesterday night we were lucky enough to stay at the Divine Mercy Shrine in the John Paul II House and I slept in the St. Therese bedroom! We spent the evening walking around the shrine and spending time in prayer. Then Andi was so kind to read to us from a book of saints, where we sat and debated as to why some people in the book were not really saints. It was a very silly book, they had Martin Luther, Martin Luther King Jr., Anne Frank, Gandhi, and other people who are not even Catholic listed as saints...Weird. It was a fun/interesting conversation!
Today we walked 24 miles, 6 short of our goal of 30 because we were held up in a thunderstorm. But, before the bad weather hit we were able to have a pit stop at a wonderful park where I met some young boys. The first two boys stopped three of us and asked us what we were doing, so we told them. After talking for a while they asked us what the flag was that we were carrying. I asked if they knew who the Pope was, and they said they knew what the Pope was, and then I explained to them where the Pope lives and that he has his own flag. He was pretty excited and spent a couple minutes examining what the flag looked like. Then he asked us a question about Mary. He told us that his Father said to him that God does not like us praying to Mary. We kindly informed him (without saying "Your Father is wrong") that actually it is good to pray to Mary, and I showed him my Rosary! I ask that you pray for these two young boys, they just moved to Massachusetts from the Bronx. I pray that we today sparked an interest in their hearts to find out more about the Pope, Mary and God.
I also request that you pray for another young man that I met today at the park. He came to me while we were on the swings and we started talking. It turns out that he did not finish high school, he may be going back to jail next month and that he sells/does drugs. He is only 19 and has spent 1 1/2 in jail before. I made him promise me to never sell cocaine again and we shook on it...twice. He asked if we were Catholic and I said "YES!!" And he said that he too was catholic and told me what church he belonged to. I then had an opportunity to talk to him about confession. He said he has gone to rehab a couple times now and it doesn't work, I encouraged him to go to confession. That with God's help and forgiveness it is easier to make it through the difficult times. After talking with him for at least 20 minutes, we shook hands again in agreement that he would not sell cocaine again and I gave him a hug goodbye.
It saddens me so much to know that there are these young kids out there that have the desire to know who God is, but they do not have the correct formation or good role models. The fact that there are children out there who do not have parents who hug them daily and tell them how wonderful they are. These kids desire so much for love and positive attention. Although these kids have done bad things and do not act in ways that we would consider to be good, it does not mean that these are bad kids. They need prayers, and I beg you to pray for them and love them for who they are and who they can become.
Who we are?
Conversion begins in our own hearts,which is why prayer is so important to our ministry. For this reason, everyday of our ten week walk begins with daily Mass. By receiving Christ in the Eucharist, we are given the grace to be the Love of Christ not only to those in our community but also to those we meet in the streets.
We walk throughout the day to be a witness of love. We are grounded in prayer-we pray with our lips, our hearts, and our bodies. In walking an average of twenty-five miles per day, we offer our fatigue as a gift of love to Christ and the people we meet. Our walking is both sacrifice and prayer.