Friday, 16 January 2009

A tiny gesture

I think I've mentioned before that my brother in South Africa is divorced and his wife is not Catholic. They take their children to Mass every Sunday, and my sister-in-law often also takes them on weekdays, and since none of them is able to receive Communion, the whole family goes up together for a blessing.

At Christmas, the church was so crowded that the congregation spilled out through every open door. My brother's family spent most of the Mass outside the church. When the time came for Communion, Extraordinary Ministers came to the doors to administer Communion to those who had not been able to get inside. My brother and his family wanted to receive a blessing from the priest, and so they found a way through the crowd and eventually managed to get inside the church, at the far end of the aisle from the altar.

Unfortunately, everyone inside the church had already received Communion, and the priest was on his way back up the altar steps. The family paused briefly, then began to turn and make their way back outside, disappointed that they had not been able to receive their Christmas blessing.

As they began to turn round, the priest noticed them and beckoned them forward. He came back down the altar steps to meet them, and blessed each of them in turn. That simple gesture made their Christmas, and a lifetime of gestures like it from good, holy men is the reason why despite many difficulties, people like my brother remain faithful to the Church.


Colleen said...

What a beautiful story!

Christine the Soccer Mom said...

That's beautiful. Thank you for sharing it!