I’ve just returned from a last minute trip to Texas with my parents. The reason for the trip was to assist them by driving one car behind them while they drove our old Mercedes Benz to Texas to live forever. My dad wanted our unused 1984 vehicle…300,000 miles and all. We were afraid that the Mercedes would not make the trip, so I agreed to follow along just to be safe. Old and cranky, it made the 3 day trip without skipping a beat.
Three days on the road with my parents brought back some good memories of traveling with them when I was younger. We drove everywhere in a big gold 1968 Cadillac that had no air-conditioning, was a smooth and nauseating ride, where my brother and I could stretch out on the backseat and never touch one another. When we took those long, hot trips to visit relatives or friends…you can bet that mom and dad were going to pull out the ol’ rosary for some much needed prayer time. My brother and I were held captive in the back seat, forced to pray the rosary whether we wanted to or not. My mother would start, “Hail Mary, Full of grace the lord is with thee, blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus” my dad, brother and I would sleepily respond. This was a ritual of travel for us, a prayer that was a chore to me as a child…I didn’t “get” it.
Today, when my parents come to visit, they always make time to stop in Irondale, Alabama where EWTN hosts its global Catholic Radio Programming. There is a small chapel there that holds the Blessed Sacrament. This Chapel is televised throughout the world through EWTN and offers Christians live streaming to pray in front of it.
Predictably, my mom and dad entered the chapel as they had many trips before, took their seats (Mom in the front pew, Dad in the pew behind) where mom pulled out the rosary. They began quietly praying. I sat behind them, distracted, watching them pray--ever faithfully. They had gotten so good at it, their rhythm and steadiness struck me. That is what happens after 53 years of praying together. I got it though, I saw the continuity of what they were doing…how their prayers sustained us, brought the family together over the years, allowed grace to penetrate when God seemed far away. It reminded me of the saying of how “God does not want us to be perfect, just faithful”. They have most certainly been faithful.
It rings true of what we do with the youth of our parish each week. Realistically, many don’t want to come to youth group sessions, while others do, and some are lukewarm…like me in the back of that Cadillac. But the fruits of our faithfulness will be harvested over time. Most of us will never know the fruits, but the kids will “get it”…eventually. And something you said or did will resonate and make a difference. Thanks for being faithful!