There once was a little boy who wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with Mars Bars and a six-pack of cola and he started his journey. When he had gone about three streets, he met an old woman. She was sitting in the park just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to her and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his cola when he noticed that the old lady looked hungry, so he offered her a Mars Bar. She gratefully accepted it and smiled at him. Her smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered her a cola. Once again she smiled at him. The boy was delighted! They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word. As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave, but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old woman and gave her a hug. She gave him her biggest smile ever. When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, “What did you do today that made you so happy?” He replied, “I had lunch with God.” But before his mother could respond, he added, “You know what? She’s got the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen!” Meanwhile, the old woman, also radiant with joy, returned to her home. Her son was stunned by the look of peace on her face and he asked, “Mother, what did you do today that made you so happy?” She replied, “I ate Mars Bars in the park with God.” But before her son responded, she added, “You know, he’s much younger than I expected.”
Welcome to our Taste and See Family Mass on 9th March, the first Sunday of Lent. Holy Mass begins at 3.30pm followed by a shared table. Two exiting programmes have started in the last week here in Schoenstatt: Schoenstatt Hearts Afire )and the Life in the Spirit Seminar. During this year we will follow the programme for Schoenstatt Hearts Afire which leads us into Schoenstatt’s way of becoming an apostle. Pope Francis has asked that each of us share the joy of the Gospel with others. Each month we will have consider one element of the “Tree of Evangelisation”. Our theme for March is “Salt, Light and Leaven”. We look forward to welcoming you and your family to the Taste and See Mass.
My brother Kevin thinks God lives under his bed. At least that’s what I heard him say one night. He was praying out loud in his dark bedroom, and I stopped outside his closed door to listen. “Are you there, God?” he said. “Where are you? Oh, I see. Under the bed.” I giggled softly and tiptoed off to my own room. Kevin’s unique perspectives are often a source of amusement. But that night something else lingered long after the humour. I realized for the first time the very different world Kevin lives in. He was born 30 years ago, mentally disabled as a result of difficulties during labour. Apart from his size (he’s 6’2″), there are few ways in which he is an adult. He reasons and communicates with the capabilities of a 7 year old, and he always will. He will probably always believe that God lives under his bed, that Santa Claus is the one who fills the space under our tree every Christmas, and that airplanes stay up in the sky because angels carry them. I remember wondering if Kevin realizes he is different. He doesn’t know what it means to be discontent. His life is simple. He will never know the entanglements of wealth or power, and he does not care what brand of clothing he wears or what kind of food he eats. He recognizes no differences in people, treating each person as an equal and a friend. His needs have always been met, and he never worries that one day they may not be. His hands are diligent. Kevin is never so happy as when he is working. When he unloads the dishwasher or vacuums the carpet, his heart is completely in it. He does not shrink from a job when it is begun, and he does not leave a job until it is finished. But when his tasks are done, Kevin knows how to relax. He is not obsessed with his work or the work of others. His heart is pure. He still believes everyone tells the truth, promises must be kept, and when you are wrong, you apologize instead of argue. Free from pride and unconcerned with appearances, Kevin is not afraid to cry when he is hurt, angry or sorry. He is always transparent, always sincere. And he trusts God. Not confined by intellectual reasoning, when he comes to Christ, he comes as a child. Kevin seems to know God — to really be friends with Him in a way that is difficult for an “educated” person to grasp. God seems like his closest companion. In my moments of doubt and frustrations with my faith, I envy the security Kevin has in his simple faith. It is then I realize that perhaps he is not the one with the handicap — I am. My obligations, my fears, my pride, my circumstances — they all become disabilities when I do not submit them to Christ. Who knows if Kevin comprehends things I can never learn? After all, he has spent his whole life in that kind of innocence, praying after dark and soaking up the goodness and love of the Lord. And one day, when the mysteries of heaven are opened, and we are all amazed at how close God really is to our hearts, I’ll realize that God heard the simple prayers of a boy who believed that God lived under his bed. Kevin won’t be surprised at all.