A customer, acquaintance, friend came by the bookstore yesterday to pick up her daily Lenten reading book. She sat on the stairs and thumbed through her book, deciding whether or not to buy more copies for friends. She asked about a Miraculous medal for her sister, a Daughter of Charity, and she told me that her sister discovered her vocation on a trip to Guadalupe and I shared that I had a strong conversion experience in Lourdes. She talked about trying to figure out what to read for Lent and I shared that I was going to read Abandonment to Divine Providence because for weeks I had been prompted by readings and by visitors to read this book. She said it's one of the best. Another confirmation. She shared that a sister once told her, "To be a Catholic is to live the Gospel message." And, then, she repeated it, followed with, "I think that's what it is to be a Christian period."
Last night, having finished a small book I bought my sister and myself for Christmas, "Don't Sing at the Table: Life Lessons from my Grandmothers", I searched my bookcase to find something I've been meaning to read. I came upon Matthew Kelly's Rediscovering Catholicism, a first edition hard copy that I've probably had for 6 or 7 years. And I read,
"Our siblings, parents and children are sending us this message, as are our friends, neighbors and colleagues. They are saying, whispering and crying out, "Don't tell me, show me!" ....they don't want to read another book or hear another tape about Christianity, they do not want to hear your amazing story of conversion. They want the real thing. They want to witness someone, anyone - just one will do - living an authentic life. Someone whose words are spoken by the authority of his or her actions. Someone striving humbly but heroically to live by what is good, true and noble in the midst of and in spite of this modern climate."
As we begin this season of Lent, may we search for that authentic person in ourselves. May we strive to begin to let go of the cravings, the temptations, the ways of this world and work toward being that witness, that someone who lives the Gospel message and whom those who meet may refer to as Christian. May we strive to show, not tell.