On Sunday, as I mentioned, I was sick. I went to 5:00 Mass, but right after Mass began, went to the restroom to blow my nose and get more tissue. By the time I came back, my spot was taken, so I had to go up to the balcony to find a place to sit. Virtually every seat was taken (which really isn't a complaint), but a relatively young mother put her probably 3 or 4 year-old daughter on her lap to open up a spot for me. I had three quick mental responses to this: (1) being thankful, (2) becoming suddenly embarassed that she probably thought I was like ten minutes late for Mass, and (3) thinking that there was probably an important lesson on judging others here.
The mom and the little girl were great. The little girl was interested in what was going on in the Mass. It was the Bishop's Lenten Appeal, and she was paying attention to what the priest was saying, and occassionally doing her best to whisper to her mom. One of their comments has stuck with me for the last few days. The little girl whispered, "Mommy, what's charity?" And the mom, answered way better than I could: "It's doing the work of God." The little girl was bowled over by this explaination, and repeated it: "the work... of God!" She just had such a wonder about her that I appreciated. Maybe she thought her mom meant casting lightening bolts or something, I really don't know. But I do know that her reaction to the idea that we, as humans, can do the work of God was the appropriate one: astonishment and wonder.
Since we were in what seems to have been a converted choir loft, Communion was a bit crowded and a little chaotic. I was pleased to make it back to my spot, and was praying in thanksgiving. Then I realized that the woman and daughter next to me were gone, and I thought "What a bad example for her daughter!" and then tried to correct, and just pray for them. A few minutes later, I happened to look up, and there, standing against the wall, was the woman, holding her daughter, as they silently waited for me to finish praying, so they didn't have to interrupt. It was ... humbling, to say the least. The whole experience has hopefully taught me a lot about judging, and about doing the work of God, even in the small witnesses you don't even know you're giving.
Alan Johnson on Missional-Ecumenism and ACT3, Part 2 -
4 hours ago