Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Being an Instrument of the Lord

The summer before my junior year of college, before I had fully committed to converting to Catholicism, or rather before I fully realized that I had committed, I got in an argument with a boy who I didn't know.  The details of events leading up to this argument are a little hazy and I'm quite sure that this young man doesn't recall our discussion at all, but there was a pivotal moment during our exchange when I made the startling realization that in my heart I was already Catholic.  The Lord was just waiting patiently for my head to catch up.

You see, this boy who I had only just met was yammering on about things he had no real knowledge of.  His perceptions of the Church had been cultivated not by reading primary texts or researching on his own but rather were given to him by others who had also not done any independent research.  His flawed interpretations had been passed down through generations of people who had all clung to the same flawed interpretations.  But I listened quietly with mild interest and a modicum of incredulity because I could tell he was a talker who very much enjoyed the sound of his own voice and I didn't want to get "involved".

But then he said something derogatory about Mary.  The real Mary.  The Mary who carried our Lord in the safety of her womb.  Who was chosen by God to protect our Savior in His most vulnerable state.  Who was afraid and confused but who agreed anyway.  Who was forced to travel a great distance while hugely pregnant.  Who had to give birth to her very first child not in a sterile hospital or a comfortable inn or in the safety of her own home but rather in a barn.  Surrounded by animals.  She was chosen, of all the women on earth and in all of time, to carry out that most harrowing and glorious of tasks.

That boy dared to take her supreme act of devotion, her pure and gentle heart, and crush it under the heel of his bitterness.  That boy, who didn't know any better, who in fact probably knew much worse, thought he could throw out a few seemingly harmless words of condescension and be met with a nod of approval, or at the very least a blank stare of apathy.  Especially from me.  I mean, I wasn't even Catholic after all.

Neither he nor I was prepared for the wave of righteous indignation that washed over me in that moment.  The ache I felt in my heart knowing that he would never seek to love Jesus with same boundless affection as His mother had, that he would never be able to turn to her for inspiration and strength, that he would instead freely cling to a disdain born of an unwillingness to soften his heart, was almost more than I could bare.

The words tumbled forth from my untrained mouth like water rushing through a broken dam.  Words that I could not have spoken of my own accord even if I had a tried.  Words I can only  attribute to the incredible power of the Holy Spirit.  Those words almost certainly did not change that boy's world but that most certainly did change mine.

If I, a girl who laughed too loud and drank too much, not yet even baptized into the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, sitting in the cluttered living room of an unkempt college apartment, could defend the dignity and absolute holiness of the Blessed Virgin Mary, her incredible place in the very fabric of human history, to a boy I didn't even know, what other miracles did the Holy Spirit have in store for me?  How many more signs did I need?  I needed none. But He in fact had many more.  And my life has been miraculous and unbelievable ever since.

If He can work those miracles in me, a selfish, petty, insignificant person who is most certainly unworthy of any special consideration, I ask you: what miracles can He work in you?  How many more signs do YOU need?
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23 comments :

  1. For a long time, I never really considered Mary's position in the life of Christ but seeing The Passion of the Christ brought it home like nothing else ever had. I mean, I understood the task she had undertook and the incredible amount of faith that she had to muster to do what she did in that time but I always looked at her as simply a vessel. But that movie (yes, Mel Gibson's movie) humanized and "motherized" her for me. I connected with her and with Jesus in a way that I never had before. I saw myself as a mother watching my son go through what Jesus did and then I saw the big picture of God watching His son go through all of that and I just knew that was a sacrifice that I am grateful that He made because I don't know that I could have that amount of love to let my son suffer and die for one of his sisters. Does that make sense?

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  2. Beautiful. I love the route He took to stir your heart and bring you to Him. So tender.

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  3. What a beautiful post - I love conversion stories! Reading it made me think of the line from Wordsworth, calling Mary "our tainted nature's solitary boast," perhaps that's why she was the subject for your first defense of the faith.
    Emily C (sorry, don't why it won't let me post under my name)

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  4. Our Lady was instrumental in my conversion as well. Always, always with her gentlest touch directing us toward her Son.
    What a beautiful post.

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  5. He works in such mysterious ways! you warmed my heart and made me cry tears of joy Dweeja. This was beautiful, you are beautiful and so if the family God gave you!

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  6. This made my morning ~ how wonderful!
    You introduced yourself to me a few days ago, CF Family blog, and I'm so glad you did. Looking forward to reading more of your adventure. . .
    Warmly,
    Allison

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  7. The Truth is a beautiful, overwhelming thing, Dweej. Yet, somehow, you made it even more beautiful and overwhelming; perhaps because you try to live it?
    Glad you joined the "group"! :-)

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  8. Before becoming a believer, I was on a date with a man who flipped off God. I would have said then that I wasn't sure I believed in God, but I was so offended by his action.

    Just that Truth making its way clear to me in yet another little way...

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  9. beautiful, just beautiful!

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  10. So, so beautiful! I really loved this. And I really love hearing how God works His master plan in the lives of His children. He knows just who or what to place in our path and the exact moment when it needs to be done. Thank you for sharing and for glorifying God with your words. :)

    Blessings my friend,
    Rosann
    http://www.christiansupermom.com/

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  11. Dweej, I have always avoided religious posts. Nothing turns me off a blog faster. Except yours. Something about the way you write and present your beliefs is just... inspiring. You make a wayward girl like want to find Church again.

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  12. Yes Dweej, this is very beautiful. It warms my heart to no end when I hear of people I love so much, loving the Savior and His blessed Mother. You are a good person and deserving of all the zillions more blessings God has in store for you!!! Thank you for the sweet, sweet post. Hugs. (and tears.)

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  13. I'm not Catholic, but graduated from a Catholic college and it really bugs me when people started spewing against Catholicism. Their ignorance makes me want to scream!

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  14. This was so beautifully written, Dweej! LOVE the last two paragraphs...I, however, think you are worthy.

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  15. I love the passion in this - mysterious ways indeed.

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  16. Yowzers woman you gave me chills! I love your boldness. Wish I could be more bold. I'm chicken. But His grace covers that as you know. God is using you.

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  17. Just FYI, I just added you on G+ and you're in my circle titled "Generally Awesome Peeps." THought you'd like to know. ;)

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  18. One of my distinct memories of our trip together post-Roma is of you praying the green-bead rosary that your grandmother gave you (am I right about that?) silently on the train. And you weren't even Catholic at the time. Your love for and trust in Mary profoundly impressed me and still does!

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  19. Oh I hope this goes through! Previous comments haven't. This is a beautiful post and it is so true that trusting God and letting go is the right way to do things - but it's so HARD, isn't it? My struggles are different from yours but things have always worked out, though in ways I never guessed. But it is hard to say, "I can't see how this is EVER going to work but I trust You!" Or rather, it's easy to say, but it's hard not to be afraid or to despair.

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  20. Every time I read another one of your posts, I'm struck anew with awe at God's goodness. He is so good! I love learning more about Him through you; please keep writing and writing and writing!

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  21. That's so sweet, it makes me very happy to read it

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