Kitchen Catechism: Words of Wisdom
You don't have to do it all alone - God is always there for you.
So often when we’re doing God’s work we think we have to work harder than we ever have before, be more vigilant, aggressive, assertive and profusely postulate. I think this happens because we have something so wonderful, in our life with the Lord, that we want everyone else to enjoy and be part of it.
When I was first teaching Catechism to public school children, I learned a good lesson that has proven to be very valuable. At a meeting of the teachers, one woman said that she was being so excessively vigilant with the children, thinking it was up to her alone to bring them to God and the Church, that Father said: “You don’t have to do it all by yourself, God is there and He can work wonders Just throw out the seed and have confidence in God.
There is even a form of prayer where you thank God in advance for the request you’re making. This is the ultimate belief that a loving God is always there and concerned about you. I have done this, when I thought it was appropriate, and it has been very effective. It gives you a wonderful feeling when you can be so confident that God hears you, loves you and will give you whatever it is you need, that instead of begging Him you thank Him.
There is another area in which I think God has gifted us greatly and that is in giving us the various personages and articles which we can use as aids in petitioning God. Just as God sent Jesus, the Son, to live here on earth in human form so we could better understand and relate to Him, He has given us the Sacramentals, the example of Saints and the knowledge there are Angels.
The fact that everyone has a Guardian Angel comes right from Scripture as well as Tradition. Jesus tells us in the Bible: “See that you don’t despise any of these little ones. Their angels in heaven, I tell you, are always in the presence of my Father in heaven.” Mt. 18:10 It is so nice that Jesus, when telling us of Guardian Angels, told it in the context of “little ones”. It is so comforting for children to know that God so loves them that He has assigned an angel, specifically theirs, to guard and guide them throughout their life.
The value of children knowing and understanding their Guardian Angel becomes very relevant in the 1999 event of little Elián Gonzalez. Elián is the little Cuban boy who was adrift at sea, floating on an inner tube for days, had seen his mother slip into the sea and drown and eventually was sighted by fishermen who rescued him. The fishermen said that when they found Elián he was saying the Guardian Angel prayer that his mother had taught him . Another interesting thing was that Elián was surrounded by dolphins and though he was in what should have been a shark infested area, those familiar with the sea know sharks will not come in areas where dolphins are.
The most important person God has given us to serve as a model and to lead us to our true home, heaven, is His mother the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mary has appeared to different people through the ages and given them the design for what I will call ‘concrete’ sacramentals, e.g., rosaries, medals, scapulars, for the purpose of helping us better understand and grow closer to her Son. One I especially like is the Green Scapular because one of its proven powers is it brings about conversions. I became acquainted with the Green Scapular over twenty years ago in a situation which could be likened to the teacher learning more from the pupil than she teaches.
I met, under the strangest of circumstances, a young married women with two small children. She began to ask me little questions about being Catholic that could best be answered by another woman. I soon learned that her husband was a recent convert and was telling her about the faith. She thought it was fine for him but had absolutely no interest in becoming Catholic. Her Protestant faith served her well whenever she needed a church setting. But by the wonderful, mysterious workings of the Lord, in less than a year after our friendship began, she entered the Church. She gives credit for her change of heart, and only she knows how dead set against becoming Catholic she was, to the Green Scapular. Her husband who had become very dedicated to the Green Scapular devotion was tucking them in her wallet, under her mattress, in her car and other places near her.
She thought they were strange little green scraps of material with even stranger pictures but since they, obviously, meant something to her husband and it seemed a way for him to convey love to her, she would resist throwing them in the trash and tuck them into a catch-all drawer. It is hard for her to pinpoint the exact moment of her conversion but she has a strong, heartfelt sense that it was due to the Green Scapular because it happened so quickly and dramatically.
Today she has seven children, home schools them and is dedicated to promoting the Green Scapular because she wants others to experience the wonderful fulfillment she has found in Catholicism and in her own words: “ the confident hope to spend her eternity in heaven through the graces received in Christ’s Mystical Body -- the one, true, holy Catholic Church.”
What began as casual little questions and answers about the different intricacies of Catholicism developed into a strong friendship which persists today, and so I close this commentary with a happy heart for I have fulfilled the promise I made to my friend to help her promote the Green Scapular. Reading through information she sent me for this article, I discovered some things I really like about the Green Scapular. It is a very uncomplicated devotion. All Mary asks is that you distribute them with complete confidence that conversions will occur. Confidence, such an important part of our faith and why wouldn’t we feel confident when God has told us: “He holds us in the hollow of His hand, every hair on our head is counted and whatever we ask Him in the name of His Son He will give to us.”