Saturday, February 14, 2009

Four girls, their Hail Marys and a blessed moment

On a beautiful Saturday afternoon, four Hispanic girls broke from their play and knelt down before the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary north of the buildings of St. Edward Catholic Church in Nashville.

And then they started saying their Hail Marys, not noticing me sitting on the bench talking to the Holy Mother.

This small miracle amid the busy schedules of the adult world was marvelous to behold. And the children all were seven years of age or younger.

It was most appropriate for the time of month, since the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes had just been celebrated a few days earlier. And the three shepherd children to which Our Holy Mother appeared in 1917 reminds us of her special love for the young.

With the four girls today, I can only imagine the great pride Our Lady had in this devotion from hearts just as pure as hers.

So in salute to her, and in gratitude for witnessing the devotion of the girls, I asked which of the girls was the oldest as they returned to the playground.

And then I handed the oldest a $20 bill for her to take the rest to the store to buy something that only the young can enjoy. Her eyes widened. All said "thank you". But I told them that the money was from Our Lady and from her deep appreciation for their devotion.

A half hour later when I went to the convenience store for some gum, the oldest was walking out with her mother, plastic bag in hand. A broad grin with one tooth missing represented her delight at a treat for all that was about to be shared.

Blessed moments such as these have highlighted my life through the difficult past three and a half months. And they remind me of God's presence, of his abiding presence, that calls on all of us to endure for the dawn to come.

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