Where God and I have walked...

Our Lady of Good Counsel
The church of my first sacraments and where I first remember loving the Lord.
I revisited the parish church of my childhood last night for Mass and the anniversary celebration of friends. It was an evening of tremendous grace and blessing as my eyes were opened to the presence of God in the life of a little girl. I don't remember the circumstances, but I recalled touching the beautiful blue and brown tiles of the church floor. Perhaps when I was kneeling. I had knelt there before Our Lady and gone in there for my first Confession. I had admired and examined the exquisite and larger than life stained glass windows. The crown above the altar. The paintings that occupied my imagination although no one unlocked their secrets for me at that time and I was too timid to ask... ora pro nobis... ora et labora. 

The woodwork my small hand had touched many years ago. The path my feet took to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist for the first time.

I did not expect the visit to be a moment of conversion. I should stop being surprised at these gifts from our Lord. He was there then with me and He is with me now. I felt as though He was holding my hand and taking me on a tour of my heart and where we have been together.

The church was hot and the acoustics were awful and the sound of the fans drowned out the Panis Angelicus... and I remembered the feeling of my young legs sticking to the varnished pews and the dampness of my uniform blouse. The years have slipped by and I have fancied too often that I am different from that little girl. I am only different because I have lost something along the way.

As I sat there seeing with my little girl eyes, I physically experienced my former innocence. I remembered it and what it felt like and who I was at that time. The years that followed felt different. I lost innocence and wonder, the eyes of faith and the desire to seek. Last night, I recognized when it left. I felt it leave. And my heart broke for the loss and then rejoiced as He showed me how He had walked with me through it all.

Coming back to those beginnings renewed in me a sense of purpose. Another step in conversion; like the very first steps when everything is so clear and there is no confusion. It is a gift of intellectual clarity but so much more... experience, emotion, faith, grace. He calls and says: Find Me again with the eyes I gave you.

The church I spent those years in was massive and no less so now that I have grown. As comfortable as my current parish church is, I wish my children could experience such physically majestic beauty on a more regular basis. It does something to a soul.

The church on the left next to a public transit bus garage.
My street was almost opposite the church.
The neighborhood surrounding the church was my playground for a number of years but decidedly less lovely than the church. It was a little rough then and more so now. I saw things I wish I hadn't and was afraid sometimes because I wasn't rough like that. But that little red light shining within the giant stone walls of the church was something else entirely. As a tiny little person, I walked alone from my house just to be there even though I couldn't have told you why.

I left for a while and now I know what it is like to live in a rough world without that sanctuary. And I don't want to live that way again.

Jesus, thank you for showing me the evidence of your love... it transforms me and inspires me to seek You and love You. Please help me remember and retain the innocence of childhood... and please, please help me share it with my children. I know You won't let me go. You never have. Please lead me deeper into Your Sacred Heart. Thanks be to God!
Posted on June 23, 2011 .