Around a year ago, I was blessed to be able to meet this man named David. For a year now, he has never left my mind or my prayers.
It goes like this . . .
I went on this service camp called the Real World, where you experience the world in a very real manner. Yes, it was uncomfortable and I’m a tad bit scared to go again this year, but what happened on that service camp can never compare to anything I have ever done or experienced in my life.
One of the real situations we encountered was homelessness. Now we not only lived in “poverty” (meals were guaranteed, health was protected) but we had the privilege to encounter poverty in its realest terms.
On one of the days, we went to St. Vincent’s to help prepare meals, clean transportation, finalize a play ground and so forth depending on which group you were in, which was good, yes? But to me, that wasn’t really uncomfortable, I had my group; we were having a good time cutting humongous Rice Crispi’s and making bags, but that’s not how Jesus broke my heart.
My heart broke encountering the very real people that live this very real life. It was said multiple times that a bag of food can go such a long way, but a “hello, my names Zoë, what’s yours?” can go even further.
And that proved to be true.
After helping prepare the bagged dinners, we went outside to wait in line like everybody else. When I finally got my food, I went sit down at this table. Across from me was this man who wore an American Bandana (I liked his taste), we talked for a while about how good the green beans were and so forth. Not long after sitting there, something caught my attention - a miraculous medal hanging around his neck. Without thinking I told him of how much I liked his necklace and then that started a very eye opening conversation (who says Mary doesn’t bring her children to Christ again?!)
What was happening was a crazy, beautiful miracle. I learned that this man, David, who was never religious before, was converting to Catholicism. Not to forget that out of ALL of the people that were there who I could’ve sat by, I ended up sitting by a man who desired to convert to the Catholic Faith… as I did 2 years ago.
He said, among many things, of how much he desired the Truth. He had no one and no home to go to and he stated that when you have nothing, Christ truly makes Himself everything. When he was talking he started to cry, of how much it hurts and how hopeless everything seems to be but he found the Truth and he clung to it with everything. I saw the pain in that man’s tears, but not only did I find pain, I found redemption. How rich is the man, who has nothing but has found Everything?
Through this man, Christ gave me so much so much and I realized that whenever you completely give yourself to others out of the love and mercy of Christ, He gives it right back to you but in a hundredfold. You can never give more than what Christ wants you to receive from Him.
We talked some more - he told me how he was going on an interview for RCIA that coming Sunday and where (along with more personal stuff) and then the time came where he had to go. I gave him my St. Michael medal and I told him that I was going to try to be at the Easter Vigil, on which he would be welcomed Home.
And God knows how much I tried; I called the church he told me he was attending on several occasions. I got in touch with the man and I asked about David, and he told me that he did have a David in his class and that he would tell him I called, but I didn’t want that. I wanted to correspond with David. I called again and again, I even emailed them and the lady emailed back that she would forward the message to RCIA coordinator.
However, I didn’t get anything. No one ever responded after that. So the only thing I could find myself do is simply pray.
After we finished at St. Vincent’s we went to the Missionaries of Charity to give Adoration to Christ, in the most Blessed Eucharist. It was there that I offered and wrote a prayer that I still pray from time to time and I would like to share it with y’all.
(Obviously I’m not a pro at beautifully, poetic prayers, but this is it in its rawest form.)
I pray intentionally today, as with hopefully my days to come, for David. I ask that you lead him to safety but most importantly to You, oh Lord. Make his heart burn for the Truth that you have given us. Let him desire the goods and fruitfulness of himself, as well as the others he has come in contact with. May he be apart of the evangelization of our Catholic Faith to the homeless community. I hope that one day I will be able to see him again soon and under better circumstances than he has been. I give you thanks for Your protection over him thus far and I ask it ever the more for today and everyday. I give You thanks that I was able to meet him, so that also my heart could be open, but first torn apart, to Your love and Your need for my hands and feet. I ask that You will make your presence known to him through the ways which he is living. Give him a hope, a reason to live. - You are the ways to which all hope and reasons come from. Let it be known to him of Your great mercy and abundant love for him. “For Your mercy endures forever and your love is from age to age to those who fear Him.” I am so overly joy filled that he has recognized this thirst for the only One who is able to quench it. He will find you there and make it his home, never wanting anything more but to have this pure and true faith in You. I love you so much dear Lord, and I give my life so that I may be able to authentically care and love my brothers and sisters who thirst for You, but under different stances of life. I hope I let You shine today and I ask that I would become so little that You may become in me who I was created to be. Keep us safe, Holy Mother, and show us how to love like Christ.
St. Michael the Archangel, pray for us.”
What I experienced that week was not comfortable, it was not just some other retreat but rather it was a way for me to actually give myself to others through the vulnerability I was placed in. That week for me was extremely tough but I have never been in more of a humble state - ever.
Meeting David proved to be one of the most humbling experiences of my life. Not because he was in physical poverty, but because I realized that I was the one in spiritual poverty. Through David I realized how much I actually lack, an how selfish and ungrateful I am.
God puts us in situations of vulnerability to show us how much He wants to be EVERYTHING - to depend on Him. He asks us to serve simply so that while He is giving through us He is also giving to us.
There is no experience in this world more humbling and fulfilling than that of giving yourself all to Christ and through Christ for others - in the way in which He calls.
I ask that you please pray for David and also all those out there who are lost and are trying to find their way back Home. Please pray for me, that I will have the courage to spread the faith and be proud of the faith that I have been given and not to cower away from opportunities of humility and evangelization.
Let this man be an example of Christ's love and mercy for us.
May God bless and Mary protect.
and only You
are my great Dependency.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven."
- Matthew 7:21