Bloomington, IN. Remember Fr. Ignatius? He’s really good at sending us stories from the street. Here’s his latest offering:
The campus of Indiana University. A tall, dark, young man, presumably a student, is quickly moving by where I am standing. “Would you like a free Rosary?” I ask as he whisks by. “No,” he quickly retorts as he keeps on moving.
He’s already by me at this point, so I have to speak loudly, “How about a holy card?”, as I hold out the one with the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He glances back while still walking forward and away from me, but a little slower and says, “No.”
“This is Jesus. You can’t say no to Jesus.”
He stops and turns to me without saying anything, no expression on his face. I approach him while holding out the holy card and he takes it from me and looks at Our Lord’s image and His Most Sacred Heart.
“Are you Catholic?”
“I’m half Catholic.”
I’ve never heard that before in my life and think maybe I missed something during my seminary years.
“Yes, my father is Catholic and my mother is Protestant.”
“Have you ever thought of becoming ‘fully’ Catholic?” (Meaning fully believing and practicing)
“I can’t because that would split up my parents.”
I remind him of the passage in the Gospel where Our Lord says, “Whoever loves mother, father, sister or brother more than Me, is not worthy of Me,” and that this is one of those cases to which that passage applies. “If we do what God wants, He will take care of the rest. Everything works for the good for those who love God,” I said. He was silent, just looking at me. I noticed the wind swirl the leaves on the pavement around us.
“Maybe God wants to use you as the instrument to bring both of your parents to a fully Catholic life. We need to do what He wants of us, and He will take care of the rest.”
He smiles a little and says, “If you ever decide the priesthood is not your vocation, you would make a great car salesman.” I return the smile and say, “Well, I’m quite sure I’ll stick with the priesthood,” as I take out my pad to get his name and prayer intentions. I later thought that it’s not so much the “salesman” as the “product” we’re offering. We are all made for Truth and Love. That appeals to everyone. We simply need to bring it to them.
Thank you, Father Ignatius! Who wants to follow in the footsteps of this good priest? Join us!