This summer Abraham and I became good friends.
My days at the oratorio estivo, or parish summer day camp, consisted in listening to announcements in the microphone, which I didn’t understand about what game we were going to play next, following the masses to one field or another, and then trying to stretch my vocabulary into some kind of interaction with the kids who were on the sidelines.
Language is pretty basic, but there were two other basic interactions that I wasn’t able to rely on either. To begin, it was very different for me that the minority of the day was focused on some sort of catechetical content, and that I couldn’t have been one to add it in Italian even if I had tried. Secondly, many times when I’m doing something that isn’t directly evangelizing; I experience more strongly just how far a simple testimony of someone belonging entirely to God can reach. But here, I didn’t even have that… the kids and counselors hadn’t the foggiest what a consecrated woman of Regnum Christi was, and much less that I was one–and anyway, being another one of those things that requires words, I couldn’t exactly sit down and explain it to them. I’m pretty sure that to most of them I was just the American (they had that part clear) who kind of dropped out of nowhere halfway through their camp. To top it off, I couldn’t even introduce the ECyD missionaries or help them to know what was going on; I was just as clueless as they were, so I contented myself with living the adventure with them.
I felt like the incarnation of useless.
And that’s when Abraham and I became friends. Well, we had already become quite well acquainted on other occasions, but this was a real heart-to-heart. He kept popping up in the liturgy each day during that week at the oratorio. In my daily prayer, which was often in the middle of an eternal day, red T-shirt, tiredness and all, Abraham sat next to me with that one word which always seems to strike home:
I remembered a blog I had written last year during my summer apostolate about that same word (One thing). As I went back to re-read it, I realized that this summer I was discovering a new facet of that famous word.
Then I read this phrase in an essay on our Statutes from Semillas de Espiritualidad, Nuestra obediencia como holocausto?, which seemed to put words to that which I was discovering:
“The promise of God consists in numerous descendants through his son Isaac. The holocaust of this same son is in total contradiction to the divine promise!”
In one sense, through my consecrated chastity my Isaac is my physical motherhood. In offering it to God as a holocaust, he is able to fulfill his divine promise to me and to the whole Church of “engendering children in the spirit,” as it is described in our Statutes. But here, I heard Our Lord gently teaching me that he was asking for still more in that holocaust: my spiritual motherhood itself. I wanted to clarify that “the holocaust of this Isaac is in total contradiction to your divine promise!” Like Isaac to Abraham, it is my only hope for fruitfulness, precisely the way you have promised me spiritual children. And you ask for that, too? You want me to be able to offer you my time, my effort, my actions, and my disposition to love without always seeing the spiritual fruits, either? I guess that’s kind of the definition of faith…believing and not seeing…
But ouch all the same.
Curiously enough, this struck a peaceful chord deep inside of me… so deep it was an aching peace. An ache from stretching, from reaching deeper than I knew existed; and a peace in recognizing truth.
Peace in experiencing that my simple and (literally) silent presence was truly consecrating to him each moment, each person, each interaction during that oratorio. Peace in experiencing that precisely in the contradiction of my uselessness there was room for faith in his divine promise, and in that faith was the only response he needed from me. Peace at seeing his goodness in opening my eyes to many ways in which he was indeed working through my littleness, although they weren’t the ways I was expecting. Peace in experiencing his fidelity once again.