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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
November 11, 1988     The Message
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November 11, 1988

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2 Faith Today Supplement, The Message, Catholic Diocese of Evansville, November 11, 1988 .:  7  . Wonder stories! By Jane Wolford Hughes NC News Service aisy was rightly named. She required little attention from her sickly mother or her overworked father. She roamed the fields around her small Midwestern town and found her identity among the grasses and small creatures. Daisy worked as a cashier in the supermarket after high school, but longed for more knowledge. In an evening literature course at the com- munity college she met Michael -- older, more educated --. who was impi'essed by her journal, so in touch with the earth. He became attracted by Daisy's simplicity and goodness. As they saw each other more often, their age and educational differences melted with the warmth of their feeling. They ,had been married five years when Michael was elected to their parish council's education commis- sion. When the council sponsored a day of recollection for members and their spouses, Daisy went but was not prepared for the day's faith- sharing part. She felt inadequate to speak before people she regarded as better educated and better able to express themselves. She was the last of the group to speak. She began haltingly to talk of God's presence in all created things and in her life; of their shared laughter at the comic antics of the horny toad and their admiration for the genius of the beavers at the dam; and of her sense of confidence in God's protection as lightning splintered the oak tree on the hill. As she spoke, she was what her past taught her to be: a transparent window to God. Her peacefulness was visible. The group saw a vision of creation their eyes had not known. Telling our stories of faith is part of our tradition. The stories of Scrip- ture were told huddled about a cold desert night's fire, in upper rooms and fishing boats. They are part of our heritage. Our stories are directly connected to those stories. "She roamed the fields around her small Mid- western town and found her identity among the grasses and small creatures." Today,An places where faith stories are shared, the group leader should try to assure that what un- folds is more than a free-flowing conversation. The leader should help to create a climate of prayerful reflection, freed as much as possible of smugness and self-importance. Every story is a wonder story. Each provides a glimpse of God among us. Eric approached the catechetical sessions of the Rite of Christian In- itiation of Adults like a starving man invited to a banquet. But guarded about himself, he revealed only the essentials until a time came for the group's members to share what prompted them to be there. At his turn he asked the group's understanding of what he called a "mystical experience." "My life was a haphazard blur of work, play and no serious com- mitments. One night I was driving home in a bad rainstorm. I skidded off the road, hit something and blacked out. "I dazedly awoke to a woman rapping on my window. She could see 1 was bleeding and asked me to open the door. She pulled me out of the car, dragged me up to her car, tied something around my head. "All I remember is that she was young and dressed in white. Before I passed out again, I asked who she was. She laughed and said, 'Just call me Miss Samaritan.' "When I awoke in the hospital she was gone. The emergency peo- ple had not found out who she was, other than that she was a nurse. "I investigated but found no trace of her. It bothered me. I began to think about what she had called herself. "I read the Bible and even started to pray for the first time since I was a child. I saw God's goodness in the presence of the young woman. She saved my life -- physically and spiritually. "That's why I'm here. I believe I was touched by God's hand," Eric said. Then he added softly, "1 didn't care about God, but I'm thankful that God cared about me." (Mrs. Hughes is a religious educa- tion consultant and a free-lance writer in Detroit.) By Debbie Landregan NC News Service obody talked much about faith when 1 was growing up. Since everyone 1 knew was Catholic, faith sin]ply was understood. Wc talked about the parish school the pastor, the Christmas bazaar, bingo 0 r the upconling bridge part)', but not our faith. If it did come up, it'was handily dealt with. "You Catholic?" "Yes." "Me too. So, are you going to the parish bridge part)'?" Not that faith was unimportant. It was seen as private, with no place in back-fence chats. But faith is more openly discussed now by people of all denominations and is more likely to come up in daily conversation. Yet, while some Catholics embrace this new openness, others still squirm or clam up when the topic pops up in conversation. Why? Maureen O'Connor is more than happy to talk about religion, the many social justice causes she is ac- Cryingl By Father John J. Castelot NC News Service ne psalm opens with the chilling cry: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" But its second part shifts gears and we hear: "I will proclaim your name to my brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will praise you" (Psalm 22). God had not forsaken the distress- ! ed person but had heard his cry and i come to his aid. Rather than simply . thanking God, the person shared this good news with everyone. That was typical of God's people; They were not reluctant to talk about God, to communicate their faith to others. Faith is, after all, an interpersonal relationship with God. Like all "such relationships it has its ups and downs. Ordinarily people feel an almost uncontrollable need to share these ups and downs; the communication increases their joy and helps to ease their anxieties. Their many-sided relationship with God cries out for expression. The Bible is made up, in large part, of just such expression. In biblical times faith grew and flourished over the generations through telling and retelling the peo pie's story of faith. And so the psalmist writes: "What we have heard and know, and what our fathers have us, we will not hide from their sons; we will declare to the generation to come the glorious deeds of the Lord and his strength and the wonders th# he wrought" (Psalm 78:3-4).