"Something Special - 2014 Trip Reflection by Kevin Corydon
Several years ago I was blessed to be able to visit the Holy Land and I remember the words of our guide, Peter Vasco OFM, as we sat on the bus in Tel Aviv before we started our pilgrimage. He told us that before there was a universe, before there was a cosmos or a world, God knew that we would be here in the Holy Land. And that there would be something special for each of - us a blessing, an insight, or a grace that was just for us in this time and place.
It took me a while to see that “something special”, probably because I was looking for the “aha moment” and not waiting for the silence and peace that would bring me that special gift.
Moving forward to the present I find that “something special” in mundane things when I give God a chance to poke and prod me into doing things outside of my little shell of a life. Greeting folks I don't know, making time for the cashier in the store, smiling at people when I am walking, these little things add a richness to my life even when they are not acknowledged by the other person.
I feel connected to that person because I reached out in some way.
This also happens each year when I visit our sister parish in Lepaterique, Honduras and this year was so rich for me in knowing that I am connecting in more ways than ever before. After struggling for three months in a language school in Bolivia trying to learn Spanish, I have finally accepted that I am not a linguist - not even close. I am now able to communicate a little better and actually have some meaningful conversations. Mind you, they are very basic conversations with a lot of small sentences using body language and probably at a 1st grade level.
One of these conversations was with Amada during a bus ride back from Aquacate, one of the villages we visited to offer basic medical service. Amada began to tell me about Holy Week and how her family had a truly Holy Week. They along with ten other families were charged with conducting Holy Week services in one of the aldeas (small village). So she and her entire family packed up for a week’s stay and left for their aldea.
While there they stayed with families that lived in the particular aldea where they were to spend Holy Week. She began to recreate everything from Palm Sunday to the Easter Vigil the entire week without a priest. Her eyes sparkled and the smile on her face told the real story of being one with the community in prayer and worship.
“I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.”
Staying in homes in the community, sharing meals, stories, lives, and faith. She spoke of palms, washing feet, communion services, reading and reflecting on scripture together with the community. The more she talked the more beautiful she became - a light shining in the darkness, a truly faith filled woman of God.
“In the same way, let your light shine before people in such a way that they will see your good actions and glorify your Father in heaven."
I really had to stop and listen then try to put myself in her shoes.........How would I ever be able to celebrate Holy Week without going to church and having a priest available? Would it even be possible to have all of the richness and prayerful times?
Then looking at Amada sitting next to me smiling and staring out of the window feeling very close to God and her community, I realized that I need to take more responsibility for my faith journey and not always rely on someone else.
The entire week was filled with many occasions of witnessing faith in a people who truly rely on God for their very existence. During the week it seemed that every day the scripture reading spoke to our journey and of being one in God.