This weekend I spoke at a Magnificat prayer breakfast. I told my faith story, something I am more and more comfortable doing even though it is a changing story that grows and unfolds as I continue this walk with the Lord. It is inextricably bound to my relationship with the Blessed Virgin Mary, too. Relationship, of course, is at the root of my experience.
I shared that I feel like the workers who came in at the end of the day and still received a full day’s wages (Matthew 20:1-16). I am grateful for a merciful God who knows my heart and wants me close. For too long, I lived a compartmentalized life, where I put church in a box to be opened only on Sundays, prayer set aside to be recited and checked off a list while the rest of the time I enjoyed the give and take of relationships with family and friends.
Over the weekend, I connected with good friends, women with whom I’ve worked in the new evangelization, women with whom I have much in common as we shared about our faith, our loves, disappointments, and joys that make up so much of our experience in mid-life. Women with whom I’ve shared a spiritual home in our parish for decades. And to my delight, women I reconnected with after many decades!
We talked for long hours, at lunch and over dinners, laughing joyfully through most of it, but also acknowledging our moments of pain and insecurity – allowing ourselves to become vulnerable for a moment. This give and take that I took for granted in my friendships over the years and learned to foster and appreciate in deeper spiritual friendships as I got older was the missing element in my relationship with the Lord – it wasn’t relational.
I learned, through these friendships, how to open up, trust, share, and most of all, be present to the Lord – and most importantly, to just be in His presence. It didn’t happen overnight, but through the years I’ve learned to apply these gifts of friendship to my relationship with the Blessed Mother and Jesus. I’m grateful for the friends who have been bridgebuilders for me. Through their holy example so much like the examples of the saints, I’ve learned to respond to the most important relationship in my life, with the Lord.
I’m still learning. To be present. To be vulnerable. To be loved.
Copyright 2018 Maria Morera Johnson