Two weeks ago, I had the incredible privilege of being present at an exposition called Treasures of the Church. It was an opportunity to venerate over 160 relics — all but six are first-class — in our parish gymnasium. What a gift this evening was for my family and me!
My kids knew the event was coming, and the oldest two (ages 8 and 6) were particularly excited about it. They each brought something to touch to the relics, so that these items would become third-class relics themselves. We all went in with a couple of things we want to see and touch, but once we were there, there was so much more to engage with. To be honest, it was a little overwhelming.
I brought a rosary a dear friend gave me in college, and didn’t realize until the introductory talk that we could touch our wedding rings to the relics as well. My husband and I both touched our rings to various relics, and I love that these items have become even more special and sacred.
The Blessed Mother’s veil, a thorn from the crown, a piece of the Lord’s crib … We venerated relics of so many saints who are important to our family—St. Augustine, St. Monica, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Irenaeus (we’d just told our kids about him the day before as we worked on our family mission statement), St. John Paul II, St. Athanasius, St. Maria Goretti (her story was part of the introductory talk, and we touched my daughter’s rosary to that relic in particular), St. Francis Xavier Cabrini (patron of the church we attend on vacation), St. Bernadette … For me, the most moving relic was the piece of the True Cross. I touched the box containing it, and tears came to my eyes.
We were up past bedtime, but the kids were engaged and excited through and through. I pray the impact it had on them will last longer than one night, that their hearts were truly moved and remain open to God’s will animating them. How could you not?!
There were so many people there — people from our church, from our school, and people we’d never met, some in visible need of healing. Only God knows what miracles will come of this experience, and I pray that we might see and recognize them to give Him glory.
My six-year-old told me as we were leaving, “Mommy, I want to be a saint!” My eight-year-old created a plan to make a prayer card for each of the kids in his class and touch each to his newly created third-class relic, so that the cards become the same. I love the fire my kids have for Christ and His Church and for the sense of community this night has wrought.
In the week after this night, there were two difficult conversations I needed to have. All my anxiety about that disappeared when we were in the presence of these holy items. My husband told me later that the shoulder he’d recently hurt skiing didn’t hurt anymore; it hadn’t since we’d been to the relics.
It’s not magic; it’s not superstition. The Holy Spirit is real, alive, and well, and we experienced that in that evening in a way I couldn’t have imagined and may not ever really be able to describe.
Thanks be to God.
If you have an opportunity to be present at this exposition, please go! And bring a friend or seven!
Copyright 2019 Lindsay Schlegel