There are many outward signs of faith. My love of jewelry has grown to reflect that. Most times I wear a cross around my neck sometimes even a crucifix (a true sign of being Catholic!).
When my mother passed away, I found an outpouring of her Catholic faith that stopped me in my tracks. When I had my husband read the letters of spiritual bouquets to her mother, promises of offering up her communion or saying countless rosaries for her mother, my husband and I were left speechless.
“Did you ever know her to be this way?,” my husband asked. No. I knew my mother was Catholic, but I never in my lifetime saw her practice her faith.
My parents were married in a civil ceremony. My dad was a divorced Lutheran with three children. My dad was told to get an annulment, so my parents could marry in the church, but neither of my parents could do it because of my dad’s kids. In those days (early 1950’s) the belief was that you just didn’t turn children into bastards.
My mother was also a very bitter and angry woman. I never knew her to be anything else. I just thought she quit going to church like everyone else I knew. But the mystery deepened when I found those letters. I don’t know if it was one thing that turned her away from the church or a series of things.
When I was a teenager, my mother gave me a gold chain with a cross and diamonds. I thought it belonged to her mother. Later I found out the chain belonged to my grandmother and my mother had actually bought the cross. It was a puzzle to me. Why would my mother want to wear a cross?
Somewhere along the way, faith was broken and then restored. My daughter always wears a cross or an anchor (a sign of hope). She attends Mass regularly even though her friends never go. The Lord has brought healing to a branch of my family. He has given us the outward signs, but most importantly, He reached in and touched our hearts and souls.
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