Thursday, June 02, 2005

Sacred Bench Encounters

Ah, our bench has been a sturdy space for serendipitous moments! It has been a rich gift conversing with people such as Maria, a mother of 7 from Argentia, who traveled to Rome on a pilgrimage. She spoke of how life is to be lived on God's time, not ours. Priest Benardo, from Florence, spoke of the perfect love of God. He did so with a contagious grace. He had studied philosophy, but was left empty reasoning love until he discovered a God fragile enough to come in human form and strong enough to transform the soul. Tony, a gregarious 24 year old from Split Croatia, recalled how he had done drugs and was addicted to alcohol until he had a personal encounter with Christ when he visited a holy site in Bosnia. He now plans to become a priest committed to helping the suffering. I met Maryanna, a 17 year old from Dubrovnik, today. She plans to be a nun, though all the other nuns are quite old. However, her love for God is irrestible and her desire for Him irrepressable. Many of these inspiring people have shared their struggles and their dreams candidly with me. They have also given me gifts. I am left humbled and expectant. It has been nothing less than divine encounters on these sacred benches. Ah, yes, more to come...