Also posted at The New Evangelist/Companions of the Cross
Through the work God calls me to do, with the abilities He has given me, I meet many people. They all teach me valuable life lessons regardless of their personalities or stories. Some of them remind me that God uses the meek and humble to teach the greatest lessons.
One such soul is a delicate little Jewish lady whom I’ll call Miriam. She lives with a mysterious illness that would try the resolve of the most ardent believer. But not Miriam. Her concerns are for the whole world and most especially for her family and those of us who provide her care.
Miriam has taught me valuable lessons in prayer. “When you pray,” she instructs, “pray for the whole world. It doesn’t matter what religion anybody is. We are all God’s children. Pray for everybody.”
We don’t share a religion and there are aspects of our respective beliefs that are foreign to the other. But what we do share transcends all our differences: the love of God and love of neighbour. These are the two greatest commandments that are common to both of us and it is upon these that we build a relationship.
The embers of Miriam’s life are fading but her soul continues to burn brightly, forever young, touching and teaching all who are privileged to know her. Wisdom flows from this person whom the world would deem a burden with nothing to contribute. Yet she continues to pray for those who have forgotten her and who fail to recognize the value of her life.
As I’m leaving, she insists on kissing my hands: “the hands that care for God’s children.” She blesses me, prays for my family and emphasizes that we are all connected in time through God. She points upward and tells me that we will see each other again “by the grace of God.” This is her usual good-bye as she walks me, with difficulty, to her front door.
I’m happier and more hopeful when I leave because God’s grace which is overflowing from this good woman has touched me. “Pray for the whole world,” she says again. And I do. As I continue on my way, I smile because I know that Miriam is praying for me, too.