It seems apt that at this time of magic and miracles, of darkness and light, I should write about the presence of The Lord in my life. I know this sounds sacrilegious, as I am certainly not a practicing Christian of any sort. However, all the families I work with are either Catholic, Pentecostal or Baptist. I have worked with Jehovah's Witnesses, but that will require a separate piece.
The homes of the Catholics have crucifixes on the walls, in the fireplaces, in the kitchens. Images of scenes from the Last Supper grace the walls. In the Latino homes there are statues or photos of the Virgin of Guadalupe with candles and flowers in front. These altars are all very beautiful, and are changed according to holidays or family events. Alongside the images of the Virgin of Guadalupe are photos of their ancestors. rosaries, various symbols.
In one of the homes I go to, the daughter is very ill. She was born with a metabolic disease and has to be kept secluded in her home. Her mom is young and deeply religious. I see her on Friday mornings. Often, during my visit a woman member of their church comes by and she and the mother say mass in the home while I sit with the little girl. I presume they are saying mass. They stand in front of a picture of Jesus and another of the Virgin of Guadalupe on the dining room table. A white candle is lit and they stand in front singing, and I hear Senor, sangre, padre, madre, espiritu santo, and so on. They kneel and stand a few times.
The young mother recently had surgery to remove several malignant growths in her neck. This of course shocked all of us who are involved with the family. After all, she is very young, and besides anything, her daughter needs her. We prayed before and after the removal of the tumors. Her mother came up from Mixoaca to help her for a couple of weeks. Her mother is also very religious.
I was there on Friday, after her surgery, and translated the doctor's summary for the family. While I was there the 'traveling minister' (as I refer to her in my head) came into the home. The three women stood around the table/altar and prayed and sang in unison. This lasted about thirty minutes while I attempted to interest the little girl in a book of fairies (she is partial to fairies at this time.) Out of the corner of my eye I saw the women genuflecting, then the minister handed them what appeared to be white discs. I realized this must be communion. When the minister left the mother turned to me. Her face, pale and lopsided after the surgery, was glowing. Her eyes beamed, she appeared almost drunk.
"Nesta, " she purred, "un miraglo a pasar, un miraglo de Dios. Dios es aqui, en nuestra casa." God is here, God is present, God is with us. He wants to make himself known to you. Do you know what happened now?" she continued beaming lopsidedly, while her mother also stood there, glowing. "The minister brought two wafers, one for me and one for my mother, but there is an extra one, it is for you, it is a miracle, "Dios te quiere, Nesta, Dios te quiere. Nesta, you are blessed, Jesus wants you to know him, he is here with us and in our hearts, you are blessed, you are blessed."
I had no idea how to respond to these two beaming women! "Gracias," I said. It is time for me to go now.
I left to the usual "Dios te bendige" that most of the families wish me.
So, God bless you and a merry Xmas to one and all.