Presence

It’s been years.  She’s desperate; her money gone, her health still declining.  She has no hope, no relief and wellness seems to be an impossibility.  Doubled over, in a crowd that is abuzz on the dusty streets she becomes part of the mayhem and a crazy idea flickers in her head.  The shouting, sweating in the hot sun, jostling, and then someone yells: there He is!  In an act of desperation she stretches out a hand and barely manages to get a finger on his cloak.

What was it about this man that made her believe / hope that only a touch might offer her blessed relief which she had been unable to find for over twelve years? There were stories that he was generous, loving and more than willing to help people, but she was not of his faith.  Still, there was no denying that everyone for miles around said there was “something” about him whether you agreed with him or not.  In his teaching and preaching, the way he lived, people saw/felt something that was simply out of the ordinary.  She had nothing to lose and was a first hand witness to the way his very presence affected the crowd. So she decided to “go for it”.  It was a single touch of his clothes that he couldn’t possibly feel in the craziness of the crowd.  It was an anonymous act that would bring her no ridicule if “nothing happened”.

So, what was it that sparked hope in her heart?  There was just an unnamable “thing” that people talked about when they told the stories about him, something that was different from encounters with every other who claimed to be a healer, teacher or preacher.  His “presence”, quite simply, left a mark.  Its invisible existence stirred hope in her heart, despite the fact that she didn’t know him.  When you act on hope sometimes God gives you a miracle; “’Daughter, take courageyour faith has made you well.’  At once the  woman was made well.” (Mtt. 9:22)

Like it or not, you leave behind a presence no matter where you go.  Presence is really a matter of your personal heart.  What is foremost in your thinking, speaking, when you are with others, including your readers?  Is it the will of the Father or is something “more important”; how you look, sound, or how profound your teaching will be that day?  You are a person who purports to be a Catholic witness by virtue of your writing.  Are you willing to take full responsibility for the presence you leave behind?  Do you realize that you can create hope for those who have lost it, encouragement for those who are flagging, insight for those who never had it? Are you willing to be so transparent that the grace of God shines through you? That can be dangerous because some people don’t like to be reminded about the presence of God.  The only question for you, as a public communicator is; What presence do you want people to experience after you or your writing are gone from their sight?

About KathrynCunningham

Kathryn is a retired junior high teacher. A convert with a love for the Church she believes that its teachings have a more than viable application for today's world. She writes practical theological for the people in the pews believing that they have as much right to good catechesis as our youth and converts. Her writings appear on Catholic web sites and local Church publications. She has even been published in the diocese of Australia and most recemtly Zenit. Kathryn holds a Master's in Theology and is a certified spiritual director. Learn more about Kathryn at: www.atravelersview.org
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