You know how it is, the chaos of so many people all trying to file into the center aisle and claim overhead baggage. I tried to make myself as small as I could. I shifted my carry on totebag to the front of my body and held it close. My purse was sandwiched between the bag and my body. My eyes were watching the feet of the person in front of me. Finally, I was almost to the open door. Almost home.
As I passed the flight crew, the male flight attendant commented on my bag.
"Women of Grace, what's that?"
I looked down at my bag and noticed that the logo was facing out for everyone to read. "Oh, it's a Catholic women's group." I kept inching my way past the young man.
He groaned. "Oh, I am such a bad Catholic!"
His words caught me by surprise. Immediately, I stopped trying to move forward. I looked at him, square in the eyes. I read no disdain there. Just honesty. Right in front of his colleagues, he had admitted that he was not living a rightly-ordered life. He could have kept quiet. He could have said something with a note of sarcasm.
Instead, he spoke with sincerity and contrition. And I had to wonder if my logo had been a kind of message to him. Yes, God is still calling you back. Come on home, son.
I smiled, the best smile I could muster. "Well, you know the remedy for that." And I silently prayed, Sweet Blessed Mother, shower him with graces. Let him know I really care about him
"I do." He smiled back at me, then. "I need to find a good priest, one who's gentle."
"Oh, St. Louis is my Archdiocese. There are many good priests here. And I haven't met one that isn't gentle. You can do it. You know what to do."
Every time I think of that young man, I whisper a prayer. I pray that God honors his honesty, his bravery - to speak of such things in front of his own co-workers. And I pray, if he hasn't yet set things right - that God will continue to use clueless women like me to send messages. Come home, son. Come on home.