We met in a waiting room. She sported a stylish bun and a multi-colored tutu with, as she quickly pointed out, a matching necklace. Her dark eyes were serious at first, but her exuberant spirit broke through in a toothy grin. In short, Juliet was an adorable 6 year old about to start first grade. And she had secrets to tell.
Pressing a forefinger to a dimpled cheek, she lowered her voice in confidence. “Do you know something? Right now, right now, God is taking care of us. That is what God does, and he is doing it right now.”
She leaned back with a wise smile, and looked up at her mom. I reiterated what she confided, and her astounded mom drew her close in a hug. “I am so proud of you!”
And there is was: the simplicity of faith and a consciousness of presence.
Faith and a consciousness of God’s presence are integral to the practice of Catholicism, to finding a home. Complementing that simplicity there is a rich and textured intellectual tradition in Cahtolicism, complicated and layered, academic and scholarly. It is wrapped around historical context and establishes a framework for theological exploration. It has generated debate and argument since it’s very inception, a reflection of the nature of human beings.
But there is so much more to the Catholic experience. Living faith is far more than following rules or mastering theological arguments. It bears a simplicity that defies arrogance and a trust that bonds deeply. It is an openness to the possibility of the moment. It is about being. Just like Juliet.
The Eucharist, raised for all to see during the Liturgy, invites a moment of awe if allowed. There is a tenderness in presence, in the consciousness of the divine binding generations and still connecting one to the other. There is the mystery of relationship, one and all. There is the chance to experience gift with an open heart and mind.
That was Juliet’s gift, the one that allows for the miracle of the divine, for a sense of Presence.