by Bill Scholl
Recently, a friend at my parish shared a story of God’s mercy acting in the life of her family and I feel called to share this story with the whole archdiocese.
She had been helping her brother who was about to go to prison and coping with that stress. She suspected her brother was in trouble when he stopped talking about his friend; we’ll call him Francisco. Francisco would encourage her brother to stay clean and she knew it was a bad sign that her brother wasn’t hanging with him anymore.
Then one night, Francisco showed up at her house. Her husband answered the door and Francisco apologetically said, “I am sorry to ask, but I’m in trouble and I need some help.”
The husband replied that he would have to talk with his wife when she got back and he took down some notes. The guy’s rent was overdue and his landlord was going to kick him out if it wasn’t paid by the next day.
Right away, compassion conflicted with skepticism. Was this true or a scam to get cash? Francisco was clean, but did run with a rough crowd. The husband threw the notepad on the kitchen table and was about to escort his uninvited guest to the door when his eye was drawn back.
His haphazard toss of the pad had landed perfectly over his Call to Share envelope so that the word “mercy” was all that could be seen. He realized that Christ was using this to say, “Give this guy mercy!” So he offered to go to the bank to get the cash Francisco needed and drive him home.
In the car, Francisco asked, “Where do you go to church?” A discussion started that ended with him asking, “You know, God has been good to me. I was raised Catholic and I’ve been thinking of going back. Do they let strangers join?”
The answer was, of course, “Yes!” and Francisco was invited to join the family for the next weekend’s Mass.
St. Paul said that if he did not preach the Gospel, the rocks would cry out. In this case, God used a Call to Share envelope to cry out his gospel of mercy for the poor among us.
I’m blessed to see the work of the Archbishop’s Call to Share every day, and so I wholeheartedly believe in it. There are a few ways to interpret Francisco’s story — some dark and some light.
However, for me, I just wonder . . . if God can do all this good with just the face of the envelope, what must he be able to do when we put our pledge inside?
Send in your envelope if you haven’t already.