I wish you could have seen my friends streaming out of their cars on this very cold December morning. They had smiles of pure joy on their faces, and had come to unload an anonymously donated truckload of 4,000 pounds of food for needy families. It wasn’t just the normal kind of food pantry food, either. There was even fresh produce! Green beans, carrots, sweet potatoes, and corn on the cob.
Catholics get a bad rap, only second to Muslims in our country, by some people. Unfair and blatant prejudice. Catholics are often particularly misunderstood in the Bible-belt South. I personally have been told that “all the evils of the world could be directly traced to the Catholic Church.” I had one previously friendly person make the vampire banishing cross with his hands in front of his face when he learned I was Catholic. I’m still shaking my head about that encounter.
Most of the American public, and the rest of the world, frankly, like to dwell on their misunderstandings of the original Christian Church, and overlook the significantly major contributions of Catholics over time. Those contributions include The Big Bang Theory, the principles of genetics, the calendar as we know it, art, architecture, music, cartography, world wide education, health care, and even contrary to popular prejudice, extraordinary women who were saints, mathematicians, philosophers, and scientists. Think about it.
So back to those modern day saints who are just regular men and women, who gave up a perfectly good Saturday morning in the middle of the shopping season to make a happy holiday for some families who are in need of a few breaks. A great Catholic wrote, “Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay: small acts of kindness and love.” That guy was J.R.R. Tolkien.
By the way, my peeps happen to be Catholic, but there are Christians and other faithful people all over this country, and the world, who are doing the same thing today, and every day. Thus the smiling faces!