Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Jesus and the Forklift

One of the most wonderful notions about Cursillo and the teachings of our church is to look for Jesus in every person.  You know that biblical verse where Jesus said "Whatever you do for the least of these"? As a Catholic we take that literally, that we can 'entertain angels unaware' and that Jesus presence can come in front of us as in anyone.

Well, today I met Jesus. I was at the church this morning, attending daily mass, doing the divine office, then watching as the new carpet was being put down for the music area and talking to Butch about other maintenance issues we need to get to, and upcoming school etc.  While I was wandering around doing some 'busy work' (small chores here and there) a latino gentleman approached asking to see Father.  After being told that Father was at lunch and would be back in a while, this man sat down and said I'll wait.

I walked past him a few times, saying hi and being kind but not really paying attention to who he was or giving him the real dignity he deserved.   Then when I finished my chores I walked down the Hall and introduced myself and started up a conversation.  He told me about his family, about his wife, and about the company he worked for; how they had just let him go from his job as a forklift operator because work was too 'slow'.  He talked excitedly about his fork lift certification and in broken English told me about his fears.  He told me he was scared that on his wife's minimum wage he'd never be able to make it, she works at a fast food place and like so many others that do so, is only 'part time.'

I told him I'd pray for him, not even realizing that I had never even asked his name.  I started to shake his hand to leave and he stopped me.  His eyes met mine and there was that twinkle, that 'there is more going on here than you think' look, and there he was.   Jesus was in front of me.

"You will pray for me?"

"Yes, I will pray for you."

I meant it, I never say that unless I truly mean it.  But everyone reading this knows that when someone says that they will 'pray for you' they often mean, I'm gonna say a prayer as I walk away for whatever your needs are, but then I may not think of you for a while.

He stood up and Jesus looked at me and said, "Ok".  Then he bowed his head.   I knew right then that Jesus was taking me up on my offer to pray for this child of his, my brother.  I placed my hand on his shoulder, and I bowed my head.  I prayed for him out loud.  I prayed for his family. I prayed for his children. I prayed for his job situation. I prayed for his soul.  I prayed for God's guidance.  I called him my friend, I called him my brother. I made the sign of the cross and said Amen.

Jesus was still there in the room with us, but he was no longer in the man in front of me.  The man with trembling voice thanked me, and sat back down I think almost shaken.  I was a bit shaken too.  Thank you Jesus for helping both of us.  The man looked up and he held out his hand one more time.  He said "My name's Fancisco." I shook his hand and told him, "I am Brian."

In Christ,