. . .the women asked to speak to me privately. Candidly, although I couldn’t imagine what I’d said that gave offense, I expected a rebuke. What actually came melted my heart. First, she sheepishly admitted she had no idea where to find Matthew, Mark, Luke or John in her Bible. Then she got to her real question. Eyes welling up, she asked, “I am a recovering alcoholic who has made a total mess of her life and others’. Is there any hope for me?”
Now the tears came to my eyes, too. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Here was a beloved daughter of God who did not know how much God loves her: who had no inkling of the beauty and value of her own soul, no notion of God’s infinite mercy – his power to draw good from evil circumstances, to “make all things new.” How it must have ached her fragile heart to sit in this class hearing about the beauty of the relationship with Christ, but with no understanding that it was available to her, too. She thought she had “blown it” and must forever look wistfully in at the windows of Christianity, never to be allowed inside.
It had not prior to that moment dawned on me that any reasonably educated or sophisticated person would not know the first and most elementary tenet of Christianity: that God loves each one of us and sent his son to redeem us from our sins and bring us one day into eternal joy with him in heaven. Until that conversation I’d imagined that Westerners might not believe Christianity, but they understood its basic premise . . .That beautiful, humble, broken spirit taught me that it’s a bad mistake to assume anyone understands God loves him; and she showed me that it’s a waste to try to explain specific elements of Church teaching until there has been what the Church calls “first proclamation” – a presentation of the Good News of Jesus Christ’s birth, life, death and resurrection.
Read the whole thing. It’s a short but powerful piece that will stay with you.