You see, schools of Mexican men have been swimming through my house doing remodeling projects, so I pined to take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity. Actually, I think this whole missionary thing took hold of me when our house flooded last October. We got 14 inches of rain in a short amount of time. So every time I needed to take a meal to my parents, Emma ferried me in our canoe. Perched there on that narrow seat, clasping my basket of victuals, listening to the splash of the paddle, and keeping an eye peeled for snakes, floating swarms of ants, and other nefarious varmints, I felt like a missionary. It was glorious. I was only a teeny bit disappointed that I didn't have one of those safari hats to wear and wasn't taken with the malaria.
So I had this missionary itch with all these folks so handily coming to me, in my own home. But I couldn't devote much time to the project, and in many cases there was a language barrier, so I set up a gauntlet with Our Lady of Guadalupe's shrine strategically placed on the end of the dining room table facing the foyer
|Our Lady of Guadalupe in her regular place in our chapel|
and a laminated photo of the Cristeros on the opposite side of the foyer. The Cristeros lay on top of a large oval framed picture of St. Therese of Lisieux that had to be taken down for the walls to be painted.
This worked perfectly, as she is patroness of the missions even though she never left the convent. I felt like she would approve of my "little way" of doing missionary work. I positioned the Cristeros so that they didn't cover up St. Therese's face. Her smile is so much more beautiful and intriguing than the Mona Lisa's.
I discovered that this scheme worked on me as well, because I grew much more attentive to the Virgin of Guadalupe, stopping regularly to whisper a quick prayer for the workers and offer her a kiss, and also contemplating more deeply St. Therese's virtues, as she lay there serenely, bearing the image of true manhood in service to Christ the King, the Cristeros.
I was able to leave this arrangement untouched for a couple of months, but I never knew whether it had helped any of the men towards conversion. I really didn't expect to know. I figured Our Lady of Guadalupe would take care of the particulars.
Finally, a week ago, we got to the last major remodeling project, installing a new bathtub and new tile in the hall bathroom. I got called back there to answer some question which I cannot now remember. I found the contractor, the plumber, and the tile man, all crowded into that one bathroom. And the Cristeros! The Cristeros were there too, lying on the countertop!
A thrill shot through my body!
I pointed to the picture, and the tile man picked it up. He told me that he had carried it back there and that he wanted to know the story. Our Lady thinks of everything, because this particular man was perfectly bilingual. I asked him if he was Catholic, and he said, "No." I quickly and enthusiastically told him the story. Of course the plumber and the contractor got to hear it too. They didn't know it either, even though the tile man helpfully identified one of them as a Catholic.
So I ask you to please pray for the conversion of my tile man and for the story of the Cristeros to become more widely known. My tile man will be coming back next week, and I will have a packet of information for him on the Cristeros as well as a DVD of the Cristero movie, For Greater Glory.
¡Viva Cristo Rey! ¡Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!