" "We beseech Mary the immaculate to prepare our hearts to receive Her Divine Son worthily…" - St. Maximilian Kolbe

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

It's "Worth Revisiting" Wednesday - Suffer the Little Children (and Sinful Prisoners Too)

Thanks to the generosity and encouragement of Allison Gingras and Elizabeth Riordan, an ever-expanding group of Catholic bloggers take the time each week to re-post their favorite articles on “It’s Worth Revisiting” Wednesdays.

Do yourself a favor- go there now (and every Wednesday) and let these authors bless and challenge you in your Faith journey.

During the rest of each week. visit Allison at  Reconciled To You and Elizabeth at Theology Is A Verb. You will be pleased with what they share.

Here is what I chose to share this week:

 

Suffer the Little Children (and Sinful Prisoners Too) 

(Originally posted July 8, 2013)

(Image Source: Wikimedia Commons)

I was prompted a few weeks back to go through and empty out my desk drawer. It had been far too long since I had de-cluttered it. I had forgotten the hidden treasures it contained. Then I saw them – about 15 of them. Suddenly, I realized how long it had been since I last went to prison. 

 

Odd, isn’t it. The one place I visited where I was always immensely blessed is filled with men and women whom the majority of us would never voluntarily choose to have anything to do with - no matter that our Faith teaches that all of us, including the greatest sinners among us, were created in the image and likeness of God and that each of us, without exception, by and through the unearned and undeserved grace of Almighty God, can, despite what we might have done in the past,  become new creations in Him who made us. Every one of us – no exceptions! We must, of course, humble ourselves, acknowledge our sins, ask for God’s forgiveness, resolve not to sin again and perform the proscribed penance.

A difficult concept for many of us adults to accept but one which little children are more readily open to hear and understand. How do I know?

For years, we would deliver hand written notes and drawings from young children and distribute them to the inmates attending our prison retreats - men separated from their own families because of their criminal conduct.

There were no names on these sheets of paper. No way for anyone to identify who sent them or from whence they came. It would be impossible for anyone to trace and find the child who took the time to reach out to an unknown, sinful and often forgotten human being.

It is amazing what God can do with the little we give Him. Year after year, I was moved to see the impact these brief notes and childish drawings had on the hardest of hearts. The simple directness of these little scribbles penetrated hearts that we adults could never reach. Light entered and dispersed the deeply imbedded darkness buried within these troubled souls – even if just for a few fleeting moments.

I wanted to share a few of these gems with you but could not get them to scan properly. My typewritten versions of what they actually wrote (spelling and all) will have to suffice:

Dear Friend,
I hope you know that Jesus is still with you. If you pray this pray, you mite think that god is right beside you. God bless you. 
Say the pray: My Jesus, Mercy. Mary help!
  
Dear Friend,
I hope you are happy. Don’t do anything never again. 

Dear Friend,
We prad for you today god already forgave you for what ever you did I hope you will make a good choise if you get out of jail!

Dear Friend
I hope you got Judge fairly. I hope you are praing and asking for forgiveness.

Dear Friend,
I prayed for you today. God always forgives you. He loves you. It is a beautiful outside. Try to go out and help the world when you get out.

Dear Friend
I hope you can get outside and get some fresh air sometime. I hope you come out of jail soon. When you come out of jail I hope you are a changed man when you come out.

Dear friend, 

Hi I prayed for you today. I hope you change because God is always there for you. I hope you read this so you will never forget this.

Many a weekend retreat took an entirely different and more positive turn after these small notes were shared. God used these little anonymous evangelizers powerfully!

You can imagine our dismay then when after several years, we were prohibited from bringing these letters into prison. The change in prison policy was at the request of a few Catholic correctional officers who objected to the distribution of any notes of encouragement from any child being given to any criminal. So much for teaching our children the corporal and spiritual works of mercy!

A child lets in the Light of God and we adults snuff it out.

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