This is the one whom I approve: the lowly and afflicted man who trembles at my word. - Isaiah 66: 2
I often think of some of the old, solitary men I often noticed at daily Mass at a downtown church I used to go to. They were quiet, sat off to the side, praying quietly - sometimes for very long stretches. If someone greeted them, they would nod, otherwise they kept to themselves. They didn't exhibit any outward piety save for what is expected, genuflections and so on. No touching statues, no pious poses, nothing 'put on'. They minded their own business. I never tried to inquire about them, never tried to meet them or engage them - I even tried to avoid glancing at them - so strong the impression they were engaged in prayer. They slipped in and out of church, be it for Mass or adoration.
Many daily Mass goers are like that. I think many older folks, male and female, live quiet, contemplative lives - unobtrusive. They don't meddle - they don't watch who or what kind of person goes to communion. I doubt they looked around to see who was devout and who was not, or how people were dressed. They were not at church for that.
I noticed them. Not a few seemed poor, not particularly well dressed - perhaps lifelong bachelors or widowers - and probably retired manual laborers. They taught me by their fidelity, their quiet devotion, without calling attention to themselves - I admired what I now recognize as their humble dignity, integrity, guilelessness I suppose.
It seems to me a big problem with online evangelists and their incessant self disclosures on 'their' conversion and advice on
However, having painted and prayed with Matt Talbot these past couple of weeks I was reminded of the hidden souls I used to admire. Matt Talbot was like those men. He lived quietly and humbly - an ordinary, hidden life - no self promotion or self canonization ever came between him and the Lord.
That is the secret of sanctity, I think - I hope.
“Some of those who follow Jesus do so in search of power. Perhaps they do not do so with full consciousness. A clear example of this is to be found in John and James, the sons of Zebedee who asked Jesus to seat them in places of honour, one on His right and one on His left in his Kingdom. And in the Church there are climbers, people driven by ambition! There are many of them! But if you like climbing go to the mountains and climb them: it is healthier! Do not come to Church to climb! And Jesus scolds people with this kind of ambitious attitude in the Church”. - Pope Francis
Photo: Grandpa Dobri