I read in the local paper that Catholic missionaries are visiting each home in the parish over the next three weeks. Attendance at Church each Sunday is dwindling. It is twenty years since the last mission.
I remember there being a mission in our parish every few years when I was growing up. People were encouraged in their faith by the visiting speakers. It was an opportunity to renew one’s faith in God.
My daughter had a remembrance dinner for her Nannie, my husband’s late mother, recently. She died two years ago around this time at the ripe age of ninety four. Shann was telling me that Nannie, who was a widow and her sons had left home, kept a missionary every time there was a mission in her parish in Lurgan. I never knew this about Nannie.
Next week Brendan and I are going on a mission to Slovakia. Brendan has travelled to many nations. She now has missionaries in her own family. Who knows what blessing has come to her family because of her hospitality to the man of God. She received her reward on the earth and in heaven.
I am reminded of the story of the widow from Zarephath who let Elijah the prophet stay with her when there was a famine in the land. She was going to make her last meal when Elijah passed by. He asked her to give him water and food and she did. He said to her,
“For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’ ”
She went away and did as Elijah had told her.
So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family.
For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.” 1 Kings 17 v 14 – 16.
Later the widow’s son died. Elijah brought him back to life. So Elijah worked two miracles for the widow because she let him stay with her.
Nannie was very generous with her widow’s pension. Her source of provision never ran out. Money seemed to turn up for her. There was always a welcome in her home for the poor person. Nannie would admit herself she was not perfect. But she believed in what The Word of God says, ” pure religion is to look after the widow and the poor.”
When we would visit she always wanted us to pray for her before we left. She had an overcoming spirit even though she had many sorrows in her life. She was widowed since she was thirty years old. She always sent our children money to help them at university. She gave money to Brendan when he travelled. Only God knows her sacrifices. Our children are blessed because of their Nannie.
“but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
Exodus 20:6 NIV
She is with the great cloud of witnesses looking on.