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Holy Saturday began busily this morning as I arose and left home early for an 8:00 a.m. appointment with a gentleman at a local coffee shop/patisserie for our monthly spiritual mentoring discussion.  I let him know ahead of time that I needed to wrap it up around 9:20 at the latest so that I could make it back to our parish church by 10:00 a.m., for the final rites and practice for tonights Easter Vigil Mass when I will be welcoming a friend, whom I am sponsoring, into the Catholic Church. 

I arrived at the coffee shop early so that I could get my daily morning prayer and meditation in before my friend (let’s call him Wilbur) arrived.  Fortunately for me, I was able to read the Gospel and quickly formed a resolution for the day because Wilbur also arrived early.  He got a coffee, and I warmed up mine, and we set about talking about what’s happening in his faith life and how we can grow closer to our Lord.  As always, it was a fruitful discussion.

Time always flies by quickly when we’re in deep conversation and when I checked the time it was 9:20 already.  We began to wrap it up and then said our closing prayer and a Hail Mary with intentions for many out there who need help.  As we stood and began to walk away from our table, a woman sitting directly behind Wilbur caught our attention and said with a smile, “It is so refreshing to see men praying together!  You just made my day!” Then, a woman sitting alone at an adjacent table stood and said, with excitement in her eyes, “I agree!  What a blessing to see men sharing their faith in public!  Thank you!”

We were kind of caught by surprise.  Wilbur was the first to reply and said that he was there receiving spiritual direction.  Me, all I could think to say was, “Thank you!  You just made our day by noticing and saying something to us.”  We chatted for a while and I learned that the second woman was a minister at a small church.  Eventually, conscious of the time and needing to get going, I asked if they would like to pray the Lord’s Prayer with us.  They did, and we prayed, and, feeling sure that they were Protestant, I remembered to add, “For thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory, forever and ever.  Amen”, to our normal recitation of the Our Father.

Wilbur and I said our goodbyes and as I got in my truck I realized it was 9:40 already.  I also knew, after having made this trip several times in the opposite direction, that it was at least a 30 minute drive considering all the traffic lights I had to pass through.  I was compelled to say a prayer of thanksgiving for the encounter with those ladies, and, even though I would be late, a prayer of trust that I would not arrive at church excessively late.

I made the first three major intersections on green lights.  I had a few miles then on the interstate where I blew past a state trooper at least five miles over the speed limit.  As I checked my rearview mirror I was relieved that he didn’t pull out after me.  After exiting the interstate I passed through the next four lights on green.  The eighth traffic light had me stopped for about ten seconds and the ninth light was green as I passed through it.  I walked into the church at 10:01.

The final rites this morning for the Elect coming into the Church tonight include the Presentation of the Lord’s Prayer, the Recitation of the Creed, and the Ephphetha Rite.  After standing and praying the Lord’s Prayer (the Our Father) together, we were asked to meditate on what it means to us.  

As I repeated the prayer in my head, I thought, “‘…Hallowed be Thy Name…’ – I praise you and thank you, Lord, for that encounter with those ladies at the coffee shop, and for getting me to the church on time!” 

I continued with, “‘…Thy will be done…’ – Lord, it was Your will that enabled that encounter, and Your will that caused all those traffic lights to be green.”

And I ended with, “‘…And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil…’ – Lord, thank You for the faith to trust in You and not be tempted to be anxious about things out of my control.  Amen.”

“Heavenly Father, thank You for the many blessings You bestow on me and all Your faithful.  Thank You for the courage to express my faith in public and for the graces received when noticed by others.  Thank You for the gift of trust in You.  And, thank You for the gift of Your Church and for all those who will be baptized and initiated into the Catholic Church tonight.  Amen.”

(Our Father Who Are in Heaven… was first published on the blog Reflections of a Lay Catholic)

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