Not a day goes by that I don’t see her at morning mass. Her soft gray hair, her heavy maroon coat and her sensible shoes are always accompanied by her angelic smile. Her smile lights up the church brighter than an entire wall lined with votive candles. It is just one of the many gifts she gives to others without the smallest effort.
When mass is over she stays behind. Prayer book and rosary beads in hand, she prays for her children, her grandchildren, her friends and the many homeless that she bakes cookies for. This is her widow’s mite, her small sacrifices of love that she joyfully shares with others. She is a witness of Christ here on earth; her name is Preska.
Then there is Joan. She leads a Thursday night rosary in the church for the sanctity of life. I have seen her on countless Sunday afternoons standing, either alone or with a few other folks, in front of the nearby Planned Parenthood. Apparently, this particular Planned Parenthood does abortions on this day. Joan holds her rosary beads in one hand, a few prayer cards in the other, and she prays during the hours that the abortions are being preformed. She has been subjected to many vile comments by both men and women seeking the seemingly "quick fix" they feel Planned Parenthood will provide them. You see, Joan's peaceful presence, her standing up for life, stirs something in them that they want to keep suppressed, something they don't want to feel.
She doesn't seem to mind though. This is what she joyfully does for Jesus. And the fruits of her labor have, indeed, been a joy because Joan has also had young women that have come out of Planned Parenthood and walk up to her, tearfully telling her thank you. They tell her that her presence and her prayer jolted something in them, something that made them realize that they could not go through with the abortion.
These good women, and many others like them, live the message of Jesus in small but mighty ways every day. As St. Paul has said, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God” Heb. 13:16
During Lent of 1986, Our Lady gave the following message:
“Dear children, today I invite you to live this Lent with your small sacrifices which you have already presented to me. Dear children, continue to live in this way and, with your love, help me to present your offerings to God, who will reward you.” BVM, Medjugorje 03/13/1986.
Our sacrifice is the truest sign of love, for on the external level we gain nothing for ourselves, but direct our action outward for the benefit of another. And a sacrifice that we have made with love is redemptive in the hands of God, for it becomes joined to the greatest sacrifice of all, that of Christ on the cross.1
1. Adapted from: Medjugorje Day By Day, Richard J. Beyer