• August 11, 2018
en

Love has won !

by Francesca S., on mis­sion in Romania

     It was now the Thursday after Pentecost, and I sat and watched her cut the cake. Her kids hadn’t come for Pentecost Sunday. She served me piece after piece because there was so much cake and no one else to eat it. We started talking. She asked me about my family and I asked her about hers. We shared our joys and our suf­fer­ings, like two friends. The fifty some year age dif­fer­ence didn’t matter. She talked about her hus­band who has been an alco­holic for longer than they’ve been mar­ried. He used to abuse her and her three chil­dren. All three of her chil­dren moved out of the country to escape the rage of their father. They rarely visit. Tanta Manuela is trapped alone in a big and beau­tiful house with a man who puts her down every chance he gets. ”It’s hard,” she said as she served me more cake, ”and I worry about the kids on our street because my hus­band drives drunk all the time. And I worry about his health or what he might do when I’m gone. Who will help him? ” The bit­ter­sweet taste of fig jam filled my mouth as I took a bite of the cake. She loves him, I thought. He puts her through hell but she still loves him. We talked for over two hours. I expe­ri­enced the walls of Tanta Manuela’s prison, the pain behind her beau­tiful brown gate and her sor­rowful brown eyes. The suf­fering that holds her back but also pushes her for­ward and moves her to seek God and to cling to Him. She waits for those Church bells to ring every evening, because they remind her of God’s pres­ence in her life. I’ve learned a lot from her, from her joy and hos­pi­tality and from her per­se­ver­ance in her daily strug­gles. In the darkest corner of our hearts, where we find our­selves trapped between sin and suf­fering, Christ is there. He doesn’t offer us the key to break free or a plan of escape. He offers us Himself. Tanta Manuela clings to Christ and loves the people he has given her to love, and those Church bells ring every night, reminding her that love has won.



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