Mike walks every morning along the busy street bordering our housing addition. He often picks up trash or coins he finds along the sidewalk or in the road. He tosses the trash in our recycle container, and donates the coins to mission project offerings at church each Sunday.
Last Sunday, Mike came home with a soaking wet prayer book filled with leaves, evergreen needles and mud. I took the book and examined it closely.
An embroidered green cloth with side pockets on the inside covered the prayer book, "Give Us This Day - Daily Prayer for Today's Catholic, October, 2019." A purple ribbon marked the place where the person was reading.
Inside I found two laminated prayer cards, a prayer to St. Michael and two small pieces of tablet paper from "Princess Cruises." The person had written errands to accomplish along with each store's address. I wondered if she was new to the area. A pink and green cross with a pink ribbon down the middle was in the back pocket.
Soaking the cloth cover and crochet cross in soapy warm water, removed the dirt and grit. I set the book in a warm corner of the laundry room so the pages could dry.
Someone Else's Prayer Life
Handling all of these pieces of someone else's prayer life made me want to find the owner. I wondered if the person put the book on the roof of her car, drove off perhaps in a hurry to get to church, forgetting to retrieve what was on top. Since Mike found the book early Sunday morning, I wondered if the owner was going to Saturday evening Mass.
Holding the crochet cross reminded me of a nearly identical one a dear friend made me, which I keep in my Bible and treasure.
What should I do with these holy tools of someone's prayer life? Was her time of daily reflection interrupted because she lost her prayer book, prayer cards and crochet cross? I am sure she paused and felt disappointed when she realized cherished pieces leading her to God were lost.
The prayer book is only for the month of October. I committed to pray for this person until the end of the month. Perhaps I can be a link between her and God using her materials.
What to do?
My house is equidistant between two Catholic churches. I plan to take everything Mike found to each church hoping the owner called the office to report the missing items. All of the contents reflect someone whose walk with God was meaningful and who came to God each day, following the guide for prayer and scripture reading.
Although I hold her in prayer as her treasures rest rest on my desk, I feel certain her time with God has remained solid. Perhaps she even purchased a new book cover, and copy of "Give Us This Day" for November. Maybe she asked he person who crocheted her cross to make another one. Her faith and trust in God are aided by what Mike found and I cleaned, but not dependent on these items.
The person I'm holding in prayer knows God, God knows her. And I, as I glance at the cross and say today's prayer, I feel as if I know her a little bit too.
Prayer: Thank you, God, for prayer books, prayer cards and handmade crosses, all of which keep us focused in your presence and close to you. I pray for this woman who lost items meaningful to her connection to you. Help my prayers sustain her until she is able to purchase replacements for her faith walk. Amen.