There was something different about Carla. I was a college student and her oldest child was a freshman in high school, but I didn’t care about the age gap. I wanted to be her friend and for her to be my mentor. She would chat with me after Mass or over coffee, always finding time in her schedule.
And she was busy. Along with attending all of her kids’ activities, she volunteered at their school and parish. She painted the nails of the residents at the local nursing home. She sought out the lonely and chatted with those who felt awkward in social situations. She invited people to join her table so no one would be alone. Once she bought pounds and pounds of flour, sugar, and butter and invited a financially struggling family over to spend the afternoon baking Christmas cookies. It was extravagant and magical to them but obvious and simple to her.
I wanted to be more like her, to love like her, and to see like her. No one was too gross, ugly, poor, dirty, or old for her love. No one was untouchable to her. The reason: Jesus.
In today’s Gospel Jesus says, “Love one another,” and explains that our love for others should easily identify us as Christians. (See John 13:34-35.) Carla loved God and her faith was something real, a relationship that spilled into all she did.
Yes, there was something different about Carla and you knew it as soon as you met her. She knew Love and spread Love to others.
Here's a basic primer on the Corporal Works of Mercy. Can you name all seven?
Bonnie Engstrom is a writer, baker, speaker, and homemaker. She, her husband, and eight children live in central Illinois, and her son’s alleged miraculous healing through the intercession of Venerable Fulton Sheen was submitted to the Vatican for Sheen’s beatification. Bonnie pretends she has a green thumb, bakes a fantastic chocolate chip cookie, loves naps and chai tea, and blogs. You can find out more about her here. She is the author of the Blessed Conversations Mystery: Believe study found here.