Two young women, surely no more than their mid-20s, came into the shop. “We have a friend, she’s Catholic, and she’s got a birthday coming up. We’d like to get her a… ummm… a rosemary!”
And so began one of the most delightful visits with customers I’ve had in a long time. You’ve got to be touched by the discovery of two evangelical-fundamentalist Christians, weaned on anti-Catholic preaching, buying something so alien as a rosary for a friend. That’s affection, my dear readers!
We chatted for the better part of an hour. One of them told me she’d gone to a Bible college. “I was always told that Catholics look at the Pope as God,” she admitted – and I got to share with her the biblical foundations of our Tradition of Apostolic Succession, from Peter’s being given the Keys of the Kingdom (an allusion to Isaiah 22:22), then Paul’s reminders to Timothy about the authority given to him by the laying on of hands, to a small bit of basic Church history.
We talked about Mary, and I assured them that Catholics do not worship her, but honor her as the mother of her Son. I shared with them how we love her as the ultimate example of Christian discipleship; how Solomon, a typology for Christ, provided a throne to his mother and gave her full authority in his kingdom (I Kings 2:19); and how we, as “sons of adoption and joint heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:15-17) also have Mary as our adoptive Mother, since she is the Mother of the True Son.
At one point in our conversation, they looked at each other, and both of them blurted out, simultaneously, “ooooh, I’ve got goose bumps!”
The Holy Spirit was truly moving among us in that lovely conversation.
And, by the way, they didn’t just buy a lovely “rosemary” for their Catholic friend, one of them bought one for herself, as well. I’ve invited her to come back to the store, so we can pray it together. Yes, I gave her a booklet on the rosary, but it’s easier to learn when you pray it with someone else a time or two, don’t you think?