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© 2018 by Christopher Kelder

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Call Upon Me and i will answer thee

                                CALL UPON ME AND I WILL ANSWER THEE



     Saint Michael’s Catholic Church was strategically located in the heart of the univer-


sity section of New Bedford, Illinois. The college parish was extremely popular and the


church was attended by students from across the nation and many foreign countries. One  


young couple in particular had come from the Philippines as exchange students with their


six year old daughter, Sarah. Vincent and Maria were devout Catholics. Their faith was


tested, though, when their child was born with only the minimal use of both legs. It was a


struggle for her to slowly walk across the floor even a short distance with her crutches.


The doctors had told them that she had a degenerative disease and eventually would not


be able to walk at all. At first Vincent became bitter because of her condition. He had a


long, great struggle with his faith that God would be able to heal her. At the


end of each mass, though, he soon began to kneel down and repeat to himself: God is


merciful. God is all powerful. God is all love.


     When they arrived on campus in New Bedford they came to Saint Michael’s with


Sarah. She had just received her first Communion at their small church in the Philippines.               


The priest at the church there, because of her disability, walked out into the congregation


to her seat to place the Holy Communion on her tongue. Vincent and Maria accepted that


the priest would do the same here at Saint Michael’s.


     When they sat down after arriving for mass they were surprised when a handsome,


young man, who looked like he was perhaps an usher, came and sat next to Sarah. In


startling contrast to the informal dress of the students’ T-shirts and jeans, he wore a com-


pletely white suit. Not only did he wear a solid white jacket and pants, he also had on a


white tie and polished white shoes. The man did not speak to either of them, but greeted


them with a sincere and cheerful smile.


     As the mass progressed it came time for Holy Communion. Vincent and Maria were


again surprised when this mysterious man in the white suit reached over to help Sarah 


stand up. He steadied her by placing one arm on her right shoulder and his left on her


back. He kindly assisted her to walk up very slowly to receive the unleavened bread


on her tongue, then helped her come back to her chair.


     At first Vincent and Maria did not know what to think. The man looked like he was


an usher for the church service, so they accepted that what he had done was not out of


the ordinary. When the service ended the man smiled at them again, but did not speak.


He silently made his way out of the church. Sarah was quite pleased with this unexpected


help, and she accepted it as a blessing.


     The man in the white suit appeared again the following Sunday. However, this time


when he helped her again to the altar, Vincent and Maria could see a noticeable change


with Sarah.  She was obviously stronger now. She was able to walk more on her own as


the man in the white suit patiently guided her.


     Over the next three Sundays, to the amazement of Vincent and Maria, Sarah’s  


improvement dramatically continued with the mysterious man assisting her. The fourth


Sunday arrived. The time came for Communion, and the man in the white suit reached


out to Sarah for her to give him her crutches. She smiled and did so. She was a little


hesitant at first, and fought to maintain her balance. Then with a look of determination on


her face she put one foot in front of the other. By the time she took her fourth step, she


progressed with a confident stride up to the altar and back to her seat. Vincent and Maria


were overcome with joy! They smiled and shed tears of gratitude.


     The man in the white suit turned to Vincent and said, “Remember: Call unto Me and


I will answer thee.”


     Vincent stopped to think for a moment.


     “You know, I was so worried about keeping my faith that God would heal her, that I


never actually prayed for her healing.”


     “That’s true,” the man told him. “But your wife Maria did.”


     The man smiled graciously at him. Then he turned and walked out of the church.


     Vincent stood motionless and speechless for a few moments. Then he quickly walked


out to the front of the church into the open air to thank the man. He saw no one there, but


unmistakably heard the swoosh and flutter of flight.

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