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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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