By Janet Bradford
It was Lent 2014 the night before Ash Wednesday and I didn’t have my Lenten sacrifice figured out. Jeff and I had been having pretty significant financial struggles over the years. I hadn’t however been trusting that God would provide for us through the trial. I grew fearful of our future and became tight fisted with what little money we had.
As Ash Wednesday morning came around, I awoke from a powerful dream. I was an old woman with a craggy embittered face, bent over my gnarled arthritic hand tightly gripping a filthy worthless penny. This pitiful vision contrasted greatly with the widow in the Gospels who gave everything she had. Her weathered wrinkled hands effortlessly releasing the ‘widow’s mite’ watching it drop freely into the coffers. Her aged yet glowing face serene and peaceful, reflecting the fruits of hope, love and trust in God.
In that dream my hand merged with hers and went from being a wrinkled gnarled fist to an open, glowing, glorified white as snow hand releasing the dirty penny. It was an extraordinary dream with a beautiful ending. I awoke knowing without question that I needed to commit to tithing and giving to the poor during that Lenten season. “Abandonment to the providence of the Father in heaven frees us from anxiety about tomorrow. Trust in God is a preparation for the blessedness of the poor. They shall see God.” Catechism of the Catholic Church 2547
Longing to Concertize
I had been longing to concertize here in Des Moines, but the goal or purpose of a concert never materialized clearly in my head. I wanted to donate the proceeds to a charity but one never surfaced that I felt passionate about. Then I heard Magnus MacFarlane Barrows speak at the Christ Our Life Conference about founding Mary’s Meals. I was drawn to his passion for feeding impoverished children all over the world and how the organization set it up so as little as $21 would feed one impoverished child in their place of education for one year. That coupled with his humble Christ centered approachable style won me over.
St Francis Family Worship Care Packages
Forward to 2020. My parish, St Francis of Assissi during Covid, had thoughtfully created family worship bags to help parishioners during the isolated days stay connected to their faith. In the bag was Magnus MacFarlane Barrows book The Shed That Fed A Million Children. What captured me about his book were his stories of how people did their own fund raising without necessarily doing something over the top and unattainable. I got to thinking if a student could raise money by describing hot lunch school meals (an actual fund raiser mentioned in his book) then I could help the children as well by giving a piano concert.
The Beautiful Part
During Lent, right before Covid hit, I had read Mother Theresa’s book Something Beautiful For God. Her passion for the poor had always intrigued me. She radiated Jesus because she allowed Him to live out completely in her His calling to care and nurture the poorest of the poor. I longed to be more like her. I recalled my dream from Lent 2014 and knew I had to do something a little more than commit to tithing and random almsgiving.
I laid both read books alongside each other and it all came together in my head. Just like that. I knew that Mother Theresa’s book title Something Beautiful For God would be my piano program title bringing glory to Him while feeding the poor.
Make your DONATION to the school of Mangombo in Malawi on the Mary’s Meals USA site. $21 feeds one impoverished child for one year in their place of education. My goal is 50 people donating $21. Would you prayerfully consider being one of those 50?
Blessings to you!