It’s kind of like entering into a candy store at the age of 9 and loosing yourself in the infinite sweetness that surrounds you. Everywhere you turn delightful things are displayed before you. The innocence of pleasure fills your very being. You walk about with confidence from aisle to aisle because there is not a care in the world at that point, it is just you and this new moment in time.
That is how this young girl would describe her first zeal for holiness. She was zealous and full of energy, she desired nothing short of holiness because she knew that it was attainable and its sweet aroma drew her near. At first she was very flamboyant and wholly present to all things and people and places. The hope in her heart of knowing Mary, and Knowing Jesus in a way yet to be realized before, was ever-present before her. Daily she wondered what she could do to please them and find favor with them. The morning of Mary’s birthday began with a simple solemn Mass, after morning prayers, this young girl went straight to work, thinking up some wonderful way in which she could celebrate her Mother in heaven. Nothing special came to mind except a cake which her sisters were already planning . It was a beautiful gesture but she wanted to offer her Mother something special and intimate, and didn’t want to stop short of offering a perfect gift. Sitting in the chapel, alone and in the dark, she pondered what it was she could do for her Lady in Heaven, time passed by and she toyed with various ideas but could not settle for any of them. In her disappointment she returned upstairs to the common room for dinner, she heard one of her sisters comment on the surprisingly late hours for confession that were being offered at the church downtown. Now, recently these young girls were learning about the Desert Fathers and their love of purity, their pursuit of a pure life and desire to inch toward seeing God face to face by using this method of purification. It was something that fascinated her and as her wheels began to turn so too her excitement. And at the peak of her excitement and determination she suddenly got it!!
Her mother approached the common room and the young girl ran to her side and asked, “can I go to confession at 8pm tonight!”. No further explanation was given and no further explanation was sought, silence followed. Her mother stared at her for a minute and wondered why she would possibly want to rush to confession at such an odd time of day. But without hesitation, this poised mother said “yes, you may”. God only knows what she might have been thinking, “this poor young girl could have just committed a grave sin for all I know and is trying to save her soul”. It didn’t take long for this little sister to jump in the car and head out, considering it was late in the evening.
At the church, she sat in the pew and waited her turn, looking up at Mary she says, “Mother, I found the perfect gift for you, I don’t own anything that I can give you and I haven’t got a penny to offer you but what I do have is a heart and like the church fathers, I want to offer you one of the greatest gifts anyone could give you. I extend to you a pure heart, one that I do not yet have but after confession I will wrap it in love and place it at your altar, it is not midnight so your birthday is not over yet,” she says with a grin. On her way home she fought against her thoughts, her surroundings, her intentions, and desires because she did not want to stain the gift that she had just given to Mary. When she entered the community room, she cast her eyes to the ground and swiftly ran past her other sisters, because she did not want to engage in conversation or provoke a bad judgement in her heart. She was determined to keep her heart pure until midnight if she could help it!
It was not until years later that she grew in her understanding of purity of heart, and although the gift was honest and of pure intention she began to learn how much more went into living a life pleasing and acceptable to Mary and Jesus. The seal of habitual goodness, and the laying down of ones will, the desiring only what is asked from God and humble detachment of unreasonable plans or goals became her new pursuit. But she never did forget the day that innocence took over and zeal animated her desire to love her Mother in Heaven.