‘A long way’ to St. Benedict Cathedral

Special to The Message

Editor’s note: Unlike those times when we get unsigned letters to the editor or other potential contributions, The Message staff confirmed the identity of this writer. We are honoring their request to remain anonymous, and thank them for this powerful reflection.

I traveled a long way to find St. Benedict's Cathedral. I was a kid assigned to do an adult's job. Time passed, the assignment grew more complex, and time alone did not make the job any easier. Everyone I loved was affected by life's challenges. I persevered, matured and did my job with confidence acquired through experience. Waiting years for an answer to resolve the growing dysfunction around me, I became angry and resentful of these demands on my life. Did God really hear my prayers? Why had no one come to rescue me? I didn't even notice the Door of My Heart being sealed shut by the glue of the evil one's hatred. I had placed blame and responsibility for life's events on the shoulders of the One who had accepted an eternal assignment that knew no bounds. ... a Sacred Heart Full of Love that could endure and outlast any resentment. As evil celebrated my heart's confinement, Jesus stood, with His Hand on the outside of the door of my heart. He didn't knock. He didn't push. He waited patiently for the day I would call out to Him.

It happened years later as I drove down Lincoln Avenue, tears streaming down my face, contemplating the planned dismantling of St. Mary's Chapel – a sanctuary where I had finally begun to scratch away at the dried glue of hatred. I looked down the road ahead, saw the bell tower of St. Benedict Cathedral, and I thought "No ... I would not be welcome ... I can't go there." The power and simplicity of a message thundered through my senses. "YES, YOU CAN!"

I turned onto Harlan Avenue and rushed toward the cathedral doors thinking all the while that I might not be welcome. Entering, I found no other person standing in this glorious space. But I was not alone. I was surrounded and supported by the presence of Jesus in my heart and all around me ... an experience of comforting, welcoming, reassuring LOVE. Candlelight drew me into the Saints' Chapel where so many others had found the strength to offer prayers of remorse for time wasted in selfish resentment toward the very one who God had chosen to be Our Saviour. I was home. Everyone I had loved and lost sent memories of our shared days, and the evil one slithered off to avoid the sight of such a joyful reunion.

Now, each time I open the door to St. Benedict Cathedral, I experience the joy of that moment again. Sometimes I wonder, How could I have blamed Jesus? How could I ever have given up on Jesus? He never gave up on me. So, no matter how long it has been, come home. You are always welcome. If visiting the cathedral or a nearby church is not possible today, just call out to Him. Jesus will never give up on you. He's standing right outside the Door of Your Heart ... waiting.

A grateful St. Benedict Cathedral parishioner.