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  • Steve Auth

The Big Picture

The Wedding Feast at Cana, by Paolo Veronese

Easter Sunday

UA Flight 2364, NYC to Naples. As Evelyn and I enjoy a quiet moment on the flight home to Naples, I am reflecting on the events of last week, the joys and sufferings, but mostly the joys, of working hand in hand with the Lord, reaching out to lost souls. As I started this Blog on Palm Sunday with the spectacular, oversized painting of The Wedding at Cana that hangs at the Louvre, facing the Mona Lisa, I thought I'd end it there as well. Because amidst all the celebratory activities of Easter, we can sometimes miss the Big Picture, like most visitors to the Louvre who are too busy looking at what the guidebook has assured them is the "must see" image at the museum, and miss greatness literally right in front of them. A few thoughts.

St. Agnes Church, Midtown East, New York, Easter Sunday. As Evelyn and I left the glorious Easter Sunday Mass at our city parish, St. Agnes, Father Francis hailed me down for a big hug. "Steve, how are you guys? I knew you must have been in town doing missions out on the streets! We were seeing such an unusual pick up in confessions all week! It must have been all your missionaries!" For sure, the missionaries all week saw a lot of confessions happening among those they'd encountered around the city over the week. Many were "long time away" confessions, and some even ended with the Missionary being given a big hug for having hailed them down. Yet for all the confessions won, there were many that seemed lost. Our "hit rate" inside the big Cathedral, for sure, was a pretty high 1 out of 5; but on the hectic, cold, and often rainy streets of SoHo, we received close to 40 (mostly) polite "no thank you's" for every soul we drew back from the abyss. As I assured the missionaries at the time, "That wasn't really a 'no'. That was a seed planted." Sometimes those seeds come back all grown up a year or two later, sometimes they never sprout, and, sometimes, they show up later in the week at the person 's home parish in the city or elsewhere. As Fr. Francis implied, we don't know. Only God knows. Only He sees the Big Picture.

"Steve, We've Got It! We've Got the Picture. "

Fox Business Set, Mornings with Maria, Holy Wednesday Morning. Some of you no doubt saw a remarkable interview last Wednesday morning of one of our missionaries being interviewed for nearly 10 minutes by Maria Bartiromo. The night before I had suggested to her that after the markets segment we could cover a religious painting for Holy Week. I wasn't sure how Fox might react till I arrived on set during the break. Maria greeted me with a big smile. "Steve, We've got it. We've got the picture!" It was the Big Picture by Veronese, the theme for this week's mission. Although we've had the Mission out there before on the airwaves, this one was special. Given her reach, there's no telling how many souls were touched by Maria's obvious courage and enthusiasm during this segment. I wonder how many more Holy Week confessions happened out there this week around the country that might not have happened without this. Only God knows. Only He has the big Picture.

"The Power of Prayer"

Saint Patrick's Old Cathedral, New York, Good Friday Evening. As the night was closing in and temperatures were dropping, it was time for the shore team to head home to New Jersey. They like the other missionaries this week were bubbling away about the love and joy they felt in their hearts for being part of such a special day. Off to the side was Joe, Dr. Pacita's husband who, as usual, spent the day in the basilica in prayer for the missionaries while his wife and her team hit the streets. I gave him a big hug. "Joe, you were the most valuable player today! Your prayers made an enormous difference on the streets." Later, I reflected on the power of Joe's prayers, co-joined with the prayers of the many of you who read this Blog and have been praying all week for the missionaries. Then, there's the prayers of all the folks we've met on the streets, with new rosaries in hand. And the prayers of the local parishioners, cheering us on throughout the week with hugs, kisses, and yes, "prayers". And then there are the more general prayers around the country, indeed the world, praying "for all missionaries during Holy Week." We don't know all of these. In fact, we know only a few of them. But the Risen Lord knows them all. And He answers them all in due course in His own way. Only He has the Big Picture.

Alleluia! The Lord is Risen! Alleluia!

A missionary

March 31, 2024


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