Project Canterbury

Locust Street Letters

By Frank Lawrence Vernon

Philadelphia: St. Mark's Church, Locust Street.




What made the woman of Canaan come and cry unto Our Lord? No one seemed to know. The disciples were rather annoyed. They even asked Our Lord to send her away. Yet she followed on and prayed the more insistently. Our Lord understood. He encouraged her, though at the same time He tested her faith and sincerity. The result justified the experiment. She came out of her trial with a triumphant faith. Her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

But what made her come in the first place? God only knows. After all, He is the only person who needs to know. She had heard something, she had seen something and remembered it. When the time came she acted upon her spiritual leading. She was misunderstood and frowned upon. But she was too desperately in earnest to be daunted by that. She knew that Our Lord could help her. She never faltered until she had obtained the answer to her prayer. She learned to know Him on whom she had believed. She saw a miracle. Her daughter was the living evidence. Her faith had come to rest in fact.

In one way or another we all arrive at the centre of reality. Human needs cry for Divine compassion. Deep down in the human heart lies the impulse to take refuge in the Supernatural. We are restless until we find rest in God. Simple faith and undaunted hope are our pledges for answered prayers and fulfilled desires. To every one of us, at least once in our lives, is given the opportunity for a face-to-face meeting with Our Lord. At least one event or one chain of events will lead to Him. The sense of the Presence, the attraction, the prayer, the answer and the miracle. No one of us will ask in vain. The roots of all such experiences lie deep in the human heart and they lie deep in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The secrets of the soul's call to God is known only to the Holy Ghost. They are the most sacred possessions of sincere followers of Our Lord, whoever they are and wherever they are. And they are the foundations of a living faith and a reasonable hope.

Reverence for religious experience is a real bond of union. I think that we all need a little more than we have. I wish that the man who prays in a lonely room and the man who prays before the Tabernacle knew each other better.

I wish that the man who kneels at the penitent's bench and the man who kneels in the Confessional knew each other better.

I wish that the man who adores God in a prayer meeting and the man who adores Him at High Mass knew each other better.

I wish that the man who sees the glory of the Incarnation as he reads his Bible and the man who sees it as he recites the Angelus, knew each other better.

I suspect that they have far more in common than present-day controversies would lead one to look for. I more than suspect, I know at first hand. And I know that such people meet happily and talk freely about their life with Our Lord. I have always found such talks satisfying. One never feels the sense of constraint. One never feels that one must minimize. How can one minimize when one is relating facts?

Affectionately in Our Lord,

Project Canterbury