Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Holy Mary, Mother of God

For reasons we don’t need to get into, I took Bart home today instead of the bus.  There was an almost-middle aged Asian woman sitting on one of the sideways seats.  She looked to be in her late thirties.  She had a large black bag from which she took a small velvet-looking pouch.  From that small velvet-looking pouch, she removed a blue and silver rosary.

The train was crowded enough that a few people were standing in front of the where the woman sat, but not so crowded that people weren’t able to see beyond the back of someone else’s head.

The woman clasped the rosary in one hand and with the other made the sign of the cross.  She bent her head in prayer.  After a few moments, she raised her head, made another sign of the cross and slipped the beaded rosary through her fingers, grasping onto the next bead.  Her head bent again.

I don’t know how long she continued, how many beads, how many prayers.  I had looked away, not wanting to stare and soon needing to switch trains.  But I admired her.  This is San Francisco after all.  A city where it’s generally unacceptable to be openly anything other than gay.

It is rare in this day and age that anyone expresses their religion in public, unless they are trying to shove it down your throat.  Yet here was a woman, sitting in public, not afraid to pray in such a visible manner.  Keeping completely to herself and doing what she needed to do at that moment.  Not afraid to let others know she is Catholic and in no way making anyone else feel like she was judging them for not being what she was or trying to get them to convert to her faith.  She wasn’t flaunting her righteousness or salvation.  It was just her and her prayers.  Her and God (or rather, I guess, the Virgin Mary) alone on a crowded Bart train.  It was beautiful.

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