“I like the silent church before the service begins, better than any preaching.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Today I spent some time at the Saint Mary’s Basilica in Phoenix, Arizona. In 1985, Pope John Paul II deemed the church – the first Catholic Church in Phoenix – to be a Minor Basilica. I was unable to see the inside, as there was a funeral taking place, but was enchanted by the grounds itself. I watched a woman, while clutching a rosary in her hand, stop at each of the three statues in the courtyard. She would press her face against the face of each one, as if they were old friends sharing a secret, say a prayer and end with the sign of the cross.
As I was leaving she stopped me. Opening her hand she showed me a little plastic heart-shaped “jewel,” like that a little girl might have on a bracelet, and asked me if I thought it was a real diamond. It still had some of the glue on the back of it. I wished I could have told her yes…..