How is it that really poor people can do really big things?
This story is something I witnessed for myself before I came to Relevant Radio.
I worked in youth ministry for about thirty years, and for the last 15, I accompanied 12 to 15 young men and a couple of counselors to the villages in the Highlands of Michoacan, Mexico.
The people there are literally dirt-poor. The roads are not paved, they’re made out of dirt. If you visit their homes, they are wooden huts and the floor is dirt. They have no running water, and the only modern convenience they have is electricity.
About an hour from those villages, as you come down the mountains, is the regional capital of Zamora. Most Americans haven’t heard of it. Zamora has a stunning cathedral. They started building it in the early 1900s when they had to stop because of the revolution and then recommenced in the 1980s or 1990s. Today, you can see it!
It’s like you’re in medieval Europe. It’s made out of stone, the two towering Gothic cathedral Spires wrapped in copper. As you walk in, the floor is made out of jet-black granite and the altar’s made out of marble. You see stained glass windows and this magnificent Tabernacle. But up in the front, on the left, it looks like they didn’t finish the wall. It’s concrete with faded red paint underneath with little chips of stone missing.
“What’s that about?” I asked our guide.
He said, “We left it that way because that’s where they used to execute the martyrs during the Mexican Revolution.”
Oh my goodness! Sometime later, I was with the Bishop of Zamora. I told him I was from Chicago and he could speak a little bit of English. And I said, “You have a magnificent cathedral. How is that possible down here where people are dirt poor?”
He smiled. He said, “Well, down here, people have more faith than money.”
That’s kind of a paradox, isn’t it? But with faith, we can do great things. It’s not only limited in Mexico. Do you know the largest Catholic Church in the world is in the Ivory Coast? It’s called Our Lady of Peace, and these are poor people. But with great faith. There’s something to that in terms of our love for Jesus and the Holy Eucharist. The more we need Him, the more we will love Him.
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