As I was preparing for a lecture today, I happened on a fabulously rich story from the life of St. Edith Stein. The story tells of a key moment in the saint’s journey to faith in Christ.
In 1917 Stein, who was a brilliant student of German philosopher Edmund Husserl, was in the thick of her quest for ‘ultimate meaning’ as an agnostic Jew. That same year she happened one day into the Frankfurt Cathedral and saw a woman with a shopping basket going in to kneel for a brief prayer. She later remarked,
This was something totally new to me. In the synagogues and Protestant churches I had visited people simply went to the services. Here, however, I saw someone coming straight from the busy marketplace into this empty church, as if she was going to have an intimate conversation. It was something I never forgot.
Later, she would mark this unremarkable sight as a definitive moment of transformation.
Real evangelization is to be found in living every unremarkable moment as if God is absolutely true, real, concrete, in-your-face Love whose supreme desire is nothing other than to engage in time-wasting, natural, matter-of-fact, spontaneous and intimate conversation with His children.
Only on the Last Day will we know who was watching.
Maybe even a future martyr.