January 21, 2022

Love’s Litmus / Natalie Hoefer

Couple’s kindness keeps 94-year-old woman going to Mass

Natalie HoeferAt 94, Joan Bey’s mind is sharp. And her faith is deep. Through struggles and hardships, her heartfelt response is, “God has been so good to me. He always takes care of me and provides for me.”

But her body is showing its age. Several years ago, Bey began to use a walker. A couple at her parish, Christ the King in Indianapolis, took notice.

The woman “started following me to my car after Mass to be sure I was able to get in easily and was safe and didn’t fall,” says Bey. “Then she called and asked me if she could come see me.”

Often her friend brings a glass jar of soup for Bey—“They’re so good!” she says of the homemade blends.

One day, she brought Bey a handmade, three-sided, fabric carry-all for her walker—and Bey couldn’t have been more delighted.

“It’s so handy,” she says, joy ringing through her voice. “It’s really easy to carry things—Kleenex, a checkbook, pen, sunglasses. That has been very, very helpful.”

The day arrived when Bey decided she would no longer drive.

“I knew I was a danger to myself and others,” she admits.

When she told the couple, they didn’t hesitate in their response.

“They offered to drive me to Mass,” says Bey. “I didn’t even ask—they just offered.”

Now the couple calls Bey each Saturday to see if she wants to go to the vigil Mass at Christ the King. Unless she isn’t feeling well, her answer is always yes.

“I appreciate their kindness,” says Bey, emphasizing that the couple makes “an extra effort to pick me up. They live west of the church, and I live east of it, so they have to drive by the church to come get me, then drive me home and then go past the church again to get home.

“I find that encouraging and helpful and very kind of them.”

Bey’s gratitude for the couple’s efforts goes deeper than their driving out of their way.

“If they hadn’t offered to drive,” she says, “I wouldn’t be able to go to Mass.”

In 1 Cor 13:4, St. Paul states that “love is kind.” Like love, kindness is not a feeling, but a doing.

And it doesn’t have to be much. Little actions that might seem insignificant in our eyes can mean the world to another person.

Maybe it’s an occasional visit to a senior or shut-in. Maybe it’s a jar of homemade soup. Maybe it’s a small but useful gift to make someone’s life easier.

Or maybe it’s going a bit out of your way to bring someone to the grace-filled, Christ-imbued, weekly sacrifice of the Mass.

“Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love,” said  St. Thérèse of Lisieux.

Even if we don’t feel “love” behind our efforts, rest assured that God sees it otherwise. As Christ reveals in Mt 25:40, “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”

(Send your stories of people you know who live out agape as described by St. Paul in 1 Cor 13:4-7 to Natalie Hoefer at nhoefer@archindy.org, or call 317-236-1486 or 800-932-9836, ext. 1486. Include your parish and a daytime phone number where you may be reached.)

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