Liliana* had been at Baychester, a homeless shelter for women and children, for quite a while now. Each time the missionaries knocked on her door, she declined any invitation to pray and seemed very uninterested in speaking with us. So today, we walked past her room without knocking expecting the same attitude. As I walked past her and saw her back turned to us through the open door, I felt the spirits of fear, despair, and deception present. I slowed.
Give me a chance. God whispered to my heart.
Okay, Lord, yes. But I have no idea what is going to come of this.
I turned around, a bit fearful, and lightly knocked on her open door.
“Hi I’m Hailey and this is Mary. We are from the church and were wondering if you wanted to pray today?”
Come Holy Spirit.
She looked over her shoulder and threw down her towel.
“Yes, I actually would. I need guidance.”
God took that yes, that slightly opened door of her heart, and seized the opportunity to love her. She was overwhelmed with being a mother, so we spoke of our mother, Mary. Her eyes lit up at the picture of Our Lady of Fatima which she hung on her mirror. She listened attentively and actively as I taught her how to pray the rosary.
“You know, even if you aren’t praying it at any moment, you can still hold onto it because there is power in it; Jesus is present.” I encouraged.
“I once had a rosary,” Liliana began. “Whenever I would leave to go somewhere, I would put it in my daughter’s baby bag and so I knew that no matter what happened, Jesus was with us. I lost it a while ago and have been looking for another one. And now I have one again.”
Yes, yes you do. Jesus is taking care of you. Lord, I’m amazed by you.
Then we prayed.
Come Holy Spirit.
We prayed with the story of the parting of the Red Sea. God our Father parted the sea to guide the Israelites safely to the promised land. Lord, right now we may be looking at a raging sea in front of us, unsure of how to cross it. But you can and will guide us safely through to the abundance you have prepared for us on the other side. Jesus, we trust in you.
As we prayed, tears began to fall upon her shirt. They were tears of freedom. Chains were breaking. She was being set free.
“Sorry,” she sniffled, “I haven’t cried in a while.”
In that moment, I knew the Devil was defeated. He no longer held her in the bondage of fear—Christ gave her peace. He no longer held her in the bondage of despair—Christ gave her hope. He no longer held her in the bondage of deception—Christ’s beating heart resounded, each beat whispering His love into her heart. The fog was lifted. She encountered His love. She encountered His Heart that beat solely for love of her.
Jesus’ beating heart moved my heart to say yes to giving Him a chance to love Liliana that day. Jesus’ beating heart moved Liliana to say yes to prayer that day. And on that day Liliana was set free by Jesus’ Beating Heart to say yes to His perfect peace, hope, mercy, and love. That is the power of a simple yes. That is the power of love.