When I returned to Chontal back in June to visit a month after the landslides, I had a chance to take a closer look at all the damage and what had happened. On the day of the landslides, one of the homes had almost been destroyed, with its workshop attached wiped out:
When I got back and was looking around, I also was able to listen to some more stories. The family that lives in the house is Fernando and Jimena and their two daughters, Katy and Valentina. On the night of the landslides, it was Jimena who had come crying into the house I was staying in, with her daughter Valentina, after evacuating the house. In June I was able to talk a little more with her about what happened.
She said, “it was raining really hard and I didn’t know what to do. So I called up my father on the phone, and I asked him what we should do. He said, ‘Pray.’ So, after hanging up with him, I prayed to God.”
I went up with her daughter Katy to look at the damage. What you can see is that the landslide actually turns as it gets to the house. Part of it stops just feet from the house, and the rest passed alongside of it and wiped out the workshop. There is no doubt on their part that a miracle happened. Now Jimena is not a regular church-goer, not a holy roller. She doesn’t pray the rosary or novenas. But it was one small, simple prayer from the heart in the moment of distress.
And it moved a mountain.
See, I think we miss that. Just like the disciples with Jesus, we don’t get it. We think about all these other things, like loving our family, or going to church, or living a good life, saying our regular prayers, and helping people and we probably don’t see huge miracles. We take it for granted, or, underneath it all, it’s really us who we are relying on. Sometimes we might have the mentality, “prayer works”, as if it’s something we manipulate like a tool, something that, really, *we* do. And we never see a mountain literally move.
But that is the message of Jesus, and the message of St Therese of Lisieux. It’s deep faith in one tiny moment, one small prayer from the depths that God loves. It’s the power of smallness planted at the deepest part of the heart.
That can move a mountain.
“For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.” (Mt 17:20)