What does it take to plan a picnic? Some friends, family, food, beverages, great weather and a soccer ball. Sounds about right!
Well, on my way to our Regnum Christi picnic with a dear friend and her children in the car, I was making all the mental plans. I wanted so much to introduce this friend to my Regnum Christi family. How I hoped she’d get to know them and feel welcome. I hoped her children would make friends easily and have fun all day. I really waned to impress my friend with a large crowd of RC members showing up for the picnic and how I wished she’d feel inspired by the comradery, enlightening conversations, joy, laughter, etc.
On arriving at our destination there was only a dozen people. We were a little early, so we made our way to the chapel and prepared for Mass. As time passed, the chapel remained empty and her children were getting restless. She decided to take them for a tour of the Church proper and admire the beautiful altar, stained glass windows, statues and paintings.
In the quiet of my heart I pleaded with Jesus, “Lord, Mass is going to start soon, and my friend will miss Mass, because her children will be bored and cry they want to go home. Where is everybody? Will we have Mass today? “
In God’s timing the chapel filled up, Mass began and my friend and children were sitting right behind me. Beautiful, thanks be to God!
For lunch, we joined picnic tables, said ‘Grace’, shared foods, introduced new friends, and dug in as the heat of the day was reaching peek numbers. I prayed, “Come on Lord, it’s the end of September, why so hot still?” Alright, I must complain less and be more, so I got out of my comfort zone and mingled with everyone, chose to be of assistance to my friend and her children. Her children were playing with newly made friends and were running up and down the fields. We gathered everyone for a group picture, afraid that soon we’d be suffering from heat strokes. The joy of day was evident, even through the heat, conversation flowed, the enthusiasm of the young adults who attended was a joy to witness as well as, the children who were playing and laughing together!
We wanted to say the Rosary by this beautiful newly renovated walk way surrounded by giant Rosary beads, the twenty pictures of the mysteries and Stations of the cross, but it was a couple of kilometers long with no shade. So, we stayed right where we were, in the shade of a large old tree, drinking water and some of us, myself included had to use a wet towel wrapped around my neck to cool down.
We recited the Rosary in English, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian and yes even Nepalese, which reminded me of the Christ’s call to, “ Go and make disciples of all nations.” We sang Marian hymns between the decades in English and Latin, it added so much culture and beauty. I thank you, Lord and Our Blessed Mother for keeping us safe in Her mantle!
As the afternoon hours came and the sun had lost its aggressive heat some of us ventured by the Rosary walkway and took in the beauty and reflecting by the stained-glass art of the stations of the cross. At one moment the sun rays through the stained glass were playing optical illusions for us, it brought the art out in three dimensions and made it look so alive! We lingered, reflected and prayed. Through this experience I felt grateful that the Lord, reminded us of His constant presence!
Well, as the people began to leave, the children were still holding out. Tiredness began to settle in and I prayed the children would be sleep during the car ride home. All I could think of was looking forward to getting home to rest with a tall cold drink.
On the drive home everyone was still very excited, so I shared some of my highlights and invited my friend to do the same. With tears of joy in her eyes, she shared that for the longest time she wanted to go to Confession, but the opportunity hadn’t come. Today, before Mass, while touring the main church proper with her children she found herself in a confessional cue, but what to do with her children? She asked a young dad with his toddler if he could watch them while she went for Confession and he said, “Yes, absolutely!” (now that’s a Regnum Christi’s soul)! She said, “ The Lord heard my pleas and planned all the events to go the way they went, so I could meet His Mercy” She was ever so happy and couldn’t thank me enough. The Lords plans are so different than mine, His ways are so much more above my ways. He always wins and makes everything ever so perfect. Talk about planning!!! Thank you Lord for always surprising us! You keep the best wine for last!
Well as I dropped off this young family, the children were still bursting at the seams with joy, they pleaded, “This was the best picnic ever, please take us again next time, we want to come with you.” With the joy of your heart Lord, enlarge my heart!
Written by Daniela DallaVia
Click HERE for Picnic Video.