May 20, 2003

Bitte, Danke

I visited an old German church in town and on the ceiling were fresco-type paintings of saints underneath each of which was the word Bitte followed by the saint's name. This momentarily puzzled me - my rudimentary German informed me that "bitte" was not the word for "pray for us" which is what I expected. No, "bitte" meant please. And that pleased me. Because it sounded more informal, more mendicantory, more in the spirit of what prayer is - "begging". Please, St. Anthony.

I recall in another church seeing the shrine of Blessed Margaret of Costello, who was born blind and lame and deformed. I recall feeling pity for her until we shared a chuckle - for she was feeling the same for me, her spiritual obverse!

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