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For some people, sorrow and pain come much too early in life. You may have learned sadness, as I did, at a very young age. By the time I was 8 years old, I had found a place to deposit my fears.

While my Greek School classmates played outside at recess, I would sneak into the church. I would kneel down -- always before the icon of Michael the Archangel, because my grandmother said he had saved my baby brother’s life -- and in the safety of the candlelight, I prayed to a God that I hoped would hear me. Perhaps I was too young to know how to pray . . . far too young to know very much about God and archangels and spiritual kinds of things. But I do know that I was overcome by a kind of innocent faith that still believed in miracles.

There in the quiet stillness, a little girl too young to know very much at all was graced with the intuitive sensitivity to the work of God’s spirit in life. And that’s where I first happened upon the secret of finding joy in the midst of sadness.

When I remember how young I was when I first experienced a sense of God, I also remember how young Mary was when the angel appeared to her.

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