12/08/09 Patricia, about 50
Today I visited a Dunkin' Donuts and asked Patricia, who sat at a table reading a newspaper, if I could ask her some opinion questions. "What is this for?" said she. "I'm from a nearby church and I'm interested in finding out about different people's beliefs. For example, what does Christmas mean to you?" Her answer: "Christmas is when we celebrate Jesus' birth" "Do you have a church background?" said I. Patricia told me all about the various traditions she had celebrated as she grew up in Mexico, including the Posadas, which reenact Mary and Joseph's search for shelter, and the celebration of "Our Lady of Guadalupe", believed to be an appearance of Mary in the 1500's. Patricia was very knowledgeable about all this and views herself as a good person who tries her best. She knows she isn't perfect, but believes that a long illness or purgatory will purify her soul. She knows purgatory isn't found in the Bible, yet stated that if anyone adds to God's word it wouldn't be God's word. She believes her goodness will save her, yet also stated that Jesus died for our sins, so I pointed out these contradictions. She had to get back to work at her job nearby, so I just encouraged her to avoid the mistake that so many people make - trusting her good deeds will save her. "There's nothing we can add to what Jesus has already done for us on the cross."