“Grant me, O Lord, my God, a mind to know You, a heart to seek You, wisdom to find You, conduct pleasing to You, faithful perseverance in waiting for You, and a hope of finally embracing You.” – St. Thomas Aquinas
(Photo from Father Lawrence Lew, O.P. - God’s Excessive Love - Used With Permission)
Monday, September 30, 2013
Monday Musings - Follow His Promptings!
(Image from Biblebios.com)
I stopped in Church for a visit, intending
to spend some time in the Presence of our Lord, to pray the rosary and recite the
Divine Mercy Chaplet. Midway through my recitation of the rosary, a woman came
in quietly and almost unnoticeably. She sat in the very last pew, knelt down
and pulled out her rosary beads. I did not know who she was.
We were just two simple souls drawn
to the silent sacredness that palpably files this holy place.
Shortly after finishing my rosary
and as I was about to begin the Divine Mercy Chaplet, another woman entered the
Church in tears, wailing in obvious despair. I do not think she even knew two other people
She walked toward the sanctuary,
entered a pew not far from the tabernacle, knelt down and cried ever more loudly. Her heaving shoulders
evidenced the depth of her sorrow and despair. Her loud painful wailing shattered
the sacred silence and penetrated the center of my heart. “Dear God,” I prayed, “please, please help
this poor woman!” I remained standing in the back of the Church, looking at and
praying for her.
I “sensed” I should go put my
hands on her shoulder and comfort her. “No,” I told myself. “I couldn’t do
that. That’s not me. I would not know what to say.” The urging and prompting
persisted - “Go, put your hands on her shoulder and comfort her.” I found myself
walking toward her, begging God to give me the words to say. When my hand
touched her shoulder, she jumped, startled that I was there. I looked into her
tear filled painful eyes and asked if I could help her in some way. She wailed
In between her sobs, she told me
her name was Janet (not her real name), that her husband of 47 years had died about 4 months ago,
that they had actually gotten married in this parish in 1971, that she was on
her way to another city and was prompted to stop in this Church. She didn’t
know why. Janet felt she could not go on without her husband; she wanted to
“Your husband wouldn’t want you
to do that. He would want you to recognize in this most difficult of times how
much God loves you. It was this loving comforting healing God who drew you here
today.” Where did those words come from?
I “knew” I had to pray aloud. I don’t
recall the exact words I said or how long I prayed but I prayed audibly in a manner that I have
not been able to pray for some time and with a conviction that did not
originate with me. Over time, the sobbing became less frequent. She held my
hand. She wanted to and was able to speak.
Janet asked me if I was a
priest. “No Ma’am,” I am just a parishioner here. “Would you like me to see if
Father is in the rectory?” I asked. “No.” She talked and I just listened.
After a short while, the other woman
who had been in the rear of the Church praying the rosary joined us. We introduced
ourselves and with “Janet’s” permission I told our new visitor what she had
shared with me. There was an immediate and comforting connection Rebecca (also not her real name)established with Janet – a few years
earlier Rebecca had been exactly where Janet was now.
I felt it was time for me to
leave but before doing so, I invited Janet to stop in our Adoration Chapel, to
gaze upon the God who loved her, exposed in a monstrance blessed by the late John
Paul II the Sunday before he died and given to this small little parish in the
middle of no where. I found myself assuring her, with a level of faith and
certainty I have rarely found in my life, that I “knew” He had a special gift
He wanted to give her if she would come in for a visit. Rebecca had the same
I told Janet and Rebecca I
would be praying for them and asked them to pray for me.
But here is the “rest of the story.” Ordinarily,
I would not have been in the Church at that time of day. I usually go there in
the morning. I wasn’t planning to go that
day until after 3 PM. But inexplicably I went at 1:30 PM instead. I later found
out that Rebecca also had no specific plan to visit the Church that day at
that time. She too responded to a silent prompting.
Obviously Rebecca and I now
realize that God wanted us to be there at that time for that woman.
What if either or both of us had
ignored His promptings that day? Would Janet have stopped there? Would someone
else have been there for God to use to touch this suffering soul and point her
to Him? We will never know.
God does not expect “big’ things
from us – just our obedience and trust.
We have to get out of your comfort zone!
With God’s grace I am going to be
less reluctant to follow His promptings in the future.