Monday, March 31, 2014

Honk If You're For Jesus

I was reading a Gospel meditation, the one about the multiplication of the loaves.  I had thought it was a great miracle, what Jesus had done.  I was wrong in my thinking; He didn’t do it all.
“The Apostles tell Jesus that a young boy has five loaves and two fishes, that this is very little, in fact, nothing at all for feeding five thousand men.  But the Lord asks for this nothing and uses it to accomplish a great miracle.  It is always thus:  the all-powerful God, who can do everything and create from nothing, when dealing with His free creatures, will not act without their help.  Man can do very little; yet God wants, asks for, and requires this little as a condition of His intervention.  Only the Lord can make us saints, as only He could multiply the small supplies of the young boy; still he asks for our help.  Like the boy in the Gospel, we too must give Him everything in our power; we must offer Him each day our good resolutions, renewed faithfully and lovingly, and He will bring about a great miracle for us also, the miracle, of our sanctification.”
            -- Divine Intimacy (P340), by Fr Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.
I read those words and looked up at the monstrance on the altar.  He “will not act without their help.”  As I pondered and took some modest actions in recent months, to do my little thing in this “New Evangelization” effort, I always had the feeling that the task of turning around our culture was just so immense, so daunting, that any effort I made would not make a difference at all.  Yes, I was somewhat anxious, despite the title to this blog.  As we seek to do God’s will, we so often look at the big picture of things, the huge miracles that need to be wrought, and we get anxious:  “What could God possibly want me to do about this thing?”  And we focus on eliminating poverty, feeding the hungry, healing everyone who is sick, cleaning the pollution on the earth, ending global warming.  We want to do something!  But then we look in the mirror, and see just one person there, and he seems so little.
This gospel meditation was a great reminder to me:  God may want to do some great things, world-changing things, miraculous healings even --- but He doesn’t expect me to do those things by myself AND, perhaps even more importantly, He tells me in this Gospel that He won’t do those things by Himself either!  Praying: “GOD, DO SOMETHING!” is a fanciful prayer, an expectation that God controls everything on earth, and will act at our beck and call.  But even as I pray: “God, be here,” He reminds me that I AM HERE also.  He doesn’t expect me to do everything, but to do what I can, even just contributing 5 loaves and 2 fishes to feed 5000.   Even if my efforts will only feed a dozen, He wants me to feed those dozen.
This was the reminder for me this weekend, to seek to do His will, as much as I am able, and then to not be anxious about the outcome.  He will be with me there in my efforts.  I need to remember that, as I worry about and pray about our country.
                - - - - - - - - - -
Shortly after the Gospel was read at Sunday mass, our dear pastor began his homily.  Perhaps it was because I had meditated on the Gospel the night before, or perhaps it was because I felt that I (in my great brilliance) knew all there was to know about that Gospel, and so I quickly found my mind wandering and not paying attention to the pastor’s words.  I picked up a book I was reading, To Know Jesus as the Christ, by Cardinal Schonborn, and I read these words, which I thought particularly insightful:
“How often, though, we obscure the image of God through our behavior!  If we are of the opinion that we become happy only if we concentrate on ourselves as much as possible, fulfill ourselves as much as possible, then we do not understand Easter joy. Easter joy is this:  In the Resurrection of Jesus, God confirmed that this man is really his beloved Son. … listen to Him.  In Him you can see what I am like and how our path should look.  In Him you can see what it looks like really to be a man and to become a man!”
These words were significant enough for me to want to remember them, and so I began to underline them, even as I faintly heard the good father drone on from the altar.  The words “Cardinal Schonborn” perked up my attention, and I looked up and listened to father say:  “… who talks about what Easter joy really is …”  And then I glanced down at my pen, about to underline the words “Easter joy.”
I guess that was a confirmation to me that I was right about the importance of those words.  I shall read and meditate on them again.  But it also was yet another little nudge, I think, of my mind:  read these things; think on these things.  This too, as with the lesson I perceived in the Gospel, is an example of how I should contribute --- in some small way --- to the will of God.  Reading and learning about Him, seeing “what it looks like really to be a man and to become a man,” are part of my contribution to His effort, my making of myself into someone He can use, willingly, to do His will.
            - - - - - - - - - -
I entered the adoration chapel Monday afternoon to say my Evening Prayers, pray my nightly rosary, and perhaps read some meditations.  Time with God.  I knelt down and greeted God, there on the altar, and we talked about my day.  Some things didn’t go so well; some big tasks I thought others would assume, they won’t.  I wondered softly to Him: What should I do?  Then I sat down in the chair next to the glass windows, which surround the circular-shaped chapel building.
As I sat down, I heard a “creak, creak,” and I glanced up at the ceiling.  Perhaps the wind was acting up, and the building feeling the stress.  But then I heard it again, faintly, but more clearly: “tap, tap.”  I turned around and saw the large Canadian goose standing there, next to the window, looking at me.  She tapped the glass once more, and looked at me.  I smiled and tapped the glass twice in front of her.  She tapped once more, and then sat down right behind me, and turned her head to look at the altar.  I prayed in the chapel for over an hour, and the goose did not tap anymore, nor did she move.  Except for the glass, I could have given her a pat on the head.  But then I packed together my things and turned to her once again, and softly touched the glass.  Her head turned from the altar to look not at my hand on the glass, but into my eyes.  And I stood up and left the chapel.  Looking back, I saw her rise also.
Why do these things happen thusly?  How many of them are happening all around us, but we are too busy to notice?  How often are we too busy with things WE WANT to do even the smallest things God wants, things He will work with us to accomplish --- even to the giving of some small prayer partner, who can only speak to us in simple actions. 
If even a silly goose can praise God, why can’t we? 


  1. Okay, about the goose: Wow! A little animal companion from God to keep you company and adore Our Lord with you! Sounds a little St. Francis of Assisi to me, who, by the way, was one very little, powerless man who changed the world. How did he do it? Sacrifice and prayer. I only read his biography when I was about 35, and then I realized all I ever knew about him was how he loved the animals. But now I know that is the least about him, and can see why he is the much loved saint that he is.
    I hope you have read his biography, in fact, I hope you have read numerous biographies of his life, because his is the kind of life that does change the world, according to God's will.
    God Bless. Fran

    1. Oh, I have certainly read many a book about St. Francis, and even though I don't attribute the "St. Francis Prayer" (Lord, Make me an instrument of Thy peace ...) to him, because so many say he didn't write it, still after I say it each morning I just habitually pray: St. Francis, pray for us. Yes, he changed the world; I don't expect to.

      I never did thank you, Fran, for recommending Divine Intimacy. I've given that book to others, have my own copy, and have a copy in our adoration chapel. It was all you said, and more. I read it every evening, and it has seriously lengthened my evening prayer time --- not that the words there are so long, but that they make me think so much.

      Thank you, again. I'll be giving that book to many friends this Christmas.

  2. I think you are mistaken that I was the one who recommended Divine Intimacy to you. I only first heard of the book from your postings about it. Perhaps there are two Fran's that visit and post here?
    God Bless. ~ Fran