Saturday, December 5, 2015

What Does God Want of Me?

This first week of Advent began in Phoenix with my nieces; it was a great blessing.  But, as I already documented, so was my flight back sitting next to the like-minded stranger.

I arrived home at 1PM, and by 4 was having drinks with a friend, discussing our plans to help those in need.  My midnight adoration hour set me firmly in the “I’m home” mood.

Wednesday was a mid-day bible study, at which I learned a friend belonged to NODA.  NODA?  As she explained, NODA is No One Dies Alone, an organization whose members commit 4 hours of their free time to be at the bedside of someone dying alone.  What a wonderful (and needed) group!!  My friend described how she recently was at a dying woman’s side and was frustrated to notice that there was no longer any crucifix on the wall of the Catholic hospital.  Crucifixes had been removed during re-modeling and not replaced.  “I’m going to write the board of directors and offer to buy new crucifixes,” she said.  Fortunately, I happened to know someone who knows someone who is the current CEO of the hospital, and later that afternoon emails were sent asking for action.

On Thursday night I made a presentation, the Treasurer’s Report, at the Annual Meeting of a local non-profit.  Basically, I said we are doing good work, much more needs to be done, it will cost money, and as treasurer I am committed to finding it.  I was surprised over the concluding applause --- at my saying I hadn’t done anything yet!

On Friday morning the men’s Bible Study never cracked open the Good Book.  One of the men asked for help in discerning God’s will in a problem he faced.  His two youngest girls were in the local public high school and unhappy there.  He and his wife would like to send them to an expensive private school, but money was tight.  The girls said they’d love to go to the private school, but ….  “I’ve been praying,” he said, “but I’ve heard no answer, and I’m not sure what we should do.”

The discussion over his problem lasted the entire hour.  At the end, he asked each man his opinion; I was last.  I told him I couldn’t really comment on his life, because I was not him, but I could tell him what I’ve been doing.  “At one point I told God I wanted to do His will --- but I soon found out my commitment was just the start of my being able to do it.  Relative to money decisions, I’ve arrived at the point where I try to take money out of any decision.  If something is right to do, I try to do it and God seems to make sure I have enough money to make it happen.  I haven’t balanced my checkbook in years.  And one more thing,” I said.  “You guys have noticed how often as we discuss things here it seems what I am reading seems to fit the discussion, well let me read to you what I read just now as you were discussing things:

Psalm 25
Prayer For Guidance and Deliverance

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust.

Lead me in your truth, and teach me.

For you I wait all the day long.

Who is the man who fears the Lord?
him will He instruct in the way that he should choose.

The leader of the Bible Study group then read the entire 25th Psalm, suggesting that the man and his family read it for the next few days, together, before making any decisions.  Afterward, I spoke to the man privately: “In recent years I’ve come around to supporting a new local Catholic girl’s high school because it has a focus on making girls who will make a difference in this world.  It has some Protestant girls there, and their families are very satisfied with the program --- and the school would cost half as much as the private school you are considering.”  He thanked me for making him aware of another option.

This week I’ve been purchasing needed gifts for the children of a single mom, and I asked the local Catholic bookstore to select some books for the kids.  Friday afternoon as I walked to the entrance of the store I saw a car in the lot which had the entire back seat piled with junk:  clothes, ice scrapers, food bags, pop containers, etc., all stacked as high as the front seat headrests.  Someone seemed to be living in this car.  I mentioned it to the woman in the bookstore, who said she had noticed also --- the car was parked in the first handicapped spot, very noticeable.  “I think I know who it is; she volunteers at the local U of M hospital.”  A homeless person who volunteers to help others!!  “I’m not sure what I can do for her, but pray.”

I didn’t know what to do for her either, but I went to the nearby church to say my Evening Prayers prior to the Friday 5:30P mass.  As I began my nightly rosary, I said: “Lord, I offer this rosary for that woman who is living in her car.  Please help her.”  And before I said the first words of the rosary prayers, my thoughts leapt to something I had read a couple of days before in the parish bulletin.  A local home for seniors, run by some sisters, had placed an ad asking for someone to come and stay in the home, free room and board, if they would look in on the women there during the evening hours.  They wanted a caregiver!  I went out of the church, found a bulletin and confirmed my memory of the ad, and then found the bookstore’s ad in the same bulletin.  I called them.  The bookstore lady was thrilled at the opportunity to offer the homeless woman a place to stay --- and she could continue to volunteer to help others!

All of this week’s events were on my mind this Saturday morning as I began my morning prayers and read:

Ant. 1:  Sing praise to the Lord; remember
        the wonders He has wrought.

Psalm 105
Give thanks to the Lord tell his name,
make known his deeds among the peoples

O sing to him, sing his praise;
tell all his wonderful works.
Be proud of his holy name,
let the hearts that seek the Lord rejoice.

Remember the wonders he has done
his miracles, the judgments he spoke.


Praise him for his grace and favor
To his children in distress;
Praise him still the same as ever
Slow to chide and swift to bless;
Alleluia!  Alleluia!
Glorious in his faithfulness.

Reading those words, I decided to write this blog post, but note carefully why:  not to remember any good things that I have done, but only to remember that I have done my part.  Look at my actions this week:  I have actually accomplished nothing!

What happened with my airline seatmate?  Will crucifixes be put back on the walls of the Catholic hospital?  Will we find funding to care for disabled people needing care?  Will the man put his girls in a private school, perhaps a Catholic one?  Will the homeless woman find a home?   Will the single mom (who is pregnant) find the wherewithal to care for all her kids?

I don’t know!  And a key point is, a point I need to remember is: I shouldn’t care; I shouldn’t worry.  What does God want of me, I asked in the title of this blog posting?  All he wants is that I do my part --- and trust Him to do His.

The words of this morning’s prayers reminded me to “make known his deeds,” “remember the wonders he has done,” and “praise him for his grace and favor to his children in distress.”

This I do.  This I wish to remember.

So that was my first week of Advent.  Advent is a time for preparing.  I think I learned some good lessons this week, and I wonder with some level of excitement what God has in store for me next week.  I don’t know, but for my part I plan to start the week off by attending a talk at our parish on Sunday night by Fr. Jacques Philippe --- all the way from France to lead this weekend’s woman’s conference, and then talk to our parish Sunday night. 

If God can help arrange that an author I admire comes all the way from France, well, I guess it’s the least I can do to hear him.  : - )

No comments:

Post a Comment