“Pray to be ever ready for God’s will even when it takes you by surprise.” St. Mary MacKillop
I had an adventure recently. I finished a graduate degree and I decided to go to the ceremony which was a three-hour plane ride from home. I organized everything and brought parts of my family. No trip ever goes ahead without a glitch. This one had several. Our flight home was canceled so we juggled through websites and found another flight and we were willing to pay whatever. We got home. While we were visiting the city, we found a church to go to mass in the morning. It was clear the church in that city, both physically and spiritually, was in decline. It was difficult to see. The taxi driver told us that being Catholic in this area was a dirty word and there was a lot of resentment towards the Catholic Church. The Church there is in crisis, but it will make a return. We cannot keep God out of our lives. I did not let it faze me. I told him we were proud Catholics. Returning home, we drove from the airport and stopped for a coffee. The battery died in the car and just as it happened, a young driver pulled up behind us and asked if we needed a boost. Just little examples, but Mary MacKillop is correct, be ready for anything.
“Hold your eyes on God and leave the doing to Him.” St. Jeanne de Chantal
It is interesting how much we want to control everything. We stand in God’s way in almost everything we do. Let’s get out of His path and allow Him to act as He sees fit. However, this would demand a lot of trust on our part. I recently read about the Martyrs of the Hulks of Rochefort. In 1790, during the French Revolution, priests were required by law to swear allegiance to the civil constitution and remove any authority of the Pope and Rome. They refused and 827 priests were imprisoned on the hulks of ships which were not seaworthy at all. Little to no food or water, no sanitation and no medical care resulted in the priests being left to die. Of the total, 542 prisoners died. The rest were allowed to return home. Only 64 have been positively identified. Many of the returning priests wrote about their experience. Accounts of their plight have survived. Their story was remarkable. Such determination! Such faith!
“According to the divine plan, action must be fed with prayer. The interior life is the wellspring of the apostolate. Do not believe in the slogan, ‘The priest is sanctified in sanctifying others’ – it is an illusion. The real formula is, ‘Sanctify yourself so as to sanctify others.’ Blessed Edward Poppe
Another great example of faith, Father Edward Poppe from Belgium, served as a nurse in the battlefield during World War I. Upon his return, his health failed but he spent his recuperation studying and praying. He was inspired by St. Therese of Lisieux. He even served as a spiritual director to seminarians.
"They did not understand that God is the God of surprises, that God is always new: He never contradicts Himself, never says that what He had said was wrong, ever, but He always surprises us. Pope Francis
We must not ever lose hope. Not ever! However, it is easy to get distracted on our way as life happens in front of us. My experiences can never match what the great saints and martyrs have lived. I need to keep reading about those examples to be reminded daily of God’s love for his people.
“In the solitude and silence of the wilderness… God gives His athletes the reward they desire: a peace that the world does not know and joy in the Holy Spirit.” St. Bruno