It's amazing how God blesses faithfulness. I'm seeing it all around me, everywhere I turn, no matter the hour of the day, the day of the week, or the seemingly smallness of the sacrifice.
Some cases in point........
My dear friend AJ, for whom many of you have been praying, has received some amazing news. You can read about it here. For now, just know that the power of prayer should never be underestimated.
My dear friend Sarah has an incredible story. After a year of challenges that most people could not even begin to fathom, this lovely young woman has held fast to her faith, and faced with another challenge--she turned to prayer and faith. Rock solid faith. Her prayer--answered very quickly, positively, abundantly....Gracefully.
Another dear friend who was grieving the loss of her sixth child due to early miscarriage has found that she and her husband are again expecting. She is feeling wonderfully nauseous, aware that the worse she feels, the stronger her baby grows.
Last week, my girls and I were so blessed to spend a few hours in the company of three Sisters of Life. At the request of my dear friend Deacon Greg, we transported these wonderful Sisters from one retreat venue to another, in cities which lie roughly 3 hours from one another. It was obvious to me that the Holy Spirit had moved Deacon Greg to ask me, even though he is in Rome--and that the Holy Spirit had moved me to respond affirmatively. For Pete's sake, what's the good of having a van like Bucky if you never take it on an unknown adventure which promises to do nothing but bless in return? When we picked the Sisters up, they were so thankful to have transportation! They were joyful, excited, and effervescent in their love for the Lord. We prayed together, we talked about our lives up 'til now, we did our best Bronx accents, and we thanked God for the flawlessly clear, sunny blue sky.
At the end of that journey, I began another. When we arrived at the convent where the Sisters were to spend the night, my dear friend Fr. Eric met us. He had brought with him a bag, containing, as he said, "something for you, which, as it turns out, is also something for me." His cassock was in the bag, with a small tear in the back that I had noticed back in January. He hoped I would be able to spare the time to mend it.
I had offered to mend the cassock, so it didn't come as any surprise to me that he sent it home with me. But the "something for me" bit took me off guard. Fr. Eric, though, has a way of infusing words, just a few at a time, with deep wisdom. He has given me books to read which have been difficult to pick up, much less get through...but the Holy Spirit has always guided the timing of my reading them, and I have never failed to grow and to be blessed in turn by whatever God has intended me to glean from the things I've read. So I figured that this latest comment would likely fall into that category.
I was right.
I had assumed that the repair would be an easy one, but it proved to be rather difficult after all. To conceal a mend on a hem is one thing. Even a seam can be cleverly disguised. A pleat can usually be pulled into line with a little work. But this tear involved a pleat pulled into a central back satin-stitched dart with no seam in sight. And worse, it extended beyond the dart--meaning that even after I had resewn the pleat to the satin-stitched dart, I would have to mend the fabric back together in a place where there was no possible camouflage for it. It measured about a centimeter, but as I carefully pieced it together, tiny stitch by tiny stitch, it appeared to be a gaping slash, covering half of the back panel, and I may as well have been using neon green yarn.
As I sat on the couch, mending tools at hand, with this garment laid across my lap, the scent of Mass wafted gently toward me. I don't know how else I could possibly explain it. This cassock had been worn by my friend, a priest, who stood at the altar and offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It was positively intimidating to even attempt this repair.
I relied heavily on prayer while I completed this small task. I didn't do it all in one sitting; though it was what some would deem a minor thing, I prayed for God to steady my hand and to help me make it just right. It turned out better than I had hoped for, though I was still a little less than pleased...but what can you do when the fabric tears where it wants to tear? It needed to be mended, otherwise it would have pulled into a bigger tear, which would have been far more obvious after mending.
When I returned his cassock to him, Fr. Eric was very thankful. It was so humbling to find him sitting in the church, meditating on the day's prescribed readings and just being in the Presence of the Lord.
My reward was his thanks, but more so the time that I had been able to spend in prayer while even contemplating how to begin repairing the cassock. *And that was it*! There was the wisdom! My heart has been so heavy lately with the lack of time to spend in prayer, but Fr. Eric was allowing me to see that it is there, after all.
Thanks be to God for the small, everyday ways in which He allows blessings to come into our lives. Since our venturing out last week, I have been far better able to sleep, to truly rest, and to look at each morning with a welcoming spirit than I have been in months.
Speaking of sleep.............................................................