Sometimes gold flakes appear along the periphery. The first or last image in a photo session is the winner. The opening or closing page of a book delivers the line you have in your heart. Or at the end of an interview, just after the formal conversation has ended, produces a comment that stops you in your tracks.
This morning I interviewed a Catholic counselor, focusing on the nature of his work. Once we covered my final question, I asked him if he liked his work.
“It has been a joy,” he said. “My mantra is, ‘What do you want to happen today?’ Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, things are always trying to happen. And from time to time, we pay enough attention to link our energy to what God wants to see happen.”
What an exciting prospect! God is always at work, but mostly in a hidden way. If we can tune in to his prompting, we can actually help him. We can speed up his cause, we can connect the dots, we can be his hands and feet.
I immediately thought of my Aunt Jan, an empty nester whose generosity and availability flow from a deep prayer life. Trust God, trust the stranger in her midst, and take every opportunity to connect the two of them in some way.
Because Jan is paying attention and always in conversation with God, she sees these opportunities more than the rest of us. She unites her energy with God’s, as the counselor said.
Take your morning walk to Mass, which starts at 7:30 am 3 miles from your home, at St. Odilia in Shoreview.
One morning, an 81-year-old man passed her on a scooter. They struck up a long conversation. Soon, Jan was serving Dale lunch at a nearby park and giving him flashing lights and a reflective visor to make his scooter ride safer at night.
His life story spilled out. Dale had studied with Ansel Adams and befriended Jack Kerouac. He had been widowed. And more recently, he had lost the right to drive a car.
Jan checks in with Dale regularly and plans to help him with his next camping trip.
Another morning, Jan relieved a motorcyclist who had been chased by two stray dogs on his way to work. She assumed reign over them, pushing the wildest off the road and finally securing her collar to summon the owner.
Then there was the moment a priest friend from Indiana called about Craig, a parishioner who had gone into cardiac arrest just before a flight made a stopover in Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport. Jan sprang into action. She and her husband, Rick, hosted Craig and his wife for three weeks.
“I pray for the people that God puts in my path,” said Jan. “And I ask God to remove all the obstacles that separate me from him.”
Spending 10 minutes in silence every day listening to God has been crucial for Jan. If God can work through a donkey that takes Mary to Bethlehem, she thinks, He can work through her. “I think I’m right where God wants me to be, and if I’m not, he will lead me.”
Your generosity is fueled by gratitude. “Look, look, look! God has been incredibly generous. I can’t not repay that generosity.”
Every day in God’s service is an adventure. It is also a source of lasting peace.
“Something is happening in my life recently,” he said. “I just can’t believe how generous God is in showing us his ways: ‘Don’t be afraid, don’t be frustrated. I have it under control.’”
As the seasons change and a new school year gets under way, let us heed the openings of the Holy Spirit. May we wake up each morning with holy curiosity, asking, “What does God want to happen?”
Capecchi is a freelance writer from Inver Grove Heights.
Category: twenty something