I thought I’d share what happened to me this evening. After my AA meeting, I stopped at a convenience store. As I got out of my car and began to walk in I heard someone say something to me. I looked to my left and there sat a woman on the bench outside. I looked at the woman and said “pardon me”. She asked how I was. I told her that I was doing fine and asked how she was. I’ll begin by describing this woman to you. She was heavy set, disheveled, a tad dirty and was missing many of her teeth. My heart sank when I saw her. Oddly I hadn’t even noticed her when I parked my car in front of the store. Nor did I notice her as I got out of my car.
She went on to tell me she had just left the hospital. Apparently she had an asthma attack. She told me her story and I just listened. My heart really went out to her. I told her that I hoped she would get better. Before I turned around to walk in the store, I noticed a Hispanic man walking toward the store. He opened the door for me. I couldn’t help but notice he was wearing a beautiful cross rosary around his neck. I got my things and walked up to the counter. The man was in line behind me. I asked the clerk if she knew if the woman outside was homeless. She wasn’t sure but said she comes around a lot. I told the clerk I felt sorry for that woman and wanted to buy her something to eat. The clerk was a little taken aback. I had several people behind me waiting to pay. I just explained that I wanted to buy the woman something to eat if she was homeless which is why I was inquiring. The clerk shared she didn’t really know but what she did know is often the woman would sit outside until she had enough money to buy a pack of cigarettes. I told the clerk I wasn’t willing to buy cigarettes but was happy to buy whatever food they had in their deli case. She handed me a pizza pocket. The man wearing the cross rosary said “Maam.maam” I turned around thinking he might be irritated because I was holding up the line. Instead he said “Maam that is a really nice thing for you to do. I wish I could help her too” he showed me the money he had in his hand. It was only enough to get fuel.
I paid the clerk however I was surprised that she didn’t even charge me for the pizza pocket. I took the pizza pocket and walked outside and handed it to the woman. She told me she was trying to figure out how she was going to eat this week. Wow. My heart sank again. I felt the tears build up. I simply said “well for now you don’t have to worry. You now have something to eat.” She was very grateful.
I’m sharing not for accolades, rather to share how God uses people to make a difference. He also can use one person to touch the lives of many. That homeless woman touched my heart. I felt inclined to buy her food. The man wearing the cross rosary was touched by my act of kindness. The clerks heart was open too. She didn’t charge me for the food. In short, each of our lives was touched by a woman who was sitting on a bench and had the courage to say hi despite her circumstances. I’m not sure what the miracle was but for me it was awesome to help someone but at the same time fill the hearts of others.
The last 24 hours have been rather challenging for me. In truth, there’s a part of my heart that’s broken. However, I’ve been praying really hard for strength and healing. Sometimes life throws us curveballs that aren’t necessarily comfortable. Despite it all we still have to keep moving.
Tonight I was on my way home from a meeting. I looked toward the Cascade Mountains and found myself in awe when I saw this beautiful sunset. It reminded me of the words Father Michael once told during one of his homilies at St Dominic’s in San Francisco.
Father Michael shared that when things in our life aren’t going as planned it’s important to remind ourselves “Something Wonderful Is About To Happen”. As I looked at this sunset and took these photos those words that I have held close to my heart for several years came to mind reminding me “Something Wonderful Is About To Happen”. I can’t say for sure that something wonderful is about to happen but what I do know is God really does exist. Maybe this sunset that took my breath away was just a reminder that no matter the circumstances he’s with me and everything is going to be ok. I hope so any way
St. Catherine of Siena
Today is the feast day of St. Catherine of Siena, patroness of Italy (and Europe in general) and fire prevention, and one of the Church’s most beloved saints.
“Though she lived her life in a faith experience and spirituality far different from that of our own time, Catherine of Siena stands as a companion with us on the Christian journey in her undivided effort to invite the Lord to take flesh in her own life. Events which might make us wince or chuckle or even yawn fill her biographies: a mystical experience at six, childhood betrothal to Christ, stories of harsh asceticism, her frequent ecstatic visions. Still, Catherine lived in an age which did not know the rapid change of 21st-century mobile America. The value of her life for us today lies in her recognition of holiness as a goal to be sought over the course of a lifetime.”
–commentary from Saint of the Day
This is so true. I’ll never forget when I was in San Francisco. My ex had been so awful. To the point I cried profusely. I left the house and went to my church and prayed at the altar. On the way home I was angry at God. Even yelling at him. I stopped at a convenience store before going back home. As I walked in, an older man walked in behind me. As we walked towards the back he suddenly said “I want you to know God heard you tonight”. I looked at him and said “excuse me”. He said “God saw who hurt you tonight and made you cry. He wants you to know he will deal with him but he also wants you to know he has a plan for you. Everything is going to be alright”. I was so taken aback. He told me God had a plan for me. He said don’t worry about the person who hurt you. God will deal with him but as for you he has a plan and everything is going to be ok. I began to cry. This stranger put one arm around me and raised his other arm in the air and said “St Catherine of Sienna I ask you to intercede for this woman tonight. May you offer her the same gift you offered me years ago!” I looked at him and asked “Are you Catholic?” He answered “we are all Catholic”. He went on to share a story when he was in Europe and was down and out. He prayed even praying to St. Catherine of Sienna asking her to pray for him. A miracle happened. He prayed that I too would receive the same gift of a miracle he received that time.
Now you might wonder who this man was. I have no idea. He was just a business man who was lost in the city. He had google map on his iPad and wanted to ask the store clerk questions. Before he left he said “I’m so glad I walked in here tonight. God bless you.” He walked out and got in to his Mercedes and drove away.
I probably will never forget this night. They say God speaks to you through people. I have always been grateful he spoke to me through a stranger that night.
Most of us aren’t likely to betray anyone to a death squad. But as we meditate on the events of the Passion, we might reﬂect on the times we’ve betrayed a trust, the times we’ve talked about someone behind their back, the times we’ve stayed silent when a friend has been ridiculed. Resolve to keep silent when tempted to gossip and to speak out when others are gossiping. That sounds like a challenge, doesn’t it? It is. Pray for the grace to meet it.
—from the book The Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis by Diane M. Houdek
Dating God does not require a hermitage any more than taking a spouse on a date requires a special destination. Solitude comes when we create the space and set aside the time to enter more deeply into the mystery that is the very Love that gives us life and meaning. It can be found in the quiet of the morning before the busy day, in the ten minute walk at lunch, or in the restful moments before bed. Just as with creating time and space to be alone with another person, creating time and space for solitude is more about intentionality and the desire to be fully present in the moment than it is about being in this or that location. While solitude may appear scary at first, confronting that fear is perhaps the first step to deepening one’s relationship with God. Just as the prospect of learning more about another person or ourselves can be daunting, the reward comes in the connection that is formed when two know each other in the openness of an intimate friendship. Going into the created space and time set aside for solitude is going on a date with God.
—from Dating God: Live and Love in the Way of St. Francis
Food is a symbol of our gratitude to God and our mutual appreciation for one another. It is a commodity to share as well as an expression of how much we care. Feeding the hungry is a virtue that must never be forgotten, dining with friends a value we cherish all the more. It is good to celebrate those moments—rare as they may be—where companionship around the table becomes a form of communion, where fantastic food seals friendships, where our vitality and our spirituality truly “wine and dine” together.
—from the book Table of Plenty: Good Food for Body and Spirit