The last time God placed a book upon my heart to read, it changed my life, literally! My mom had been hinting for YEARS that I needed to read Pierced by a Sword. The hints, however, fell on deaf ears. About 5 years ago, grace came in, led me to the downstairs bookshelf at my parent's house, and encouraged me to skim through it. "Amazing grace...how sweet [it is], that saved a wretch like me!" I am not sure why I listened to grace that day, but I am very glad I did.
I knew Bud Macfarlane had written sequels, but I was not interested in reading them...until now. Grace encouraged me again, this time to read Conceived Without Sin, the next book in the series. It only took me a couple weeks to get the book from the library and start reading (compared with many years for the first book). I had planned on reading it during my trip to the Jersey shore, but plans changed. Plans may have changed, but the urge to read had not ceased. Instead of reading it at the beach, I read it on the train to & from work. Tonight I finished it.
When I was in undergrad at OSU, I would hang out with other students who attended the Newman Center and TNT (Tuesday Night Together). There was one friend in particular, L.D.. When we got together, we would get into very deep, almost theological discussions. We would often talk about the future and God's plan for us. Both of us had this overwhelming sense that we would not live our full lives (50+ years). We were unsure whether we would die due to disease, accident, or something else, but it was the 'something else' that really caught our attention and stuck with us. Martyrdom was not out of the question. We did know that our Faith in God would always be with us and His grace would lead the way. Since then, I could sense the connectedness of humanity (thus my love for the Confiteor at Mass).
Conceived without Sin brought this "intuitive feeling" back to the forefront. It reminded me how fragile life is and how much we need to rely on each other, whether that would be through physical company, conversations, or prayer. We may not always be certain of what is happening or why, but our trust in God, fully knowing that He is in control, will never lead us astray.
Recently I have been reflecting on why certain people have entered my life. For instance, Fr. V. was scheduled to leave St. Clare a year ago, why did the Bishop want him to stay another year? Had his assignment lasted the original length, I would have never met him. One person...just one person played an intrigal part in my life. Without the guidance of this Priest, I would not have continued to learn more about our Faith. I would not have had the encouragement to join an Order. I would not have begun blogging. I would not have met some wonderful, solid Catholics. I would not have my spiritual director. This is just one person. I have met thousands through work, riding the bus or the train, buying my house, going to Church in Euclid & then in Lyndhurst. And I am just one person upon whom he has had an impact. What kind of impact have others made on my life, or more importantly, what kind of impact have I made on theirs?
Some people that I have connected with, I intrinsically know that I will need in the future, or they will need me. For whatever reason, God has brought us together, although we live STATES apart!
Since I fully returned to the Church 4 years ago, one prayer continues to stay on my heart..."Lord, prepare me for who YOU want me to become. Prepare me for what is to come. Prepare me to do YOUR will." What I was not expecting was the grace I received, the rapid changes that would take effect, or the intense learning that I would absorb.
My trust is in the Lord. [He] has brought me here thus far....and [He] will lead me home.