By Judith Costello
What good are a few simple words and ordinary gestures? Amazingly, God can use anything we offer to make something wonderful happen. We just have to do our part and trust.
If we pay closer attention to the God-stuff that is happening all around us then we’ll be doing what St. Paul said, “Take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:5)
Here are a few of those momentous God-moments!
The first example: I was a strayed Catholic for 25 years. But one day my husband and I entered a Catholic Church to see about sending our young children to Sunday school. The choir began singing, “Come back to me with all your heart…” It wasn’t sung by a magnificent choir — just simple words and a simple melody. But in that moment God came and tapped on the door of my heart. The choir members didn’t know they were God’s instrument! One lady was off key. But they issued a challenge directly to me and I returned to the Church with my family!
Example 2: Several years later, the children and I went to a communal penance service. Peter, 11, was tired and sore after an intense football practice. He didn’t want to be at church. But, as the priests processed out to go to their places after being introduced, a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal made himself known to us. Father Robert tapped Peter on the head. Even though his eyes were red and half closed, he could see. He chuckled and pointed to the back of church. “That’s you on the painting back there,” he said. “That’s you!”
Peter had been my model for a banner about Jesus blessing the children. The friendly friar recognized him in the artwork, in spite of his eye impairment. When Peter went to see him for confession, the friar called Peter a “leprechaun.” He challenged Peter to spend 10 minutes a day reading the Bible! And Peter liked the challenge. He’s been reading the Bible almost every day for seven years! Fr. Robert saw something with an inner vision. He died just a couple of years after that.
Example 3: My daughter and her friend were altar servers at a weekday Mass. Father said he was going to address the sermon to them. He turned from the ambo and said, “Don’t just do your work to get the grade. Dedicate every project to God and give it your all. We are thanking him by our actions. That is what it really means to earn a 100 percent.”
Brigit absorbed everything the priest said and made a poster about it. She brought it to church the next day in an envelope marked, “Feedback on your sermon: How to get a perfect grade every time.”
Father had touched deeply.
But the rest of Father’s sermon is really what this essay is all about…
The reading of the day was on the miracle of the Loaves and the Fishes. Jesus could have fed that crowd of thousands with a simple blink of his eyes. Instead, he asked the disciples, “What do you have to contribute?” They brought him everything they could find. It wasn’t much and they surely couldn’t see how it would be useful.
Still, the followers of Jesus did their part.
And God made a miracle happen.
Such transforming miracles happen every day. The credit goes to God. But the simple actions of trust and goodness are our responsibility. It’s time we paid closer attention to the command, “Take every thought captive for Christ.”
(Judith Costello, OCDS, is a freelance writer who grew up in Davenport and now lives in rural New Mexico. Her website is www.thedailychristian.com.)