While some may consider strange occurrences in the world as coincidence - I definitely prescribe to what I refer to as the GODCIDENCE mindset! Why wouldn't the God of the universe, who created me out of love, not also want to show himself to me -- especially when I am seeking!! "Seek and ye shall find!"
Today's godcidence is brought to you by the letter J for JOY!! Though when this all began to fall into place, one would have never seen joy as the end result. Late Saturday night I received a private message on Facebook to pray for a young man who had been in a serious accident. I prayed, but went rather quickly back to my reading - feeling confident that all would be fine. The next morning I learned, sadly he did not make it. My heart ached for the family's great loss; but also within those emotions was great shame and guilt for not praying harder. If it had been my son; I would have gone to my knees to beg God's mercy - regardless of my being at a hotel and a seriously germaphobic! Yet, for this young man who we knew but had not seen in many years, I did not.
Where is the joy? It was lost as I sat Sunday afternoon in sadness and wondering, in my often egocentric way, what could I have changed if I had put more time and energy into my prayer. Did I let that family down by being lazy in my offerings that night before. In my despair, I scoured the book shelf for guidance on what my responsibility in prayer truly is. What did Jesus teach, and did I let them down by failing to meet that obligation. This is not the first time I have been faced with this feeling after being asked to pray; and I did not want to revisit it again - but longed to settle my heart and avoid future suffering (all around). After reviewing the scriptures - the Lord's prayer and Jesus prayer on the night before his Crucifixion, my heart began to settle first realizing how arrogant my train of thought had traveled. Not that I couldn't pray a bit longer or more diligently next time - like the widow at the judge's window - but part of living a life of faith is knowing that a life surrendered to God is one that is also a never ending prayer to him.
So the godcidence part ... and the connection to joy. Into my hands, without my seeking, landed the Joy of the Gospel by Pope Francis. I had not opened it in a few years. I leaved through unsure what this document would provide in answer to my question about prayer ... until this:
Intercession is like a “leaven” in the heart of the Trinity.
Today I looked at which ingredient for holiness from Pope Francis' teachings, Debbie Guadino, had listed for this week of our summer series - #Recipe4Holiness. YOU could have knocked me over with a feather, as they say, when I saw it was JOY!! Especially when I had just finished praying to my Guardian Angel for inspiration on what to write about! She must have giggled to herself knowing what I was about to discover!! The JOY comes when I am able to recognize that despite my shortcomings, self-centered behavior, and abundant weaknesses (including sloth in prayer) - GOD IS always near! He hears me, and answers according to his plan for each of us. While the Scriptures show us examples of persistent prayer seemingly changing God's mind - prayer is always good and how those are answered are always for our good. Prayer brings me closer to the heart of Christ - no matter how long or brief - and every encounter with Jesus changes me forever. The circumstances may not change or the answer may break my heart - as long as I have turned to him in that need, I know I have prayed enough. There is no happiness in this situation; many tears will be cried over the all too early loss of this young man; yet my faith reminds me that God hears the prayers of the lowly and mourning - and he will turn their sorrow into joy. JOY can never be taken - and it is this joy in the Lord that will be our strength.
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016
For More Ingredients ... Visit Debbie Guadino at Saints 365