A perfect testament on how prayer is sometimes not answered in the way we long for comes from Marcus Grodi, a former pastor and convert to Catholicism, in Surprised by Truth, a book by Patrick Madrid. Grodi writes,
“Sitting quietly in the middle of a dew-covered field waiting for the sun to come up, I read Scripture and meditated on these questions that had been troubling me, placing my worries before the Lord. The Bible warned me not to ‘lean unto my own understanding,’ so I determined to trust in God to guide me.”
He was contemplating three options, leaving the pastorate, taking a position he had been offered as head of a youth ministry, or leave ministry all together and go back to engineering. He mulled over these options asking God to guide his steps. He wanted some tangible sign, something that informed him of God’s direction for him in his life. The quiet moment ended abruptly as a bird flew by and pooped on his head. He was disgusted, closed his Bible and left for home. Was this a divine sign or nature’s way of saying there would be no response from heaven.
Later that day when he told his wife what had transpired she laughed and stated in wisdom “The meaning is clear, Marcus. God is saying, ‘None of the above!’”
He would have preferred a less humiliating sign but realized nothing occurs by accident. Grodi concluded, “I took this as at least a comical hint from God to remain at the ministry.” The situation had been quelled but not solved. The questions that he grappled with eventually led him to discover the Catholic Church and find Jesus at the Eucharist.
“In the designs of Providence there are no mere coincidences,” said Pope John Paul II in 1982 on the first anniversary of the assassination attempt that came within millimeters of ending his life.
I know a woman who, whenever she sees an amazing site in nature, says it’s “God showing off.” Well once again this year with the arrival of the Aurora-Borealis, spectators are awed and inspired. Check out the amazing sites from this year’s Aurora-Borealis here:
Over 150 years ago, a Belgium immigrant woman had three visions of the Virgin Mary and built a shrine. The Catholic Church has issued a decree that the apparition is authentic and “worthy of belief.” “This is an affirmation of the spiritual fruits the people of God have received for 151 years,” Father John Doefler, the shrine’s rector and the vicar general and chancellor of the diocese, said of the bishop’s decree. “It opens the door for future spiritual growth.”
“I am the Queen of Heaven who prays for the conversion of sinners.” said the Virgin Mary to Adele Brise, on October 9, 1859. Our Lady ended by telling Adele, whose faith was strong but simple, to fear nothing and be confident in her help. For the next thirty-seven years of her life, until her death in 1896, Sister Adele Brise was faithful to this mission even through tremendous strife. Today healings and answered prayers are coming from the Virgin Mary where the shrine stands in Robinson, (now Champion) Wisconsin. – read full story
To visit The Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, go here.
Prayer is always valued by our God. Prayer is mystical and isn’t always answered in the way we desire. Author of International bestseller Eternal Echos, John O’Donohue, writes “Prayer is never wasted. It always brings transformation. When you really want something and you do not receive it, you tend to believe that your prayer was not answered. Such a prayer has a powerful intentionality; and it is true that sometimes your prayer is not answered in this direct way. You do not receive what you long for. Unknown to you, that prayer has secretly worked on another aspect of the situation and effected a transfiguration which may become visible only at a later stage. Unknown to you, prayer is always at the service of destiny. Your days and ways are never simply as they appear on the surface. Human vision is always limited and selective, and you never see the whole picture. The Providence that weaves your days and sees the greater horizon and knows what your life needs in order for you to come fully to birth as the person you are called to be. Prayer refines you, so you may become worthy of your possibility and destiny. The irony of being here is that sometimes it is precisely what you want to avoid that brings you further toward creativity and compassion. The intensity of rejection is the index of need.”
So yesterday was the winter solstice, also known as the darkest day of the year. This maybe isn’t such a happy thought, except for the fact that it also marks the moment when each day going forward gets longer. Another example of God working in mysterious ways, and a reminder that it’s always darkest before the light.