I don’t know about you, but the old cliché, “the devil is in the details,” really bugs me. Why? Because the truth of the matter is that the Truth, as in Jesus, our Lord and Savior, is the one who is in the details. As it says in Luke 12:7, “every hair on your head is counted.” It’s something to really ponder and pray about especially during Holy Week.
Maybe your Lent hasn’t been as spiritually fulfilling as you had hoped. Maybe you haven’t hit the prayer or Scripture reading goals you set for yourself. Maybe you’re struggling with fear and doubt given the news out of Belgium regarding yet more terrorist attacks. The great thing about Jesus is that He is the God of first, second, third chances, and then some. His mercy is indeed new every morning. So here is an idea or an activity for you. As we move toward the Triduum this Holy Week, try to put aside that doubt and fear, and fill yourself with the love of God. You can start by thinking about how Jesus has revealed Himself to you. Think about the intricate details of the many encounters, or as I like to call them Godcidences, you’ve had over the years. I am sure there are many times where these encounters have been little miracles filled with details that only the good Lord can arrange.
Let me give you a recent example of this from my own daily walk with Jesus. Last week, I wrapped up another taping of my EWTN show, The Catholic View for Women, in Birmingham, Alabama. After several days of intense studio time, my co-hosts Janet Morana and Astrid Bennet Gutierrez, along with our Pastoral Advisor, Fr. Frank Pavone, always like to share a celebratory meal together. We gathered in the lobby of our hotel for a quick toast before heading off to dinner. During our time of fellowship in the hotel, we were approached by a very nice man from Texas who was in Birmingham on business. He overheard our conversation about the show and started asking questions about EWTN. He was very enthusiastic, and although he said he no longer worshipped in the Catholic Church, he still loves the Church and considers himself to be Catholic. Then he told us the amazing story about his aunt, Sister Dorothy Stang, who was martyred back in 2005 during her years of dedicated missionary work with the indigenous farming communities in Brazil. He could not stop talking about his beautiful aunt. When Sister Dorothy was gunned down by the ranchers (men who were threatened by her efforts to educate the people and unionize the farmers) she was actually reading Scripture to them.
We wrapped up our conversation by telling Sister Stang’s nephew more about EWTN and encouraging him to pray about coming back to the Church. On the way to the restaurant we marveled at the encounter. What were the chances? We just happened to be in the lobby along with this man who was just traveling through on business, and we hear about this powerful story of love and self-sacrifice? Were we put there in this little hotel in Birmingham, Alabama to learn more about Dorothy Stang, or to help her nephew find his way home to Rome or both? If that weren’t enough, a few days later while looking over the latest copy of my Word Among Us daily devotional, I came across an article about, you guessed it, Sister Dorothy Stang. The piece entitled, Not Buried, Planted: The Martyrdom of Sister Dorothy Stang, was written by Kathryn Elliott, an editor at Word Among Us.
To say that I was stunned by the coincidence, or Godcidence rather, would be as another cliché to reminds us “the understatement of the century.” I sat there in my living room stunned by the fact I was reading an article about Sister Dorothy Stang just days after meeting her nephew in a hotel lobby in Birmingham, Alabama.
Again, I don’t know what I am supposed to do with this latest very detailed encounter. Maybe it’s just an affirmation for me that I am supposed to share with you. Maybe it’s something more. I will keep praying about it. In the meantime, this Holy Week remember that no matter how spiritually productive your Lent has or hasn’t been, God loves you so much that He really is in the details. Think about this. Pray about His omnipotence.
Happy Holy Week and a blessed Easter to you and yours.