I want to share about a special day that happened back in January. It was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and that morning the Novice Mistress, Mother Jeanette Marie, received a mysterious phone call in which she had the biggest smile on her face. A few moments later, the doorbell rings, and she asked one of us sisters in formation to answer the door (which is strange because usually if she is near the door, she answers it). I approach the door and to my surprise I see the head of a very tall man through the window. It was my close friend (and a friend of the community), Daniel! I shouted at the top of my lungs as I opened the door. Of course, everyone came to see why I was screaming in excitement, and they soon joined in the loud greeting! If the day couldn’t get any better, our mutual friend Claude (who is a teacher at our school Our Lady of Mount Carmel) had already planned to come over to the convent that day to record a song with the novices and postulants, so you can only guess how shocked Claude was when he arrived to find his friend Daniel sitting on the couch in the convent community room! That day of surprises was filled and received with great joy! It was a gift to spend time with my brothers in Christ.
That special day was a wonderful surprise, but sometimes surprises aren’t so wonderful. For example, I am learning that one of the less wonderful surprises in the convent is when “my time” is taken away because of unexpected occurrences and circumstances. But all surprises are given by God. God gave me the surprise of my friend Daniel coming, but He also gave me the surprise of taking me away from “my time” of doing what “I want.” All surprises require a response to the grace present in the moment. With Daniel’s surprise, I accepted it with great joy, but with the surprise of “my time” taken away, I tend to reject it with sore and stubborn pride. But this is not my time to take but rather to give totally to God and to serve my community.
God tends to surprise us the more we follow Him. They come in all sorts of sizes: big, small, occasional, and/or daily. Sometimes we like the surprises. Other times we don’t appreciate a particular surprise of grace and just want to immediately reject it, complain, and have a grumpy face about it. How easily do we forget that whatever the Lord gives is meant to bring us closer in relationship with Him? We must not take for granted the delightful surprises nor must we be closed off to the unpleasant ones. Rather, we must respond to God’s grace in all surprises with great faith, hope, and praise. We must totally trust Him and choose Him.
As we begin this season of Lent, many surprises will come our way. Let us cling to Our Mother, Mary, who accepted the biggest surprise of human history. May she teach us to respond to God’s grace in union with His will. Mary, Holy Mother of God, teach us to receive the grace of God with humility and charity. Most Holy Trinity, give us a pure heart of love.
God of surprises, have mercy on us.
Our Lady of Mercy, pray for us.
“Accept whatever He gives, and give whatever He takes with a big smile. You belong to Him. Tell Him, I am Yours, and if You cut me to pieces, every single piece will be only all Yours.” (Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta)
Side note: Here is the link to the song we covered with Claude David! Take a listen! 🙂 Good Good Father