Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How God Speaks to Us

God is very faithful and will always tell you what He wants you to hear, we just have to be open to what He says and how He sends His message.  For our family, he has to use a wide variety of ways because we aren't always open to his subtle ways.  Sometimes He has to get creative.  Many of you have heard or read about our "billboard" from God to become foster parents, our "flyer" from God to go a mission trip, my "text message" from God calming my fears regarding our son. Lately, He has been trying to tell us something, but we can't quite seem to get the clear message.  Our ears and eyes are open; we just haven't opened up our hearts to completely yet. 

During our family mission trip to Mexico, we began to seriously ponder whether our family was being called to be full time missionaries and decided that we would pray about it more when we returned home.  The first Sunday back in our home parish, we were reminded of that promise when the the gospel was proclaimed. (Matthew 28: 16-20)  "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations...."  I looked up at Travis, and we got the giggles. This was the verse we had heard many times during our trip.  We knew that was our reminder to pray about being missionaries.

Since then we have been praying individually and as a family about what God is calling our family to do.  After several weeks of prayer, there's no doubt we are being called to a mission of some kind. We have all had the word mission or missionary come up numerous times in our daily lives even when not in prayer.  We have been led to pick up random prayer cards, read random books, or randomly open the Bible to find things such as:  "follow me, proclaim the Gospel to all nations, feed my sheep, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, trust in the Lord, etc."

While trying to figure out what all these subtle things were trying to lead us to, I received an email from www.praymorenovenas.com.  St. Anthony's feast day was approaching, and the email was inviting me to participate in a novena to St. Anthony.   I knew that St. Anthony had interceded for me many times when I had lost something.  I hadn't lost anything, but I decided to specifically asking for his intercession regarding our family's mission.  After all we were "lost" about what we were to do.

This is what I read on St. Anthony's feast day, the day after the novena ended.

These two readings definitely confirmed that God was going to be calling us to something new once again.  I think He likes turning our life upside down when we get too comfortable.  It's His way of calling us into a closer relationship with Him. But this still didn't quite confirm the whole foreign mission thing for us.  So, we continued to pray for another more specific sign. 

A week later during our weekly family Holy Hour at the Adoration chapel, my husband who normally just reads his Bible during our hour, picked up a random book off the shelf and began to read it.  He kept looking my way and grinning, so I leaned over to see what he was reading.  The book was called Six Ways to Pray from Six Great Saints.  It began with the story of St. Francis of Assisi and how he gave up all to follow God's call to be a missionary.  It went on to talk about how each of these saints prayed to know God's will and how they gave up everything to bring Christ to others.  And so we began to pray harder.

The next week our family was torn between two different events on the same night.  One was at our home church parish.  The other was at the Family Missions Company in Abbeville.  We debated back and forth trying to figure out where we were "supposed" to be.  At the last minute Travis decides that we need to attend the Catholicism session at our home parish.  The kids were a little disappointed.  They feel that we are being called to be missionaries and think the more we go to FMC the more convinced Dad will be.

I try to reason with them and tell them that if we are to be missionaries then we must know our faith.  That this was in His plans for us tonight.  That we had to be open to whatever He was calling us to do even if it wasn't to be foreign missionaries.  We drive over to the Church hall still discussing what God is calling us as a family to do.  I said a quick prayer upon arriving for God move in all our hearts and for us to be open to what we will hear and learn.  

We were each given a prayer card that we would all say together for the opening prayer.  We didn't pay much attention to it until Father began and we read the first line aloud.   Immediately, we began to smile.  Remember that reoccurring verse?  "...proclaim the Gospel to all the nations."  Chuckling followed as we read aloud "...mission guided by the Holy Spirit..." and "so that we...might be worthy missionaries...".  The chuckles then turned into giggles as we continued with "make us valiant witnesses...help us to communicate to others the joy we have received...permit us to be humble, but not fearful..."  The uncontrollable giggling came when we read "St. Therese, Patroness of Missionaries, Pray for us!"

Yes, we know this doesn't necessarily mean pack up, sell everything, and become foreign missionaries.  But in light of all of our prayers and recent conversations especially the one we had just had before arriving at this event, it sounded like it was written just for our family at that moment. And so we began to pray more fervently about our family's mission.

This weekend our parish church had a relic of Blessed Mother Teresa and a large exhibit of her life in the parish center.  After praying during Mass for her intercession to know what our family's mission is, we were able to go up and venerate her relic.  I once again prayed for a clear answer to what God has been calling our family to do.  We crossed the street to view the exhibit and naturally found poster after poster talking about her call to missions, her missionary journey, and the people she ministered too along with numerous quotes that spoke right to my heart.  I had read her story before and seen many of the pictures numerous times, but this time it made my heart race with excitement and fear.  And standing in front of the giant missionary poster I begged God for another sign.

Later that same evening we headed to our family Holy Hour.  This time the spirit led me to read Ruth.  I began reading about how Naomi, Ruth, and Orpah's husbands all died.  I look over at my husband and then at Jesus.  Umm....I'm not liking this scripture.  But I continued on to read how Ruth followed Naomi to a foreign land instead of heading back to her own country where she would have been "more comfortable."  I began to think about how she would have felt going to a foreign country.  She surrendered her own comforts to care for her mother-in-law.  Her willingness to surrender to the unknown and sacrifice for another, led her to become an ancestor of the Messiah.  This, of course, led me right back to thoughts of how foreign missionaries are called out of their country to put others first and how blessed they are in return for following God's call.

So, once again, before the Blessed Sacrament, I begged for more "signs" for me and for my husband.  I begged for a clear answer for myself and for him.  Again, I heard, "Feed my sheep."  And again I asked, "What sheep? Where are they? Who are they?" as the doorbell rang signaling our hour was up.  We left and headed for The Rocket Drive Inn for our traditional Sunday night ice cream.  I checked my phone messages and opened up Facebook while waiting for my dipped cone.  This is the first picture I see on Facebook. 

Anyone know where this was taken?  I'm pretty sure it's the sheep I'm suppose to feed! God is so humorous at times especially when we don't listen well!

1 comment:

  1. God has a funny sense of humor ;)