Sometimes God winks at us, a little knowing wink that says, I see you. Sometimes God whispers in our heart saying, I am right here holding your hand. And sometimes God lets loose with a celebration of trumpets sounding, banners waving and fireworks lighting up the sky saying, I LOVE YOU! You’ve got this! I’m so proud of you! Trust me!
Years ago, when I worked in an office, I would periodically go to noon Mass with my Catholic co-workers who were dear friends. (I am not Catholic.) Invariably it was during a time when I was stressed, in transition or feeling confused. Every time, every time, the brief ten minute homily was a message that brought me peace and clarity and seemed to be directed right at me; as if the priest had talked to me the day before and planned his words to help me.
Yesterday, this same thing happened at my regular church. This is significant because in recent weeks I have not connected at all with the message being offered in my church, and at times have been actually turned off by it. This Sunday was different, very different.
The sermon felt as if it was written specifically for me to hear on this, the first Sunday after I’d publicly declared my human weakness in the face of alcohol. This, the first Sunday after I’d taken God’s hand and said I can only do this with You.
The essence of the sermon is this:
Love will heal you and give you eternal life. God is Love. God allows us to make choices every day. They are choices that Test us each time. If we choose the evil, dark choice, a little bit at a time it gets easier and easier to make that choice. Darkness becomes a poison. God always provides one more choice regardless of how toxic our life has become. He always provides one choice that looks different from the one we have been making. What matters is that we choose God’s LOVE for our salvation and stop relying on our own sense of direction. We stop our destructive behaviors and choose love, one step at a time.
Yes, the priest said those words, one step at a time. I wrote them down. Now, if you were me, wouldn’t you think this was being directed at you? (p.s. I have not confided in him about my current journey!) The sermon ended with this parable that is known in many forms-
A grandfather, talking with his grandson, says there are two wolves inside each of us which are always at war with each other. One of them is a good wolf which represents things like kindness, bravery and love. The other is a bad wolf, which represents things like greed, hatred and fear.
The grandson stops and thinks about it for a second then he looks up at his grandfather and says, “Grandfather, which one wins?”
The grandfather quietly replies, the one you feed. -AUTHOR UNKOWN
I know which wolf I will feed, today, tomorrow and always, the good wolf. It will not be easy. It will be hard, especially as the bad wolf feels more and more neglected and he becomes sneakier in his effort to be fed. But each day, one moment, at a time, I will stay strong.
Oh, and thank you God for the Celebration!