The devil has a way of getting into our lives and messing with us. I’m guessing I’m like most people, and often don’t even recognize when the devil is messing with me. Three years ago, God asked me to start a program for Catholics that have left the church. God started with a comment made by a presenter at a parish Lenten program. Then, working through a friend of mine, God asked me again. Then God spoke up a bit and gave me a very clear vision of what He wanted me to do. And I still did nothing. Finally, after almost a year of God asking, I said yes.
And God provided the resources needed to develop a program – from volunteers to help, resource material, everything needed to get the program started. And we started. And we’ve had a number of people attend the six week series. But many times, getting ready for those Tuesday evening sessions, I would struggle. Questioning myself, why I am doing this. I’ve got a job. I’ve got a family. I’ve got things I want to do. And then I get an email like this one, from someone that had attended the last series.
Greg-just wanted to share my good news. I went to see Father a week ago Friday and he listened to my spiritual problems for an hour or so. At the end of that time I felt as though a brick had been lifted from my heart. He said no, of course God won’t throw me out on my ear because I have a problem believing in Him. He said if I’m truly doing my best to believe and I’m trying to live my life as though I do, angels can’t do any better. He also dealt with my issues with the Church, and when we were through I asked him to hear my confession. Which he did. I received communion for the first time in 45 years or so on the following Sunday and I can’t tell you how happy it has made me. And it’s all because of you!
Wow, that is one of the best affirmations I’ve ever received. And it helped me recognize that all those times I was doubting, I was questioning what I was doing, as I struggled with preparing for those Tuesday evenings, that was the devil messing with me, feeding my doubts, trying to trip me up. But God continues to provide me with what I need, refreshing and inspiring me to continue, by using another person, to remind me of what truly is important in my life – doing God’s will.
And the letter continues.
Greg, thank you again for your empathy and kindness and understanding-and the faith that just radiates from you. You are truly doing the work of the Lord. When you go before the Heavenly Gates, I’ll bet St. Peter will say “By golly, I think you’ve brought more people into the church than I did! (An exaggeration, maybe, but surely something along those lines.)
Again, wow. But it really isn’t me. Sure, I finally did say yes to God, and did what was asked of me. But so did many others. There are many people that played a part of this person’s journey back to the Church. From those in my parish that identified this need. To the core team that met on a regular basis for almost a year to pray together, learn together, selected a program together, assembled materials together. To the support of our parishes not only financially, but also spiritually. For the excellent presenters. Even to all of our families, including the spouse of this individual. But probably most importantly, to the wonderful priests we have in our diocese, who can administer the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist.
I do hope and pray and try to do my best so that one day I may be able to met St. Peter, face to face. And when that day comes, it will be a joyous day, not because of anything I achieved. Instead, because I will be surround by many people, all who played a part in not only this persons return to faith and God, but many others also. And St. Peter will be talking to all of us.