In celebration of the release of Pope Francis’s book, The Church of Mercy, several of our dotMagis bloggers will be sharing reflections this month based on the words of Pope Francis.
In Pope Francis’s 2013 Pentecost homily, he challenged us, “Let us ask ourselves today: are we open to ‘God’s surprises’?” When our hearts are open, and we are able to get beyond the fear of change and submit ourselves to God’s plan—even when it seems to conflict with our own plans—amazing things can happen. Amazing things like my husband finding God.
One of my favorite surprises from God came while I was dating the man who would later become my husband. He had called me one day to set up a date, and in scheduling I mentioned I had to get to Mass that day first. When he responded that he’d love to go with me, I was speechless (I am never speechless, though many of my friends surely wish that I was). We hadn’t been dating long, but I did know this was not a guy who had set foot in a Catholic Church. What on earth was this guy up to? I was suspicious, but something inside me told me to let him come. After all, I couldn’t tell him he couldn’t come to church, right?
My husband will tell you that he just wanted to spend time with me and figured that if that meant having to go to church to do it, then he would endure it. He’ll also tell you what a surprise it was to him that we didn’t just kneel and chant Latin stuff for hours on end. He actually enjoyed it, and he’s been going to Mass with me ever since.
I think God loves a good surprise as much as anyone, and it can be a fun way of revealing His plan for us. I am still amused when I think of how God used my husband’s attempt to get a date with me as a means to bring him into the Church. God is truly a God of wonderful surprises (even the wonderfully scary ones He sometimes sends). Yes, indeed, let’s open our hearts to God’s surprises, because God knows the wonderful places they might take us.
How has God surprised you?