HomedotMagisReflectionsNoticing the Invitations

Noticing the Invitations


I stepped out of the car and found myself wrestling my raincoat away from the wind. Through the driving rain, something in the corner of my stairs caught my eye. Was it old leaves? Inching closer, I saw that it was a tiny, shivering sparrow, its feathers flattened by the rain. It didn’t budge, even as my foot settled onto the step on which it huddled. Not a good sign. I wanted to scoop it up and let it warm up inside the house, but I knew this wouldn’t be best for the bird. So, instead, I hurried inside and grabbed a handful of birdseed, another handful of shredded coconut fiber that my son had leftover from a project, and a soda capful of orange juice. I slowly descended the stairs. With bowed head, the bird peered at me through wide eyes but still didn’t move an inch. I gently placed the pile of coconut fiber on the step between the bird and the house and the pile of birdseed and capful of orange juice right below its beak. I said a prayer as I went back inside, leaving it in God’s hands.

The sparrow came to mind again as I revisited Matthew 10:29–31: “Aren’t two sparrows sold for only a penny? But your Father knows when any one of them falls to the ground. Even the hairs on your head are counted. So don’t be afraid! You are worth much more than many sparrows.”

If sparrows were sold today, I suppose we might say that they would be “a dime a dozen.” Yet God knows when even one “falls to the ground”—or my stairs. This passage paints the picture of a Creator who is intimately involved in creation, a Creator who cares enough not just to set creation in motion but also to see each creature lovingly through its life. By extension, we can assume that God sees even the tiniest things we do for God’s creatures, big and small—not just the newsworthy events but even the little blips in our days. Our days are filled with opportunities to interact with God through creation.

I went back outside about a half-hour later. The bird had moved into the pile of husk, eaten some seed, and drank most of the juice. It was much more alert. A couple of hours later, it was gone.

St. Ignatius said, “All the things in this world are gifts of God, presented to us so that we can know God more easily and make a return of love more readily. As a result, we appreciate and use all these gifts of God insofar as they help us develop as loving persons.” (Principle and Foundation, Fleming translation) God put that sparrow in my path so that I could “know God more easily and make a return of love more readily.”

Our days are filled with these little gifts and invitations from our Creator. How often do we notice the gifts and accept these invitations to know God more? And, if we “are worth more than many sparrows” to God, and if God cares enough to know when even one sparrow “falls to the ground,” how great is God’s care for us!

Join us Wednesday as we begin our annual 31 Days with St. Ignatius celebration, reflecting on experiencing God in the ordinary!

Rebecca Ruiz
Rebecca Ruizhttps://amdg1.wordpress.com/
Rebecca Ruiz holds a B.A. from the College of the Holy Cross and an M.A. from Tufts University. She has been trained as an Ignatian spiritual director through Fairfield University. Rebecca is on staff at Jesuit Refugee Service/USA and previously served for a decade and a half at the Diocese of Arlington in refugee resettlement. She strives, as St. Ignatius taught, to see God in all things and do “all things for the greater glory of God.”


  1. Such a timely reminder as I go through these difficult times. Thank you, I see and hear God speaking to me through you.

  2. I appreciated you sharing about the prayer you said after bringing the sparrow some food, then leaving it in God’s hands. That is a good reminder to me. I cannot fix every situation. I must trust God. Thanks for your story.

    • Hi Michael,
      Thank you for reading and commenting! I am always reminded of the words of a wise priest after I recounted a difficult situation over which I felt powerless. He said, “Rebecca, you are not God. Only God can handle this. Just give it to Him!”

  3. I once wrote ‘Encounter with an old Robin’ – a poem inspired by one’s arrival in my cottage kitchen.
    He liked the warmth of the kitchen, only with reluctance following me out to where I had thrown seed. ‘You need to eat’, I said. Next time I went out, he was gone. The seed lay untouched on the ground. Conclusion:
    ‘Friendship appears
    in all shapes and sizes.’
    So with your sparrow, Rebecca, and your compassionate help.
    I hope St Francis of Assisi is reading all this!

    • Hi Sandra,
      What a nice encounter you had too! Sometimes it’s impossible not to notice the invitations – like those days when the bird is right in your kitchen!
      : )

  4. Thank you Rebecca, this came on the right day for me. Surrounded by letters and accounts and all things that I am finding hard to cope with and the feeling that no-one really cares for or about me. I can no longer help other people and that was something I used to be very involved in. All I Can do is pray. So it reminded me of something that is usually my mainstay…” I have craved you on the Palm of my hand”. Thank you again and may God Bless you. A.M.D.G.

  5. It was a very moving reflection, and that you made more special by casually dropping Father Fleming’s name. All of a sudden I felt I belonged to an exclusive club, a club where the members are on journey to grow closer and closer to God and to love Him and each other. AMDG!

    • Hi Elia,
      Thank you for reading. How beautiful that you were reminded of all of these beautiful aspects of Ignatian community. AMDG!

  6. Rebecca, that was an awe inspiring analogy. I would definitely not have seen the sparrow. Now I shall become more aware of my surroundings so that I can love, praise and revere God more and more. Thank you, Rebecca.


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