Listen to Me
I wrote about a significant life change which has been a tremendous blessing to my family and I in Matthew 25:21. Just to briefly recap, my opportunity to transition from one long term career into something completely different in 2021 was both a financial and a spiritual pick-me-up. The positive transformational impact that change made to my personal outlook on my life and where it was headed can never be overstated. So much so that I rarely ever go a day without thanking God for the tremendous blessing I received in this job opportunity and transition. At Sunday or daily Mass, at morning and/or evening prayers, during Adoration – I always offer even a brief prayer of thanksgiving for the blessing that becoming a part of Catholic Charities has been in my life.
I gave a witness in the spring of 2023 at an ACTS retreat on the topic of Adoration. I discussed my life journey and some of the struggles my family and I have experienced. I discussed the life changing impact that both ACTS and my new job have had on me and how blessed I have been as a result. I relayed the idea expressed above about my frequent prayers of thanksgiving. I explained how I’ve turned to Adoration as a preferred setting and atmosphere for prayer of a different sort to help myself and my family through other ongoing difficult struggles.
Through my life transformation and my ACTS experiences and witness, regular Eucharistic Adoration has become an important part of my prayer life. I don’t always devote a full hour of time to Eucharistic Adoration, but I am blessed in my current job to have my office just a few steps away and down the hall from the sanctuary where regular Adoration takes place every Wednesday. Even if it is just for five minutes – I have the opportunity to spend a few minutes each week with our Lord exposed upon the altar.
We recently began celebrating the National Eucharistic Revival. In our Sandusky parishes, that celebration includes a brief period of Eucharistic Adoration before weekend Masses on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Sundays of the month. While these opportunities are a perfect opportunity to express our individual prayers to God: prayers of thanksgiving; intercessory prayers for loved ones or for our own personal needs; time for self-reflection and an examination of conscience… one of the main points I expressed in my ACTS witness — a point borrowed from a friend — was the idea that Adoration is the realization that “God is God and I am not”. As great as the opportunity is to speak to God and to express our prayers to Him, Adoration provides an ever greater opportunity to listen to what God says in return.
→ Vitally important to the point of this blog post is to really understand how completely and totally life changing the events described in the Matthew 25:21 blog post were for me. They were significant enough for me to offer specific daily prayers in thanksgiving and to continue to light a candle every single week at Mass both prior to my job interview and for the two years+ since then. Literally life changing where the dramatic impact does not fade or wear off with the passage of time. ←
It was during one of my more recent opportunities for Eucharistic Adoration at Holy Angels — one of those short opportunities during a break in my job duties where I could afford to devote a brief 5-10 minutes — when I received an actual response to my ongoing prayers of thanksgiving for this life changing blessing. The response I received wasn’t a booming voice or even a soft whisper. I did not hear literal words in my head which I could later write out a precise and exact quote. But I definitely heard a specific and definite response as I was again offering thanks for the great blessing I’d received through this life changing opportunity — acknowledging it as always as a blessing which I truly did not deserve.
In that moment I heard God say to me (once again paraphrasing here as it came to me not in individual words of dialog, but rather as a complete realized thought): It’s great that you are thankful in recognizing this particular blessing. But Tom, this particular blessing that you spend so much time thanking me for is actually the least of the blessings I have given to you – not the greatest. My inner awareness was immediately drawn to Christ on the crucifix in the Holy Angels sanctuary as I received that message.
If God ever had a divine-mike-drop moment in my life, this was one for sure.
Without the cross, my 2021 life changing good fortune would have been impossible. Without the cross, I would have no life to be ‘life-changed.’ As tremendous as that blessing was – enough for me to continuously offer thanksgiving for it – it still absolutely pales in comparison to the infinitely greater blessing of Christ dying on the cross for me. Here I was thanking God over and over again for lifting me up out of the rut I’d cast myself into, while at the same time taking for granted that I even had a life to live at all!
For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so everyone who believes in him may not perish, but may have eternal life.