Prior to Christmas and Easter, the Catholic grade school I attended took the student body to the adjoining church for the sacrament of confession. I don’t remember what grade I was in when something unusual happened.
I’d just taken my seat in the pew with my class after confession when I sensed a strong pull—a compulsion—to return to the altar rail, where I’d just said my penance—the usual five “Our Fathers” and three “Hail Marys.” Back to the altar I went. I don’t remember what I prayed, but, looking back, it was as though my heart ascended to heaven, my soul infused with fervent devotion and love. I don’t know how long I stayed there on my knees, but when I became aware of my surroundings once again (I say I “came to”), the church was empty. I hadn’t even heard the commotion of my class leaving. And it was a large class, too.
When I returned to the classroom, my teacher said nothing. Which in itself was amazing because I was not the kind of child to be left alone in an empty church. My penchant for fun had gotten me in more than enough trouble through the years. I wasn’t bad, understand—just ornery.
No one asked me why I went back to the altar, and I never told anyone about it. It didn’t seem like anything extraordinary. I didn’t realize the significance of what had occurred. Life went back to normal, and I forgot all about it.
It was during my prayer time one morning about 35 years later that I remembered. I could see myself at that altar rail, my heart ascending to heaven, as though it was happening now. I could feel the devotion, the love. And I finally understood.
God called. I responded.
Through my high school, college, and young adult years, though, I went my own way, not God’s. The choice to follow Him was always mine. It wasn’t until I was a young wife and mother, and life wasn’t turning out the way I’d planned, that I “came to” and returned to the One who had called me so many years earlier.
God didn’t give up on me because I went my own way. He waited patiently until I was ready for all He had planned for me.
These days I live to serve Him in whatever way I can. My life is full. I am abundantly blessed.
Would my life have turned out the way it has if I’d not responded to His call?
I don’t know. But knowing God as I do, I believe He would have kept calling me until I did respond—like He does with everyone.
What about you? Have you responded to God’s call? He’s waiting, you know.
Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening—finally. Amen.
Special-Tea: Read 1 Samuel 3:1-10