Sunday, November 17, 2002

Accidental encounter?

I went to a wake this evening. A cousin who was somewhat estranged from the family had died. I�m not exactly sure why he felt alienated, but I believe there were hard feelings when some family members were left out of a will many years ago. His wife is a devout Baptist and he left the Catholic faith for her, which probably also created some family friction. He was about 18 years older than I, so many of these things happened before I was aware.

I didn�t know him well. In fact, I can�t remember us having met in the past 40 years ago. I debated all day whether to make the 30 mile drive. At the end of the day, I had a feeling that I needed to go. My mother, who died three years ago, was a peacemaker in the family, and I knew she would be pleased if I went. So I did, not knowing for sure what kind of reception I would get. My wife and children went along, but they waited in the car while I went in. Everything went well. I was greeted warmly by his wife and children. I was glad I went. I will probably never see them again.

On the way home, we came across an accident. A car was on its side in a field and three young girls were crying on the side of road. One of the three was bleeding and in considerable pain. My wife retrieved a first aid kit from our car and we were able to stop her bleeding and comfort them until the police, ambulance and their parents arrived. I had a strange feeling that God wanted us to be the ones to find them, and thought about the circumstances that lead us to be there at that particular time. Was our encounter truly �accidental�?

In your daily prayers and especially after receiving the Holy Eucharist, ask God to make you an instrument in His hands. Ask Him to lead you and make you a leader of others, to lead them to Him through His Son and the Church His Son established. And then, be alert. Every time you meet someone in your daily encounters, know that the Holy Spirit may have brought you together for a reason. Follow your instincts. Give everyone you bump into, a smile and a bit of your time. Even the most hardened heart may see the light of Christ within you. You may be amazed where the most casual encounter may lead.

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