I had the incredible privilege of experiencing a couple of “grace encounters” with God this past month.
What are those, you ask? I’d define a grace encounter as sensing or feeling God’s presence in a deeper fashion than before.
I read at morning Mass every third Wednesday at St. John the Baptist Church in Meire Grove. It’s a much, much smaller crowd than on Sunday mornings, for sure; but, it’s the perfect opportunity for Father Marv Enneking to do something that I think is pretty neat.
My husband, Marv, says it reminds him of when he was a Mass server — something I never had the opportunity to do because back in “those days” girls weren’t allowed to serve. Father Marv invites us all to join him around the altar after the gifts are brought up until the end of Mass. He does the consecration, naturally, but we’re so much closer to the action that it feels almost like we’re a part of it. It feels like a stronger union with Christ and one another. It feels like a grace encounter!
My other example of feeling God’s presence in a stronger way than before was at the confirmation of my oldest daughter, Emma.
Growing up in South Dakota, I made my first Communion in first grade and was confirmed in second grade. Sad to say, I was rather clueless what wonderful sacraments I was receiving, especially the gift of the Holy Spirit. By going through the confirmation process with Emma, it finally made sense that the Holy Spirit is the one that showers me with more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
And, the fruits of the Spirit are not the same as the gifts of the Spirit: wisdom, courage, reverence, understanding, counsel, knowledge and fear of the Lord. Those are the things I want more of in my life. That’s what I’m praying for.
Now, applying these “grace encounters” to my current “assignments of refinement” is where the true test occurs. God calls me to work on issues in my life. It feels like I’ve been working on one such “project” for years — kinda like St. Paul. Sometimes I wish I knew what his challenge was and other times it just doesn’t matter because we all have our struggles.
What is your current assignment of refinement? What has God placed in your path to keep you coming back to him for more refining? What’s helping increase your faith by depending on him more and yourself less?
When I face obstacles and challenges I try to ask myself these questions:
• How can I grow from this experience?
• What qualities of character am I being called to develop?
• How can I use this event to rely on the Lord more?
We’re heading into summer. The kids are done with school. The calendar is starting to fill up with lots of summertime activities and events. It’s going to be a different kind of nutsy with the big garden and hopefully lots of produce and baked goods sales on the farm.
This I know for sure: God is at work in my life. He’s placing people, circumstances and situations in my path to draw me closer to him. My job is to pay attention to that small voice of the Holy Spirit whispering to me. I’m watching for him to show me my next grace encounter.
Rita Meyer is married and the mother of four children age 16 and under. She and her family are members of St. John the Baptist Parish in Meire Grove. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.