Sep 27 – Memorial for St. Vincent de Paul, Priest
Vincent (1581-1660) spent four years with the Franciscan friars getting an education. He was taken captive by Turkish pirates and sold into slavery, then freed when he converted one of his owners to Christianity. He started organisations to help the poor, nursed the sick, found jobs for the unemployed, etc. With Louise de Marillac, he founded the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity. He also instituted the Congregation of Priests of the Mission (Lazarists).
In the second year of King Darius, on the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the word of the Lord was addressed through the prophet Haggai, as follows, ‘You are to speak to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, the high commissioner of Judah, to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to all the remnant of the people. Say this, “Who is there left among you that saw this Temple in its former glory? And how does it look to you now? Does it seem nothing to you? But take courage now, Zerubbabel – it is the Lord who speaks. Courage, High Priest Joshua son of Jehozadak! Courage, all you people of the country! – it is the Lord who speaks. To work! I am with you – it is the Lord of Hosts who speaks – and my spirit remains among you. Do not be afraid! For the Lord of Hosts says this: A little while now, and I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all the nations and the treasures of all the nations shall flow in, and I will fill this Temple with glory, says the Lord of Hosts. Mine is the silver, mine the gold! – it is the Lord of Hosts who speaks. The new glory of this Temple is going to surpass the old, says the Lord of Hosts, and in this place I will give peace – it is the Lord of Hosts who speaks.”’
Greater will be the future glory of this house than the former… And in this place I will give you peace, says the Lord of hosts!
Early in our marriage, my husband and I made the decision that we would not have children together. He had been married previously and already had two wonderful children. There was no need for us to complicate their lives by introducing another sibling. I was despondent at first, at the prospect of never being able to experience motherhood. I’ve since come to realize that nurturing happens no matter if they’re biologically yours. Biology is only part of the criteria for motherhood. God will find you where you are. He thinks out of the box and His is the long game – with emphasis on the word ‘long’.
Motherhood has come late to me. When I wasn’t looking, it snuck up on me, eased itself in at the breakfast table, at family dinners, at school plays and graduations, proms and milestone moments. I didn’t ruminate over it because when you’re a stepmother, you don’t want to overthink it. You’re happy with what time you have with your stepchildren. You don’t try to push for more. It isn’t your place to, and I never wanted to impose on them. I was just glad for their company and thankful to be able to watch them discover the world as young adults. One day though, out of the blue, I got a beautiful handwritten Mother’s Day card. And then a Christmas card. And a birthday card. And another Mother’s Day card, with my official title on it – stepmother. Then a heartfelt letter. Soon I had a small collection of them, these precious cards and letters, tangible evidence that in some radical, unconventional kind of way, I too, had earned the responsibility of motherhood. God’s is the long game. He thinks out of the box. I have come to appreciate this now and marvel at it with the wonder of the humbled. He found a path for me where there was none. I didn’t even realize as it was unfolding, not even after that first Mother’s Day card. How blind was I? And how lucky am I to have been blessed thus, when all along I had thought it was too late?
The people of Haggai’s time would similarly not have guessed that the ‘house of glory’ being referred to was Christ, our Saviour. Who would’ve thought it? It was so out of the box, such a radical idea, so impossible! And it took so long! Even when Jesus walked among His people, few saw him for who he was. Only Peter was inspired enough to proclaim, “You are the Christ of God” (Luke 9:20).
God’s is the long game. He hears even the prayers we are afraid to whisper, the ones we don’t ruminate too hard on in case we’re building up false hope for ourselves. But be certain of this – God will find you wherever you are. And in His wonderful, loving, radical way, He will change your life in ways that will surprise you – when you’re least expecting it.
(Today’s Oxygen by Sharon Soo)
Prayer: We pray for all those who think their time in life has passed them by. Do not lose hope. God’s is the long game! Be open to it, because His blessings will come when you least expect it.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for the work that God has done in our lives, for the way He has shaped us, when we weren’t looking or expecting it. We give thanks and are truly humbled by His grace and His blessings.