Thursday, November 29, 2012

It's a Sign!

Do you read signs? A few years ago, I prayed a novena  to ask God to reveal to me, once and for all, what vocation He was calling me to prepare for, whether to marry or to enter religious life. On the final day of my request, my brother and his wife came over and asked me out of the blue if I would like to have their baby crib and changing table. I wasn't in any romantic relationship at the time, and there was no motherhood in near sight, but they offered to save the items until I needed them. It was Christmas Day. I thought of baby Jesus being born in a manger. I knew instantly it was a sign from God that he'd heard my prayer, and I trusted that my desires to be a wife and mother someday would be fulfilled. I thanked God from the bottom of my heart! Not always are we privileged to such obvious signs, but when they do come, they bring peace and relief.

After watching Sleepless in Seattle last week, I was reminded how signs can reassure us we’re doing the right thing or are in the right place at the right time. In the movie, it was as simple as Annie Reed peeling an apple in one long piece just like Jonah's mom could do – a sign she would fit right into his life like a missing puzzle piece. Another sign was Annie liking baseball just like Jonah's dad – a sign to him that they were right for each other. The sudden illumination of hundreds of lights in the Empire State Building in the shape of a big, red heart on Valentine’s Day was a sign to her that true love was waiting for her on top of the building. It was Hollywood romance all the way, but what touched me was her faith in every sign.

We can easily ignore the signs or explain them by mere coincidence, or we can ponder them in our hearts. I believe that’s what the Blessed Mother Mary did when signs of wonder and mystery were brought to her – shepherd boys kneeling at her son’s manger-scene birth, the surprise of the three magi with their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, the prophecy of Simeon in the temple, and the healing miracles wrought by her son’s hands. “Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).

Accepting the sign is recognizing God’s handiwork around you. The sign may not explain an answer to your prayer, but it can be God’s way to communicate with us and reassure us “I know where you're at, My Child.” A spiritual director once described to me that being holy is less about “figuring out God’s Will” and more about just following where He leads.

So instead of walking with my face to the ground, here's to walking with my head held high and eyes wide open to the signs around me. God, please make me more aware of the signs, so with faith and hope I can confidently follow in the plans you have set before me.

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