A Day In Your Shoes

Today I had my usual weekly meeting with my spiritual father in which we both discussed various topics of interest. I was actually 5 minutes late today when normally I am on time. The reason for this is because I was watching TV with my son and then suddenly realized the time. The Lord had reminded me of the meeting 10 minutes before. It takes 15 minutes to drive from my house to his, so I ended up being 5 minutes late. I was thankful to the Lord for reminding me.

Regardless, his door was open as usual expecting me. I’m unsure how it got to this point but he had an article of a nun from Rwanda who now lives in Connemara, Ireland. She tells her story of forgiveness and about how she was almost executed only through some stroke of Grace was spared the ordeal.

Then we spoke about how hard it is to imagine oneself in the shoes of another in such a situation. How would we react or behave in that moment? How easy would forgiveness be after such an ordeal? We often say one thing and yet do another when presented with the opportunity.

We both were thinking the same thing when I brought up the Coptic Martyrs who died at the hands of Isis. It was only that I was first to raise awareness of their story otherwise he would’ve done the same. I said it’s amazing because we say we would never deny Christ but who knows how we’d behave when faced with a rusty knife or the option to convert to Islam and be spared our lives?

Yet, here was this one man among them a Muslim his whole life. When faced with the courageous actions of his fellow Christian workers, instead of looking to spare his life, actually converted to Christianity and died with them that day. Think about it for a moment. There have been many cowardly clergy and laity throughout time who said they’d do one thing, yet did quite the opposite when presented with the opportunity to be martyred. Here was this Muslim man never a Christian his whole life suddenly graced with conversion and martyrdom on the same day.

Then I had the opportunity to let my spiritual father know of my own life lesson the Lord taught me last night. Throughout Holy Week, at some point I spoke to my sons at length regarding the agony in the garden of Gethsemane. Having instructed them on the apostles falling asleep and Christ admonishing them for it I began to think, “I could never do that. I could never fall asleep in the presence of the Lord and would be doing my best to stay awake, surely?”.

Then last night (Good Friday), I’d watched a movie and after this I put on the painter Bob Ross. I enjoy watching him paint and he’s quite relaxing to watch and listen to. Normally before going to bed I’ll pray my rosary, St.Michaels chaplet, read the Bible and the True Life In God messages. I have not missed such a schedule in a very long time. But last night I lay on the couch and closed my eyes. I told the Lord, “I’ll just rest like this for a few minutes. I’ll close my eyes, I’m just resting them and I will then come and pray.”

Shortly afterwards I wake up on the couch and it’s 4am in the morning. I was in such a stupor from awakening from lying in this one position on the couch and it felt like I’d been run over by a car. Even in this sleepy state, upon opening my eyes I had immediately heard the Lord say to me, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour?” Matthew:26:40. My eyes were opened to the insight of what had taken place.

I was full of sorrow but understood God allowed me to fall into a deep sleep to teach me a lesson. He could have let me pray but his disciplinary action was more important to him than my personal prayer that night. Like St.Peter who said he wouldn’t deny him and yet did the very thing he said he wouldn’t do, I too was taken down a peg or two and seriously humbled from my act of spiritual pride.

You see, we often say if given the opportunity to walk in another’s shoes we would do this or that. But the truth is we don’t know what we’d do when placed in that exact situation for real. In my opinion it’s better to keep ones mouth shut and ask for the grace of God to help us if ever faced with these trials rather than say this is what we would do for sure. That’s what St.Peter did and looked what happened him. Now that’s what I did and look what happened me.

Have a blessed Holy Saturday

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