Probably the most important event to occur this past week was a non-event that took place yesterday. I always (well, almost always) attend Mass at the little chapel near my office on Wednesday and Friday noons, the only times that daily Mass is offered. Yesterday, however, as sometimes happens, I had a meeting at 11:00. I hoped that I would be able to make it out in time for Mass, and I even announced at the beginning of the meeting that I needed to leave at 11:45. However, since the meeting was a briefing for me about an upcoming project in which I need to be involved, there was no way I could simply duck out at the appointed time. As it turned out, the meeting did not end until 12:15.
Disappointed, I returned to my office and rummaged around for something that would serve as lunch. Just at that moment, one of the employees from another division who usually attends that same Mass and whom I rarely see otherwise came into my office and asked to talk. He has not been at Mass for a couple of months, and that is what he wanted to talk about, how he is going through a down period, a dry period, a questioning period.
We talked for more than half an hour. These are topics that are routine in my life -- the same questions that come up in catechism classes, at prayer groups, in email conversations, and in spiritual discussions with friends. I have a somewhat different view of some of the trials of life, perhaps because I have been through so many and such difficult ones, perhaps because I am a converted Catholic, perhaps because my conversations with God have taken me in a slightly different direction -- perhaps because of all of these things or because of none of them. Anyway, most people with whom I get into such conversations believe that God is testing them. I don't see it that way. Why would God test people? Why would God need to give a test to someone to find out his or her tolerance level, survival skills, depth of faith, or the like? God knows that already. It seems like a waste of time to me. I think that God is rather trusting people -- trusting them to accept Divine help and support, to accept challenges and difficulties and not blame, to grow/increase and not decrease, to come closer to God by sharing just a small sip from "the cup" or carrying just a sliver of "the cross." I thank God for entrusting me with the trials that get sent my way; they have been the most meaningful part of my life.
Perhaps I was meant to miss Mass today so that I could share something more intimate with that colleague. I hope, if nothing else, I was able to hold the cup a little steadier for him and provide a little bit of additional lift to the cross he is carrying. Although I never made it to Mass for a blessing from the priest, a sacred moment was sent to me, a blessing from God. So, I now have more to thank God for!
(Also posted on 100th Lamb.)