So…a few weeks ago I was on a retreat with my parish’s Life Teen youth group. I was asked to be the emcee for the weekend and leading up to the actual retreat I started to feel more and more pressure. You see, there is a lot of work that goes into making a retreat happen and being the emcee means you have to know everything that is going on in order to make things flow smoothly; something I don’t take lightheartedly. So throughout the retreat I kept worrying about what to do next and making sure things were flowing; yet there was one thing I forgot to do, and sadly enough, it was the most important. I forgot to let God into everything I was doing. Instead of letting Him lead through all our preparation, I tried myself to make sure everything would go right. So why do I mention this to you? Well, one of the things I was in charge of was setting up for Mass, which would be outside and across the lake from where the main room was. While everyone was spending time in Adoration and/or waiting in the Confession line, I was setting up for Mass to make sure everything would keep flowing from one thing to the next and to make sure the priest was all set up. I saw a teen who had just finished with Confession and asked him to help me bring some items we would need for Mass across the lake. Here is where the story really begins…
We put out 55 hosts that would be consecrated for the 52 people we had in attendance and we both laughed that we almost didn’t have enough, as there was only around 15 hosts leftover. The teen then returned to spend more time in Adoration and I continued to set up; all the while patting myself on the back for being so prepared and setting up so early…in hindsight – I was a moron. So I start to walk back around the lake and start to talk with a fellow core member, when all of a sudden…THE BIGGEST GUST OF WIND EVER sweeps through and we both happened to look up as we hear the “cling” of the ciborium (the thing the hosts are all in) and paten (the thing the priest’s host is on), and see unconsecrated hosts fly away into the lake. (Side note: the Army would have been proud at how fast I ran around the lake and I am sure that if I had tried I probably could have ran on the water itself). So I get to the other side of the lake to find all hosts in the water, along with the ciborium, its cover, and the paten…all submerged in the water. At this point, if I had hair, I would have pulled it all out because I had just ruined the Mass for these 50+ teens. My fellow core member tried to help but I had asked her, rather bluntly, to leave me alone so I could process what had happened and figure out what I (notice that pesky “I” again) was going to do. So there I am…alone, upset, and frustrated. The teens would be released outside soon and Mass would begin shortly thereafter. Most people who have been in ministry for a while surely would think, “hey, this looks like a great time to offer up a prayer for guidance”, but what did I do? Instead of doing the right thing, I decided to “get to work”…MORON. So I fish the ciborium, its cover, and the paten out of the water and clean them off – and now comes the miracle. I knew we only had around 15 hosts leftover in our travel bag so I knew I would have to pre-break them into smaller bits for Mass in order to have enough. Well, right as I start to open the Mass kit that had the extra hosts, in my mind I sarcastically said this very humble and sincere prayer, “I bet you won’t do that whole multiplying the bread thing will ya?” Once again…moron. I opened the bag and right before I started to break the first host I decided to count them out to see just how many I would need to break. 1…2…5…10…20…30…40…52. I counted 52 hosts! I knew there were not another 52 hosts in that bag! So before Mass I asked the teen that had originally help me count the hosts to verify that there were only around 15 in the bag – he did, and that’s when I told him the story and showed him the hosts still in the water; he couldn’t believe it either.
The bag was empty, not a single host was broken and the number was the perfect amount for those we had on the retreat. I had been so caught up in making sure things went the way that I had planned and that things were perfect that I had forgotten the most important part – to trust in God. I tried doing everything myself and when I wouldn’t listen God decided to show me. In writing this, I am reminded of the story of Mary and Martha:
Luke 10 39:42
“She had a sister named Mary [who] sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”
While everyone else was busy enjoying the “better” part of adoring our Lord in Adoration, I was busy being “anxious and worried” about everything else. God decided to change that. I am so thankful for that day and for the reminder that it served to me. This, my brothers and sisters, should show us that God does listen to us and will provide for us whenever we need it. That doesn’t mean it will always be something we notice right away, but He is there. He does listen to our prayers – even when they are sarcastic at times.
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